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'Black history has to be cleansed of white history'

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Obama, left, and McQueen (PA)

All THE headlines after this month’s Oscars were of Steve McQueen making history as the first black director to win a ‘Best Picture’ Academy Award.

It may be ‘history’ but I’m not convinced it is ‘black history’. Surely it is ‘white history’. Wasn’t it a bunch of mostly white members of the Academy who decided that after 86 years it was time to give the award to a black director?

How can a moment in history triggered by white folk ever be black history?

The fact that Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win the Best Actor award 50 years ago cannot be described as black history. There were hardly any black members of the Academy voting at the time.

Even Barack Obama’s election as the first African American president is a dubious ‘black history’ claim when you consider who voted for him.

Surely the overwhelming majority of the voters were white. So what exactly did we achieve then? We didn’t elect the first black president. We didn’t make it history. So we should not claim it.

Black history has to be cleansed of what is essentially white history.

There is a place for white history but surely we shouldn’t dilute real black history with it. There should be a Joint History Month where we celebrate black history that white folks contributed to and white history that black folks contributed to.

So will the real black history please take a bow.

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