Another person who hates "Black History Month" in the community. We should hear all view points on the matter because she is making "Black History" herself. Erin Aubry Kaplan • Biography Again she is African-american and on top of that she has some fame and fortune. The seemingly best spokesperson in changing attitudes in our community. Every time I see this "hate for Balck History Month" it always deals with how business handle this month but not how everyday black people incorporate this month for their edification and nothing about how Carter G. Woodson took his time out to serve our community in beleiving in our abilities to contribute to this society and the world at large. He was an inspiration. I dont see no inspiration ( oh I know double negatives, and I am in trouble with grammar police) from her piece. Where were those whites she and others speak of during Carter G. Woodson time and even now ready to fairly display the infinite stories of success and attempts made by our community towards freedom for all Americans. They came out later when enough money can be made off it. Enough about my views. Feb. 11, 2006, 7:04PM SEPARATION ANXIETY Black History Month and me A hand-wringer for those who don't see it as a story apart By ERIN AUBRY KAPLAN I hate Black History Month. I don't hate black history, just the month: the marketing tool it has become, the reductive and self-congratulatory tone of the "Honoring African-Americans" public-service ads it sets off, the rush toward penance it inspires, as America overcompensates for the rest of the year in which we actively diminish or ignore the concept of black history, much in the way people rush to church or temple on major holidays to revive a faith they don't otherwise keep. Anybody who knows me knows that I wring my hands over this every February. But because the present course of American history feels so ominous, so freighted with bigger transgressions against democracy and equality that are fast obliterating old-fashioned concerns with black people and their history, this year deserves a special wringing. So here goes. I hate the separation of stories that has become synonymous with Black History Month, the assumption that black people exist on a different, almost otherworldly plane than everybody else in this country. Certainly in many ways, they have. But Black History Month should be about connecting the dots of American history, not arranging them into neat, monochromatic piles that reinforce a false notion that Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. were admirable creations only of black culture (and not of white oppression or, more broadly, American culture) who resonate just in black circles. Of course, America is obsessed with cultural niches of all kinds, and Black History Month is no exception. But there's something deeper at work, some stake that whites (and some blacks) have always had in keeping their narrative apart from that of black people. Public-service ads notwithstanding, white people don't want the taint of all the negativity that blacks have come to represent in the popular but unarticulated imagination, from slavery to street gangs. Whites, and many blacks, resent the pall that the black struggle has always cast over the shining American myth of equality and individualism. I get the feeling that whites simply don't want to be involved or implicated in black issues, so each year they magnanimously hand us our history and say, "Here you go! It's yours, you're free to do with it what you want." I can almost hear the murmurs of relief among the television programmers and corporate community-relations execs as they prepare their perennial tributes: Thank God it's their history, not mine. One hypocrisy is that Black History Month routinely ennobles the fight against slavery, when most of the time, Americans practically laugh any debate of it out of any room. What, that old saw? We sneer at the notion of black reparations, not because it's so outrageous but because it dares to invoke the possibility that some 250 years of slavery, 100 years of legal segregation and 50 years of something we still can't quite categorize just might have some bearing on the unqualified mess blacks are in today. As everyone surely knows, blacks are entrenched on the wrong side of just about any troubling statistic you can think of — high school graduation, incarceration, unemployment. At a recent screening of the documentary film The Boys of Baraka, which follows the lives of a group of black middle-school students in Baltimore, I was shocked to be reminded of what an unlivable city that is for so many black people; a bleak, almost cartoonish landscape bereft of any signs of economic life save the drug deals going down on every other corner. I like to think of a place like that as far away, literally and figuratively. But a report on blacks in Los Angeles, issued last year by United Way, found that the city, traditionally a place where people come to remake their fortunes, is in many ways no different from Baltimore. That such conditions continue to exist, unchanged, is one question we should be raising during Black History Month. But we never do. The problem is that black history is ongoing and unresolved. Although it's had bright spots of relative success, it's not pretty. It still demands accountability at a time when accountability is almost permanently out of fashion, and blackness itself is being subsumed by the rise of other ethnic groups and new paradigms such as multiculturalism and multiracialism. A good friend of mine says that blacks are on the wrong side of U.S. history and always have been. As a black person, I'm resolved to that fact, but as an American, I'm equally resolved to change it. Guess it's a hate-love relationship. Happy Valentine's Day. Kaplan is a journalist and writer born and raised in Los Angeles.