Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on the "corporate support" of Black History Month

In this highly competitive business world organizations both for profit or otherwise have come to recognize that they need all the business they can get and that embracing Black History Month makes good business sense. While this tactic may be beneficial to the the business organizations and the like I question whether - in the case of African-Americans and Canadians - such corporate support advances the objective that Black History Month sought to address.

As I understand it Black History Month was intended to educate the mainstream on the historical experience, accomplishments and contributions of people of African descent to society. The logic I see in this laudable goal is that in doing so the mainstream may come to understand the unique history of struggle, resistance and creativity of people of African descent. This educational process tends to break down barriers and bring about understanding and respect.

Much more remarkable than the contributions of people of African descent in North America and indeed worldwide is that they were able to succeed notwithstanding the hostile and oppressive conditions which were imposed upon them by the mainstream. Indeed, this is probably the most significant message that Black History Month ought to convey to the mainstream. It is a message which most of the corporate sponsors prefer to candycoat or simply avoid. The corporate sponsors of Black History Month appear more interested in Black History Month as a vehicle to increase market share than to educate and change perceptions. My dad always said, "all that glitters is not gold !"

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