Black History month is intended to counteract the historical bias against blacks. The Tulane University Black History Month Web site reads, “Obviously, a White History Month is not needed because the contributions of whites are already acknowledged by society. Black History Month is meant to remedy this inequity of representation.” According to Jacquelyn West-Ford, Drexel’s senior associate dean of students, “Black History Month is simply a time to bring attention to the achievements that black Americans have made to education and society.”
But Black History Month is not meant to remedy inequity of recognition as such — merely inequity of recognition for those who are black. The holiday discriminates against other unrecognized achievers — as if black achievers were the only ones who have been treated unfairly by history. If remedying inequity of recognition were the true purpose of the holiday, it would be called “Month of Unrecognized Achievers.” It would celebrate people like Nikola Tesla, the father of modern electricity, and not just people like Martin Luther King Jr., whose achievements are already more widely recognized than Tesla’s.