Last February, Dr. Henry Louis Gates wrote an opinion essay for the New York Times titled, "Who's Afraid of Black History?" The article is written against the backdrop of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' declarations that schools should not be places of indoctrination. Gates counters this by reminding us that schools are the first places where we are shaped as Americans. That would definitely be a form of indoctrination.
While this essay is almost a year old, we bring it back to the top of our consciousness as the political antics, also known as election and debate season are in full swing. Yes, there is war in the Middle East, and yes there is homelessness, and drug epidemics that plague all of our cities. And yes, there remains an absence of fair and honest acknowledgment of the matter of Black Lives in America. All things can be true at the same time.
As we rush to denounce the ideals of one candidate over the other, we cannot dismiss the urgency to continue the demand for an accurate accounting of American history and that means Black history. Let's not wait until February to reacquaint ourselves with the double barrels staring us down today. In every election, it is within our rights and critical to our future that we know who is actually running a race to hurt us or help us. And that "us" is all Americans. If you deny me my history, you are denying my existence.
Stepping down from the soapbox and encouraging a re-read of Dr. Gates's essay.