Slavery Remembrance Day in France
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is France’s Slavery Remembrance Day. I wrote about this topic earlier when President Jacques Chirac first announced it. Most of this day is about symbolism, not structural change. But my hope is that this day is not an exercise is exploiting “white guilt,” but for Black people to “understand who we are and understand that we can overcome victimizations of the past and use the strength built from those experiences to be triumphant in the present and the future.”
So I wondered how much would be gained from having a Slavery Remembrance Day here in America. And you know what makes me upset? It’s my fear that Black people would probably be the most outspoken opponents of honoring such an event. We already have folks like Morgan Freeman talk about the lack of a need to have Black History Month. I don’t think we have enough Black History if for nothing else because of the asterisks that represent the often hushed sacrifices that Black people have made to make this country great. Thomas Jefferson*, George Washington*, The Missouri Compromise*, Three/Fifths Clause*. And the list goes on and on and on.
And I think Black people are afraid to embrace this list just as much, if not more than White people. We as Black people can’t be afraid to embrace our history, which unfortunately includes slavery. Sometimes I get the notion that some Blacks think that our ancestors swam over the Atlantic just dying to be enslaved. And the one I love the most is, “Why didn’t the Africans just fight back or run away?” I will wait to address that ignorance in another full post. So just take a second to check out what they are doing in France and think about our ancestors today, and every day for that matter. Our generation has not had to truly fight for anything in terms of protecting our rights as a people. So if nothing else, we need to fight to save and preserve our history.
Stay up fam,