This year, Black History Month has been overtaken by white history made on Jan. 6
Black History Month, essential as it is, is too often a respite from white history, a way for Americans of all colors to embrace the heroics of Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. DuBois and so many others without examining the villainy of a country that made their heroics necessary. I understand the choice to hold Black stories apart from the larger American narrative, to give them the space they deserve, at least once a year. But elevating Black history in February has ironically also been a way to elevate racial denial.
In 2021, we don’t have the dubious luxury of such compartmentalization. This year, after a decade or so of overt racism moving steadily from the margins of American political life to dead center, Black and white histories have converged. It is not a pretty coming together; it is a collision that has shifted the ground under everyone’s feet.