How to celebrate black history according to black people
Here's how to celebrate Black History Month according to three speakers.
As part of Black History Month, which begins on February 1, Métro brought together three personalities from the community to ask them how we can celebrate it in the best way. , without awkwardness.
1— Remember black history in Quebec
Yes, knowing who Malcom X or Martin Luther King are is essential, but you also have to look at Afro-Quebec or Afro-Canadian history. Not just the United States, suggests Webster, a black artist and lecturer.
“We don’t know our own history of slavery. We do not know the people who fought against civil rights here, he summarizes. We don't know about the race riots that took place in Nova Scotia in 1784 or here in Montreal at Concordia University in 1968.”
Hip-hop artist Webster.
According to the artist, the story was often written to emphasize white Euro-descendant people. Taking the time to learn about black history therefore ensures that it does not fall into oblivion even if the presence of black slaves was stronger in the United States than in Canada.
“The Afro-descendant presence here is the largest after the Aboriginal presence. It is as long as the Francophone presence,” he explains.
This is an opportunity to learn more about Marie-Josephe-Angélique, Olivier Le Jeune, Viola Desmond, Anne Cools, Roosevelt Douglas and David George.
To do this, we google, we consult free documentaries on the NFB, or we go to the library.
2— Open up to diversity and encourage the black community
Many are black artists or entrepreneurs. in the Belle Province. But consciously going to meet them is unfortunately not a generalized reflex.
Few white people go to have their hair done in a salon owned by black women, observes Renzel Dashington, for example.
He observes the same phenomenon in humor, more precisely since he created an evening of humor Les Bad boys du rire featuring a collective of comedians from diverse backgrounds.
“If I have 3% white people, that's fine, because people are afraid to cross the line. Black History Month is an opportunity to educate yourself and take the drama out of breaking down barriers.
Comedian Renzel Dashington.
To find a black owned company in Montreal, visit qcnb.afrobiz.ca.
Not only do you encourage buying local, but you also support black-owned businesses.
You can also donate to organizations that fight against racism, volunteer to help consult their blogs or social networks.
3— Educate oneself and educate others  ;
Watched documentaries, learned about the black community? It's your turn to share your knowledge.
Raising the subject with your loved ones or even intervening when a situation is problematic makes all the difference.
“Your grandmother, your aunt, your uncle, your cousin; it’s your job to talk to other people,” insists Renzel Dashington.
But what to talk about? From what you have recently learned or observed, quite simply. Otherwise, we can talk about certain hurtful historical issues such as systemic racism or cultural appropriation, suggests content creator Aïcha Black, alias The Fat Girl who makes videos.
“We have to amplify the voices of marginalized people. It would be good for everyone to start listening to us, to see the solutions that are launched to solve the problems that have been going on for a hundred years, she adds. To put a bandage on a wound, you have to see it.”
Aïcha Black, aka The Fat Girl who makes videos.
She says there are two reasons why some white people are still reluctant to address these “wounds.” “They may be afraid that if they admit there is a hurt [within the black community], that it means that they personally created it [and that it is their fault]. The second is that there are people who just don't want to fix it, because they want to continue to hurt.”
Understanding why the past hurts, better understand history , are essential to allow an awakening of consciousness and therefore an evolution of mentalities.
4— Celebrate… not just in February
Our speakers are unanimous: the best way to celebrate black history… is not just to talk about it in February.
“I get a lot of requests to give conferences around the end of January, I always say to the companies: we can also give it in March, the conference”, exclaims Webster.
Same story on the side of Aïcha who reminds us that black history is everyone's history, all year round.
“I hear people asking, why don't we have a white history month? Well, it still takes place the other 11 months a year, she quips. If they think there's a lack of white people in history, I don't know what course they took.”
- AUSTIN, David, “Black Negroes, White Negroes, Race, Sex and Politics in 1960s Montreal”, Lux Éditeur, 2015, 293 pages. (French translation of Fear of a Black Nation).
- MACKEY, Frank, “Slavery and Blacks in Montreal, 1760-1840”, Montreal, Cahiers du Québec, Hurtubise, 2013, 662 pages.
- BILÉ, Serge, “Slave and executioner, The incredible story of Mathieu Léveillé, slave from Martinique who became an executioner in New France”, Quebec, les éditions du Septentrion, 2015, 165 pages .
- TRUDEL, Marcel, “Two centuries of slavery in Quebec”, Montreal, Éditions Hurtubise HMH, 2004, 406 pages.
- Webster & Dimani Mathieu Cassendo, “Slavery in Canada”, Canadian Commission for UNESCO, 2020, 21 pages.
- Webster & Valmo, “Le Grain de Sable, Olivier Le Jeune, First Slave in Canada”, Les Éditions Septentrion, Quebec, 2019, 80 pages.
- Les Girls, 1999, by Meilam Lam and Robert Paquin, available on the NFB.(52 minutes)
- Ninth Floor, 2015, by Mina Shum, available on the ONF. (1:21)