Hard is the knowledge of the good. And the knowledge of names is a great part of knowledge

– Plato

I thought long and hard on the title of this post. Why? Because, the part of me that cares about other people’s perception of me, battled with me and warned me that this title is a slippery slope. While self-doubt and my insecurities, questioned me: Why do you think your opinion matters in what was long agreed upon before you were born or were able to think? And, common sense reminded me that there is nothing new under the sun, nor is there any thought that I can think that has not been previously thought.

For the part of me that amplifies the slippery slope of the title, I asked what is the feared perception here? The answer: To recant my expression, as Kanye did: I will openly apologize for a million and one times, for a million thoughts held and expressed in error, considering new knowledge and awareness.

While my response to common sense, is though there is nothing new that could be found under the sun, there is only one Phesighyo’s perspective to the things under the sun, and common sense should be proud of his contribution to its library.

You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake sh$#
– Stronger

Well, for my self-doubt and insecurities, we have been friends for over 2 decades, and the best way to quiet them is knowledge and awareness. So, I summoned Google search to my rescue.

My intellectual Discontent

I very well understand and applaud Carter Woodson, on his legacy to ensure that the history and tradition of the African American race is not exterminated by forgetfulness. I appreciate the fact that February was chosen as the month, to honor Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, as their birthdays are two days apart in this month, 12th and 14th respectively — while my birthday is also 2 days apart from Fredrick Douglass’s, 16th.

Yet, in 1926, the African American race was openly called Negros, and knowledge and awareness of that age were not advanced to call it the African American Heritage Month.

As an autodidact of philosophy, I remembered Plato’s work, Cratylus, which centered on the importance of right naming:

…that names ought to be given according to a natural process, and with a proper instrument, and not at our pleasure: in this and no other way shall we name with success. — Plato

Okay, what really is my problem with the ‘Black’ in Black History Month?

Black is a color, not a race. I believe to continuously tag a race with color, is to succumb to ignorance while living in an era of knowledge eldorado.

What insidiousness do I believe is perpetuated by referring to the African race as Black?

I believe as long as one race, my race continues to adopt the Black moniker, what we indirectly say is that there is another race that is ‘white’. And, in doing this, we continue to fuel the racial prejudice that Fredrick Douglas, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jnr. warred against, which undermines their legacy than honors it.

My Findings

I was not raised to point out a problem without a possible solution. There is no wisdom to yell ‘wrong answer!’ and not know what a better answer is. There should be evidence of why the right answer or solution is appropriate.

Thus, here is a 2005 academic study on the right classification of races. And, below is a diagram from the paper.

Lists of Human Races, from Guido Barbujani, Human Races: Classifying People vs Understanding Diversity

Looking at the list, I’m in awe of the fact that it took over 262 years before the African moniker was acknowledged as a prefix to describe a race. But I wonder what happened to human knowledge in 1997, which was the first time that a color replaced the Caucasian race. I must admit, however, that the above list is not robust.

See Also section from the Black History month on Wikipedia

The above image is also from the see also section on the Wikipedia page of the Black History Month. Africans in Brazil will also need to right their identity.

Abrupt Conclusion

Dear reader, in respect of your time, I will make my final remarks: I have once broken the golden etiquette, of the dinner table to discuss race, where I was the only African on the table while knowing better. I referred to baby boomer Caucasian, on the table, as a Caucasian, and as diplomatically as the response could be, I was nicely informed that being called a Caucasian, does not feel as good as being called ‘White’.

You have common sense, you have Wikipedia, and you have academic research. I will leave you to make your choice. But, now I’m sure you can understand why O.J Simpson said:

I’m not black I’m O.J! –
Jay Z — Story of O.J

Dear reader, as always, I remain radically open-minded to your comments and suggestions, in any error, you find in my thoughts.

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