SOC116-Constructing Race and Black History Month

Abstract

February is Black History Month (BHM), which means… we gotta talk about it! This week we dig into the history behind BHM, talk about the founder of the holiday (the fascinating Dr. Carter Woodson), and tackle the many critiques and debates surrounding the month. Like, why the heck is BHM on the shortest month of the year?! Why do we usually only celebrate a select few Black figures this month? Is BHM a productive event? Oh also, did you know that race is a social construct? That’s right! Join in to hear the conversation and let us know what you think!

Episode Corrections: 

Omar: I meant to say melanin and NOT melatonin when discussing the social construction of race.

Omar: Barrack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was an American anthropologist. She is not from Germany. In fact, she lived in Hawaii and studied at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Though I said “I think,” I was wrong. [We all should have known that!]

Keywords 

race, racism, black history month, social construction

Resources 

  1. What is a “Social Construct”?
    1. An idea or concept that is created and accepted by members of a society. These are ideas that are not “natural” or universal across all cultures and societies.
  2. “11 Things That Are Social Constructs” (2016),  Jane Paolantonio
  3. What We Mean When We Say ‘Race Is a Social Construct’”, in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2013)
  4. Article from King and Brown (2014) “Once a Year to be Black
  5. Article from The Atlantic by Melinda Anderson (2016), “Black History Month in Schools– Retire or Reboot?
  6. Biography of Carter Woodson, the “Father of Black History
  7. NPR report on Marian Andersen, “Denied A Stage, She Sang For A Nation” (2014)
  8. Biography of bad-ass Bessie Coleman
  9. Biography and work of poet Audre Lorde