Black History Month
Professor Kevin Hylton, Chair of Leeds Beckett University's Race Equality and Diversity Forum shares his thoughts about Black History Month.
“I want to talk to you about Black History Month because I’m conflicted …it seems as though Black History Month, for many, involves a big effort for one month in twelve. One month where they’re active in raising awareness about the contribution of black communities over history and today. It’s also an opportunity for these individuals and institutions to be seen as proactive rather than reactive or even gestural.
So one month in 12 we see quite a lot of activity. There are some great things going on. We have a biennial event which happens to fall in the month of October which gets tied in with these events. Here’s why I’m conflicted: there are certain questions we need to ask. Why is it that 11 of the 12 months do not have that focus on Black History and the contribution of black communities to our societies? Why is it that so many institutions and individuals are very quiet when it comes to, in my case, doing research on race and racism and racialisation? …We could accuse many organisations of being very short-term in their approach to these issues, rather than having a long-term , year round approach. These are issues that I’m conflicted with because I know that strategically, pragmatically, we need to have a starting point, which for many is the month of October. But really for me that’s a starting point for the rest of the year and we should be ongoing with these activities.”