Rainbow Rundown: Black History Month is more than a nod to the past
Welcome to your weekly recap of LGBTQ news and goings-on. Published every Friday, Charlotte Pride’s Rainbow Rundown helps you catch up quick, with all the latest news from our region and beyond.
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Black History Month is more than a nod to the past
Every February, Black History Month rolls around with its usual depictions of heroes and visionaries from long ago. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with valuing, learning or re-learning about, and uplifting these long-passed icons — especially since so much Black history has been simplified or purified of its original strength and meaning or, worse yet, simply erased or ignored.
But Black History Month offers us all a chance to dig deeper — to ask hard questions about what we’re taught, how we’re taught, and why we’re taught the things we are.
North Carolinians were presented with that kind of challenge, and opportunity, just this week as state schools officials debated and considered just how our K-12 students should be taught the “hard lessons” of America’s past, and it’s present. At issue were new social studies standards that would teach about our nation’s dark and troubled history and how our past troubles and challenges are still present with us today.
Original proposals for the new social studies standards aspired to add lessons on systemic racism, systemic discrimination, and gender identity. Facing backlash, the state board of education modified the new standards to teach more generally about “identity” as well as the “inequities, injustice, and discrimination within the American system of government over time.”
Advocates, including those with Equality NC, were in favor of the more robust learning standards, but characterized the approved version as a step forward even as more advancement is needed.
“While a step in the right direction, we’re failing our students by not talking about these issues systematically or [intersectionally] and erasing the complexity of systems of oppression,” Equality NC said via Twitter on Thursday. “BIPOC and LGBTQ folks experience racism and discrimination through systems and forces that shape every aspect of our lives, and our education standards should accurately reflect that reality.”
More than a mere nod to the past, awareness months like Black History Month or LGBTQ History Month or Women’s History Month provide each of us an opportunity to do as the state school board, teachers, students, parents, community members, and advocates have been doing as they debated this new educational standards; namely, we should all be critically analyzing what we’ve learned and asking hard questions about the kinds of things we learn, and how all of that together shapes how we operate in the world today.
The past is not just the past. The past informs the present, and our present day and time will soon — faster than we even know — become the past, itself part of future generations’ history and social studies lessons.
What are you doing to learn about the past and our present? How will you be commemorating and marking Black History Month in February? Here are some ideas:
- Follow Equality NC on Twitter for their “Black Future Month” features, including this upcoming panel discussion on Feb. 18, “Black Queerness Then & Now: A Black Future Month Panel”
- Follow Time Out Youth on Instagram or Twitter for their daily Black History Month features
- Follow Charlotte Pride on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up with our Black History Month features every Tuesday and Thursday, honoring heroes both past and present (our first was published on Feb. 4; read it here)
- Support the work of Black LGBTQ heroes and community organizers in our own time, be that through your support of organizations like Charlotte Black Pride (Website, Facebook, Instagram) or through local, Black- and queer-led mutual aid efforts
Local and Regional News
- Local and regional news briefs and org updates from QNotes
- Charlotte Pride Board Prez: It’s time for Charlotte to protect LGBTQ community (Charlotte Observer)
- Mecklenburg County adopts resolution to protect LGBTQ rights (Charlotte Observer)
- ‘Legendary’ SC drag queen who testified before Congress was ‘truly a bright light’ (Charlotte Observer/Sun Times)
- Counselor Warns of Mental Health “Crisis” for LGBTQ Young People as College Campuses Remain Shuttered (Spectrum News)
National and Global News
- Trans WNBA Player Layshia Clarendon Shares Top Surgery Photos in Heartfelt Post, Gets Full Support From Team (Them)
- New York Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Law (NPR)
- In historic first, Buttigieg confirmed as Cabinet-level appointee (Washington Blade)
- Lawmakers in 14 states have proposed anti-LGBTQ bills, many of which target trans youth (CNN)
- Turkey Arrested These Students For Protesting in Solidarity With LGBTQ+ People (Them)
- Blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men finally relaxed in Australia – but it’s still not enough (Pink News)
Charlotte Pride’s Limited-Edition 2020 Magazine
The annual Charlotte Pride Magazine is back — with a special year-end retrospective for 2020. With the absence of an in-person festival and parade during this wild ride of a year, we decided to push the annual magazine back to December and use it to chronicle our work and the experiences of our community this year. With a very limited print run, you can find printed magazines in select locations across the city. View our distribution locations, a virtual flip book edition, and all the magazine’s articles here.