By Natasha King
I have been working on this blog post for most of the month of February. I want to be really honest in saying that I have I love/hate relationship with Black History Month. I fully recognize the importance of it, but I guess what I disagree with is the execution.
As a kid I knew that come February I would see an avalanche of “facts” about the black contribution to US history. We were bombarded with meager amounts of information, mostly male dominant facts; the presentation of which, seemed unappealing and uninspiring. Those small snippets of information came condensed and hurried and were gone just as quickly once the month ended. Hearing those facts felt like checking a box just to say that you did something.
Now stick with me because this does tie into the babywearing community at large.
As a black person living in America I mourned all the things that had been passed down from generation to generation that were stolen from me. I felt disconnected from the traditions of my ancestors and the essence of who I was at my core. That all changed the day I touched a woven wrap. I felt an instant connection. For me, the simple act of holding my son close in a piece of fabric bridged the gap between myself and my ancestors. It has been an intense love affair that continues even as Jaxon is becoming longer and heavier. But as long as he wants to go up, I will continue to oblige.
However, with that as the backdrop please understand that I am writing this piece because the babywearing world has not been all sunshine and roses for people of color. There is much work that can be done. At times this work feels uncomfortable and I invite you to embrace the discomfort and use it to grow. We are carrying the future. Our actions will shape how they interact with people who may be different from them.
So this year as February comes to a close, I challenge you to do your own research about how black history is really intertwined with the history of America. How the history of black people in America shapes what America is today and how that experience still impacts our lives.
And if I may leave you with a few suggestions they would be:
Learn how history became this story.
Realize that some things have not just languished in the past.
Be mindful of the person as a whole.
Teach your children to celebrate color, not erase.
Amplify the voices of the oppressed.
Don’t limit your quest for knowledge to a calendar month.