The Other Halloween

Are0h dropped this 2022 Jan Sun 30

Flick by Dawn McDonald

It's that time of year again. The indomitable Black History Month where some of us pay homage to the obvious nation-building and sustaining contributions that Black Americans have made to a country that routinely tells us it doesn't like us despite the fact it would not exist without us.

Others, well...

Ok, let's start with some context.

Professionally, I am a graphic designer and web developer. I don't dig on full-time jobs because the environment is often hostile to computer people with melanin, so I tend to work off-site contracts and freelance gigs. For the most part, it's great. I've been fortunate enough to be able to do this to feed myself for 20+ years. Ha, yes I'm old. Pay attention.

On the other hand, there are moments when I struggle at moments to find work for various reasons. Some of course are self-inflicted. Others, not so much. There are persistent realities there are always at play in the American job market, especially in the tech scene. And this context never goes away. Ever.

It's this context that always has me skeptically tip-toeing into yet another BHM. There's a lot of lip service being paid to recognizing the lives of Black Americans but it rarely works out in any meaningful or substantial way. Sure we get kente themed overpriced watches but what about the rest of the year? We see all of the pomp and circumstance of 'honoring' Black America while doing nothing to follow through in any way that matters.

Yeah, it's cool to see public assertations of BLACK LIVES MATTER (well, kinda) and seeing all the black, red, and green adorn... stuff.

But over time, it becomes really clear who is cosplaying respect for the incalculable and invaluable efforts Black people have made and continue to make to keep the US from destroying itself and who is about the work making the world a better place for Black folks to exist in.

Because no matter what people say on shiny TVs and mobile screens, we really haven't moved the needle all that much. No amount of 'celebrating' Black History Month can erase the objective reality of how hard it is to be Black in the United States.

But yeah, seeing a few more people wearing t-shirts with fists on them is kinda cool, I guess.