Well, another award season has begun and so far the movie nominees and winners have been less disappointing than years past. Yet, another year arrives and every time I hear the phrase ‘first black …’ I roll my eyes a little before catching myself.

You see, I cant decide yet if I am more annoyed that black has to be announced before giving credit where credit is due. Or if it is moreso related to the fact that every time a black person accomplishes something we have to announce it. Or if it stems from my need to see black excellence as just excellence and not something specific and unique for black people.

In any case, I love blackness. I love what it means, the diversity of blackness and the celebration of it all. I love praising black people because we don’t see enough examples of successful black people in the media.

Maybe in essence my annoyance comes from the desire to move on from celebrating the excellence of blackness, because it exists every where, to giving fair credit to black people and their contributions to the arts, the sciences, mathematics etc. The facts are that black people have been contributing to all of these areas for centuries. Others have taken credit for them or have failed to praise the legitimate contributions of all others.

Can you see the problem?

When we always find ourselves praising “the few” excellent black people, it comes off like they are the exception and not the rule.

All black people could excel, but the dire needs of black men, women and children in urban and rural areas often go ignored.

I am tired of hearing ‘ The First Black xyz’ because at this point we shouldn’t still be naming the first black of any accomplishment.

Stop praising yourselves for finally giving credit where it was due all along. Black people have been slaying long before you gave them credit for it.

It is Black History Month and as with every year, we are taking 28 days to highlight the accomplishments of black people in the United States. But honestly, that’s kind of the problem. Why do we need a special month of the year to mention black people and their importance to America? Why must we label it “Black History Month”? Black people are Americans and black history is American history.

Let’s cut the bs and call it what it is.

While I type this I know that someone is reading it thinking “this Richelle girl is real ignorant, does she even know why Black History month exists?” And to that I say YES! I do and it has done what it was supposed to do, bring black success out of the shadows and into the forefront. But if I am honest, I don’t think it will propel us into a new age where black people will actually be regarded as equals.

What do you think? Is it time to drop the black qualifier?

Yours Truthfully,

Richelle Ryan