February is Black History Month, at least in the United States. The intention is to highlight the history, culture, individuals, and stories of Black and African American people. There are several such months, days, and events peppered throughout the calendar year for virtually every major group and demographic. Hispanic Heritage Month is during the latter half of September into the first half of October. (Yes, there is a reason for that, and it is both logical and stupid). Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage falls in May. Native American appreciation is in November which seems kind of insulting considering the major holiday during that month in the States. However, the point stands that there are various days and months of seeming appreciation and acknowledgment of diverse groups and their respective histories and culture. Yet, I have always wondered what should be done during these months and moments.
Now, there are varied and legitimate debates and discussions to be had concerning the validity, efficacy, and use of such mandates heritage acknowledgments. And there are opinions on all parts of the spectrum of that conversation worthy of time and attention. Have these months become too different from their intended goal of highlighting oppressed, minority groups to simply becoming the only time of reflection and consideration for these narratives and histories? Have they become too corporate and lost any meaningful good they originally possessed? So on and so forth. But, the question that I have been more concerned with is what should nonmembers do to acknowledge these months and events or should they even do so?
I am not Black nor African American, at least not to any extent I am aware of. I am also not Asian nor Native American (by the United States definition anyhow) nor a member of many identities or groups. Accordingly, I have always been a bit apprehensive of what to do during these times of acknowledgment and appreciation. Obviously, such acts should extend beyond a singular month or day, but having a set time means something, right? There really is no easy answer to this question. And most definitely not one that would be appealing or pleasing to the majority, so what is the solution? For me, all I seemingly can do is try my best to acknowledge these moments, groups, and individuals and their histories and contributions and, in general, lives. Will it be perfect? Hardly, but, at least, there will be a genuine attempt which is all that I can admittedly do.