Wednesday, February 2, 2011

White History Month: A Needs Assessment

Yesterday kicked off another Black History Month, and that can only mean one thing: Today, there are a whole lot of white folks running around asking, “Why can’t we Caucasians have a history month of our very own?”

I think I’ve read about the need for White History Month three or four times on blogs this morning alone! Everyone seems very committed to the idea.

He has been waiting to party
for a long, long time.
Now, obviously, it’s always a beautiful thing to see so many people coming together for a cause greater than themselves. And in the case of White History Month, you know it’s a selfless act, because practically none of its public advocates is even taking credit for all their hard work. No siree-bob! Each year, they write long and thoughtful pieces and post them all over, on news sites, blogs, and bathroom walls anywhere and everywhere they can, but they always remember to credit their words to “Anonymous”

And buddy, that is what you call selfless commitment!

Personally, I find it inspiring. So this year, I’m going to step up to the plate and rally the troops. I’m going to circle the wagons and mix my metaphors. I am going to put my good name and fair to middling reputation on the line.

Right here and right now, I – Katy Anders – hereby go on record and say to my fellow palefaces, “If white people finally come together, put our noses to the grindstone, and keep our eyes on the prize, this can be the decade when we achieve our greatest dream: to have 30 to 31 days to sit around and study history.”

Do you think that when the folks behind International Group B Strep Awareness Month (celebrated each July) were pondering the importance of… um… er… Group B Strep Awareness, I guess… they just sat around complaining that it didn’t already exist? Hell no, I say.

Do you think they said, “Oh sure, there’s a Group A Strep Awareness Day, but there sure ain’t no Group B Strep Awareness Day!” Do you think they posted comments on blog after blog after blog, asking, “What do you think would happen if we tried to start a Group B Strep Awareness Day?”

Well, they did, actually. There were a few lynchings. But everybody knows there is an unusually high amount of bitterness and infighting between the… um… strep awareness groups. The bigger point is that when they finally stopped their rioting and highly communicable inter-infecting, they went out, and they established their day.  And now, because of them, handfuls – maybe even dozens! – of people around the world are more aware that Group B streptococcus is the leading cause of blood infection and meningitis in newborns.

But the Group B Strep Awareness folks can teach us another valuable lesson. The struggle for recognition and awareness will always continue. It must. Because sure, they got International Group B Strep Awareness Month, but July is also National Horseradish Month, when we celebrate the many, many contributions that horseradish has made to our society. It’s Hemochromatosis Screening Awareness Month, and boy, does that one have a long way to go. Microsoft Word didn’t even recognize hemochromatosis as a word, so how aware could people be? Hell, this possibly explains the much-commented-upon high incidence of iron overload amongst software engineers. 

So sure, it’s February, and – as anyone who watches PBS or hangs out around third grade bulletin boards knows – it’s Black History Month. And when it comes to officially-recognized months, Black History Month is the 600 pound, er… um…

Someday, they'll be able to study
who George Washington was.
Let me try that sentence again: When it comes to officially-recognized months, Black History Month is even more successful than Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs right over the border of September and into October as though there were no dividing line between the two months.

But what about us? You, me, and all the other white people out there? What is there for those of us who love to read about history as much as the people who founded National Kidney Month love to read up on kidneys! Where are our bulletin boards?

Recent polls indicate that approximately half of all Americans do not know when the Civil War took place, who is considered to be the Father of the American Constitution, which war saw the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, or even that the quote “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is not from the Declaration of Independence. I blame this horrifying state of American education on the lack of an established White History Month.

You and me and all those people complaining about how there isn’t one: together we can do this. And once we have, White History Month is going to be celebrated by one and all. Celebrated in style.

Just like National Umbrella Month (I don’t have to tell you that’s March, do I?).

Or Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month (March again!).

The Group B strep lobby has had its day in the sun. Let’s throw out Big Strep and its day and give whitey a chance for a while.

Only then will we finally be free, after all these years, to learn about and celebrate white history. It’s been a long time coming.


  1. The simple solution would be to extend a single year to twenty traditional years and make up 240 new months. Then everyone will be happy and we'd have plenty of time to ignore our New Years Resolutions before we actually had to act on them.

  2. Hey, Lydia!

    There would be one hell of a lot of advantages to much, much longer years. For starters, it would mean I’d only have to hear that Eagles “Please Come Home for Christmas” song every 240 months instead of every 12.

    It would also enable me to get the very most out of the 365 days of Latvian History Month.

  3. This is a really funny bit here, Kates.

    I assume it's supposed to be funny. Right?

    A lot of the time when I laugh at your humor, it's a nervous kind of laugh. Sometimes more than others.

  4. Why do so many white people swallow political corectness and think its ok to make fun of white people? If you made fun of blk people like this people dbe screamin but its ok because its just white people.

    You're writing is good if you used it for good stuff instead of trying to be funny for blacks. We need a white person day for a change instead of this martin luther stuff.

  5. Christopher: You came back! Stick around – things are just getting started. I give it a month. If I build it, they will come…

    Dex and Anonymous: Why does everyone doubt the sincerity of my words? Iwork HARD at writing something that is inspiring – a veritable battle cry for the White History Month movement, and that’s the thanks I get?
    I guess Thomas Paine ended up in a Parisian jail for all that he did, so it’s just the kind of thanks the wordsmiths have always received in their time, huh?

    However, I’m going to go on record saying “dbe” is my favorite word of the week. I would have put in an apostrophe (“people d’be screamin’), but that’s a minor criticism. “Dbe” it is.

  6. I shouldn't try to guess what the anonymous ranter above was trying to say, but I think he probably meant "Martin Luther King," not "Martin Luther".

    Precision in racism is so important.

  7. Dex is so kind for not pointing out that "he/she" used "you're" instead of "your" up there. Pretty soon, white folks not only need their own month to celebrate their history, they will need special Ed classes too.

  8. Dex and 5464: Everyone is so cynical. Always looking for ulterior motives or the hidden message behind what somebody really intended to say.

    I’m taking Anonymous at his word. I assume he INTENDED to say “You are writing is good” and to attack Martin Luther for something.

    …in exactly the same way that I intended to advocate for White History Month, in fact…

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, guys…

  9. I'm pretty sure that up until this blog that sweet description of Hispanic Heritage Month has gone undocumented. Best line of First Season, thank you!

  10. I am pretty sure Martin Luther would be included at least WASP history month. I am lost on finding the the correct white history month/vanilla wafer comparison.

  11. 764abc84-4b62-11e0-9fd2-000bcdcb8a73: If White History ever got a month, Martin Luther would probably warrant a day and a half. Depending on the day they set aside to learn about Lindsay Lohan, maybe he’d even get one and three-fourths days. If not for Martin Luther, we’d all still be kissing the ring of the bishop of Rome – and everybody knows those Italians are too dark for comfort.

    You make a good point about the wafer, though: There are those who say Jesus would have been dark-skinned. But I spent a lot of time in church as a kid, and I never once saw a dark Eucharist.

  12. 764abc84-4b62-11e0-9fd2-... WTF? That was supposed to be Beeg687 or Brent. Soory, I am still sorting out the mechanics.

    In my circles we mock Jesus being part of the Swedish National Ski Team. White history month would be about as interesting as a vanilla wafer. Nice for a pie crust, but not much use otherwise.

  13. Call yourself whatever you wish, but you will always be 764abc84-4b62-11e0-9fd2-000bcdcb8a73 to me!


Hey you! Why not leave a comment to tell me what you think of what I wrote?