What happens when Black History Month is used as a token? When discussions of Black history and communities stop at the end of the month? When its powerful messages are not internalized? When it doesn’t include a reflection on how non-Black folks benefit from anti-black narratives? When it becomes a signifier of inclusivity instead of an appreciation and celebration of Black identities, histories and futurity? Beyond this month, what can educators do?
These are questions that arise every February at the onset of Black History Month, and become even more layered when accounting for the multiple and simultaneous oppression experienced by LGBTQ black communities, families and youth. Here’s a list of advice from our families and our research team that might be helpful in navigating these discussions:
Advice from our families:
- Create a space where LGBTQ people and families are normalized and part of the fabric of the school (Victoria)
- Intersectionality is taught and expected in the curriculum (Victoria)
- Provide relevant literature and access to community resources that celebrate and centre Black LGBTQ communities (Jae and Daya)
- Be open to learning and listening from your students (Jae and Daya)
Advice from the LGBTQ Families Speak Out research team:
- Center futurity, thriving and affirmation
- Moving beyond deficit narratives that frame Black communities in ways that reinforce stereotypes, harm and violence
- Connect the struggle and resilience of Black communities through history to the discrimination and prejudice faced today
- Recognize that the Black LGBTQ community is diverse and that no one voice can or should represent an entire community.
- Unlearn anti-black thinking
- How might you unintentionally benefit from it?
- What steps can you take to be an advocate and ally of Black LGBTQ students and families?