Friday, February 5, 2021


       "Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States."- History Channel

   I'm all for this monthly designation. I would also like to see a "HUMAN" or "Black and White Supremacy History" month. Before your head explodes let me explain myself. My proposed month would not focus on the glories of nativist "white history," rather probe and investigate global, historical interaction between the races. What society misses in couching a monthly celebration as a particular race's struggle- black, Indigenous, etc- is the commonality of humanity. Slavery has been around since the very beginning of mankind. Only recently (within the past 500 years) did white, western Europeans racialize it and reap its massive profits. It is an all too human problem.

     Less than 100 years before I was born a white Osterhout in Texas was purchasing a black slave. She had one name- Hasty. Less than 100 years! In historical terms, this is like yesterday. What would make one human think they could "own" another as late as 1850? Obvious reasons are legal and reliance on the doctrine of so-called "states' rights". As one family of Osterhouts (who happened to be black) in Lenox, Mass., was hob- nobbing with W.E.B. Du Bois, owned property and a business, working for the ultra-rich, another black family was property in Texas. 100 years! 

    The larger reason for this societal disparity is skewed ideology, propaganda and supremacist thought; a basic disregard for the truth. White people in Texas, backed up by religion, media, military and civic government, thought they were human and that black people (and Indians) were less than human. This mass hysteria allowed the brutal unfairness of slavery to flourish, not only in Texas, but wherever it was legal. White people convinced themselves that slavery at its worst was necessary, based in scripture and, what some would describe as "altruistic." Racism bled into the rest of the country unimpeded. 100 years! 

    Today, when the conversation turns to race (esp. in February) it is one of power and powerlessness, abuser and victim. This conversation is necessary and should not be denied. But the deeper dialectic should be one of humanities failures as a species. The susceptibilities of homo sapiens to embrace lunacy as "truth" has never been more apparent than today. Words like "supremacy" and "exceptionalism" are being debunked, as they are simultaneously being embraced by a dangerous fringe, bubbling to the surface. We need to face what made us think we had the right to enslave another in the first place and not repeat our mistakes as history regurgitates. We are a sick species in need of balm. March looks good for this designation. Truth will out.


    My 2020 interview about the black Osterhouts on the Janus Adams Show airs again Sat. at noon on              



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