Patronizing Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Jan 21st, 2013 | By | Category: Columns

 We Americans are a very diverse and unique bunch. We come from all walks of life: different religions, different countries, different languages, different traditions and have all that other happy-go-lucky hogwash that professes our own greatness when it comes diversity.  As amazingly awesome as all that is–it’s pretty damn annoying that we just can’t take it as is and be happy with it, we need months that are dedicated to celebrating diversity. Every month basically serves as a reminder to the nation that “Hey, we treated this particular group like absolute shit, so let’s give them their own month in the hopes that this will smooth things over!” I’m sure the intentions were noble, but each month can be a little condescending.

The most “mainstream” of these months (and thus shunned by hipsters everywhere) is Black History Month.  It was, at its inception, a way for black leaders and scholars to teach black youth that their heritage had a greater impact on the nation than they were told. Let’s be honest here, it was also created at a time when blacks were treated less favorably than stray cats and the only blurb of black history in texts books involved being bought and sold as property, so the pride needed a real shot in the arm. At the outset, it was great, folks learned of the many contributions blacks have made to science, the arts, and every other category you can think of, and it was serving a purpose…for a bit. Then some upstart by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. came about and threw a wrench in the whole thing. Now, Black History Month focuses on three individuals; Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass, everything else has been boiled down to questions that would be asked in a special edition of Trivial Pursuit. There’s only so much “George Washington Carver and his magical peanuts” talk you can take before you just want to start hurling social studies books at educators everywhere.

Despite the creators’ best intentions to give everyone their due, some of the months just seem to be more of an insult than proper recognition. Back in August of 1990, former President George H. W. Bush made a decree in which November would be “Native American Indian Heritage Month.” Good intentions, poor execution. November is a month where we celebrate the first Thanksgiving, where the native peoples of this new land that we called “America” welcomed foreign-born settlers, and shared their bounty with them as they showed them how to live off the land. The descendants of these pilgrims showed their thanks to the natives by presenting them with blankets infected with smallpox, destroying their homes and sacred sites, and driving an entire race of people to the brink of extinction all for the sake of laying tracks from New York to the western frontier.  Take a look at March, which is “Irish-American History month,” again, good intentions, poor execution. The majority of folks in America view St. Patrick’s Day as the only time of year where it’s not only accepted, but celebrated when your vomit is green. So then why, knowing the stereotypes that the Irish have had forced upon them, is the month that’s selected the one that has an entire day that’s turned into a celebration of alcoholism? In conjunction with the fact that Women’s History Month is also March, that just seems even more wrong. I can’t tell if the racism really is that blatant, or organizers/creators really are that dense.

The worst part of it all, they’re doubling up (or more) on some months! May has four; South Asian Heritage Month, Haitain Heritage Month, Asain-Pacific Heritage Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month. Four! I suppose the plus side is that May, I believe, holds no significant meaning to any of these groups. I mean, it’s not like we made “Jewish American Heritage Month” a floating observation month and conveniently make it the same month in which Easter occurs. However, July and December get the unified shaft (“Eye Injury Prevention Month,” be still my heart). One group, the LGBT community, called dibs on two months (June and October). Have there been any amazing discoveries or world changing events that have happened in a little over three months every year since their inception to justify having two months?


Lucious Fox, better known as Morgan Freeman, has said that he is against the very concept of “Black History Month,” claiming that it’s simply “American History.”  The very same can be said of all the remaining months which have each been staked with a flag that represents some minority group. Since companies have to recognize every group’s very own month, lest they wish to be slapped with a discrimination lawsuit, they’re forced to cobble together half-assed presentations for the work force to view. Speakers are brought in who have little to do with what that particular month is supposed to celebrate outside of being of said race, sex, religion, etc, etc, and more often than not, go off on long-winded tirades about how they succeeded in their field without facing the harsh resentment or difficult climbs those before them made in other areas. They may even be the first ‘something’ for “something” for their city or company, but I can guarantee you that, unless the person before you is Barack Obama, that it’s been done in this country somewhere else. It’s great that these months may serve to inspire people to look deeper into the contributions that these various groups have made to the overall growth of our nation, but we’re past that point where months like these are needed. Seminars or events held in the workplace are viewed as more of a way in which they can ditch doing their jobs for an hour or two than any indication that the folks there give two shits about the subject.

Chris hates anyone or anything which goes against how he feels a sentient being with more than three brain cells should act. He hopes to use his “Encyclopedia Douchebag…ica” as a springboard into becoming a full-fledged, tax exempt religion complete with holidays and greeting cards, mainly so he can steal from its coffers. His hopes are…not that high, knowing that those who needs his guidance most, are unable to read his words… what with the extra flesh from their sloped, ape-like foreheads blinding their eyes from the truth.

When not acting like a complete bastard (which is not very often), Chris writes about all things video game related on his blog iNOOBriated, and his Twitter. He also offers his services as a freelancer for Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer. Yep, he’s a neeeeeerd.

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