Celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth on Twitter

February 1926. That was when Historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” This resulted in the subsequent creation of the beloved National Black History Month. Since it is the age of technology’s reign, Twitter celebrated the opening of this month with a few hashtags.

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Photo: Twitter.com

On February first and second, hashtags commemorating the suffering of African American ancestors were trending. #BlackHistoryMonth2018 was a hashtag giving all sorts of information on what African Americans lived through and the little symbols of rebellion they had. This hashtag was created to give knowledge and facts on this sombre period of American history. Our teenage generation gets most of its information from social media, so this was a great way to inform.

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Photo: Twitter.com

#MillennialNegroSpirituals was simply honoring millennial music from Black Americans. People used this hashtag to share lyrics from hit songs of the 2000s that made us all dance, honoring an era where Black Americans are greatly influential.

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Photo: Twitter.com

Another trending hashtag, the most controversial of them, was #Tweetlikethe1600s. It is known that people on social media, especially Twitter, lighten up serious issues with humor, hoping to make them more palatable. Isn’t laughing considered the best therapy? Black Americans on Twitter used #Tweetlikethe1600s to tweet like they would if Twitter existed in the 1600s, topped with funny gifs. They even addressed painful subjects like slave rape and used words like “Massa.” American abolitionists were also often alluded to, especially Harriet Tubman. Yet it is easy to see why this hashtag was controversial. It was meant to be a sort of consolidation activity for Blacks.

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Photo: Twitter.com

But of course, like always, there were White people unhappy that they couldn’t participate in the “fun.” This reminds me of a great quote from the journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates: “It’s normal for groups to use words that are derogatory in an ironic fashion, so why is there so much hand-wringing when Black people do it?” One thing minorities are always proud of is their culture.  That one’s culture survives when forced to assimilate, creates a sense of pride that most Whites will never feel.

This month is dedicated to honoring African American culture and history. Let African Americans celebrate it however they want to; let them cope however they need to.

Further reading: 7 Things White People Shouldn’t Say During Black History Month

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