Following February’s Black History Month, is March’s Women’s History Month. The theme for 2015 is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. The National Women’s History Project says the following on this year’s theme:
The stories of women’s lives, and the choices they made, encourage girls and young women to think larger and bolder, and give boys and men a fuller understanding of the female experience. Knowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.
As “his”tory tends to leave out the presence and influence of women in the United States, there began a movement for “her”story. The goal is obvious, reverse the sexism and patriarchy that has plagued the telling of our past–weave in the stories of women’s lives. However, just as it is important to point out the sexism in the retelling of history, so to is highlighting the racism or colorblindness. Black men and women are also missing from history textbooks, their achievements and influence are either skipped over or played down compared to white men.
This is why it is important to remember that Black History Month and Women’s History Month are next to one another–the goal of the first should influence the second. Black women. They are often neglected in history and sometimes in herstory. While this may seem unimportant to some, it is essential to remember Edmund Burke: “Those who don’t remember history are destined to repeat it”.
In the present we are ignoring or forgetting black women and girls just as much as we do historically. Khadija Costley White wrote an article titled, “Racism affects black girls as much as boys. So why are girls being ignored?” She writes:
I am concerned about the fate of black and brown girls. Our stories are rarely told, and so people have learned to think they’re insignificant. Our experiences are minimized, and so, too, are our contributions.
This Women’s History Month let us not forget the black and brown women who have helped to shape and mold our country. Further, let us not forget how history affects the present and our futures. Let’s not write black girls out of our present stories just because they are not in the past.