Cynthia Tucker writes that students deserve a full picture of history that includes the contributions of black Americans, in her column, “Black History Is American History:”
My 3-year-old recognizes President Obama — or “O-ba-na,” as she calls him. She can’t tell you what he does, but, perhaps because of her mom’s TV news viewing, she associates him with the U.S. flag and military rituals.
She also recognizes the first lady and their two lovely daughters. (She further associates the president with a certain 1960s hit by R&B singer Al Green, likely a byproduct of her mom’s YouTube preferences.)
She surely isn’t the only black preschooler — indeed, the only preschooler of any race — who has an easy familiarity with the name “Obama.” The election of the first black president, a man who has become a multi-platform media star, has captivated children (and adults) of all ages and races.
My daughter will grow up in a very different country than the one in which I spent my childhood. Hers is a country in which a black president is not just the stuff of fiction, where racial intermarriage is no novelty, where black men and women excel not just on playing fields and in musical halls, but also in board rooms, science labs and surgical suites.
And that clear, unequivocal racial progress leads me to ask the following questions: Is Black History Month still necessary? Is it even a good idea?