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After watching recent episodes of Jeopardy, I had a real Aha moment.

Approximately every two out of six episodes had at least one category related to African Americans.  The rest of the game board categories contained a combination of academic subjects such as spelling or mathematics and a host of random facts regarding White American interests and/or other history.

To my chagrin, I noticed that each time a category regarding all things African American was included, it was prefaced by the words: African American this or African American that.  The same was not true for other categories.  In fact, the other categories in the game were labeled quite differently and often quite humorously.

I further noted that even when all the answers pertaining to the other categories in the game were regarding White authors, White actors, etc., the categories were never labeled as White Authors or While Actors or White Philosophers.  Author, Actor or Historian were enough.

Why?

Why did and do questions relating to African Americans have to be singled out and specified…both on the show and in life?

Inevitably, after THE category (because it was only one) specifically​ labeled as African American this or African American  that was completed, the remainder of the game board contained information specific to situations celebrated, revered or sometimes even considered less appreciated by white America.  But, regardless of the associated emotion—from love to abject horror—the topics were merely categorized as History, Actors, 18th Century Authors, etc., with only the locations to give them away.

I had no other choice but to, once again, conclude that anyone versed in “White” History—or, as it is usually called, “History” in general—can do well on this particular type of game show as well  SAT/ACT exams and the like, since these mandatory tests are little more than mini-episodes of Jeopardy, minus the musical interlude and snappy comebacks from the host.

However, if that same individual focused on historical matters pertaining to their own history or race of people, they would not do nearly as well in any of these things.  In fact, they would probably not even be considered bright.

Militant maybe…even hateful.  But bright wouldn’t be listed.

Meanwhile, White Americans can and do finish school having learned barely anything about African Americans other than the occasional Black History Month studies.  And let’s face it, even if that is adhered to, it often showcases the same Blacks—e.g. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Charles Drew, etc.—or emphasizes African American athletes and entertainers over the past and present-day contributions of African Americans to Science and Technology.

In 2017, students can finish school with minimal knowledge of African American life while it remains mandatory for these same students to know almost every facet of “White” life in order to be successful on any level of society…including game shows.

And what galls me even more is that, even when African Americans were directly involved in “White history,” we are still overlooked and left out of the history books.  The movie Hidden Figures is just one outstanding example of the squashing of African American contributions to America.  There are many, many others.  Somehow, the story regarding the Space program is included in American History.  However, the African American females integral to the mission were omitted!

Why?

Was this an innocent oversight or a deliberate attempt to white out (pun intended) the contributions of African Americans to society?

I’ll take “deliberate attempt to white out African American contributions to society” for 1000, Alex!

I guess we’ll just shuck and jive or play a few quarters while White Americans make history.

Can anybody hear me?

Ok, I keep hearing over and over that the country is more divided than ever, usually in the context of blaming former President Obama for recognizing that he was black or Trump for attacking minorities.  But, let’s be honest here, the country has always been divided.  At no time in its relatively short history has it ever been a united nation where equality ruled.  Its very foundation is built on human suffering and taking advantage of others.  The truth is, Black, Negro, African-American peoples have been fighting for Human Rights in the United States since stepping off slave ships in the 1600s.

Amazingly, in 2017, Black, Negro, African-American peoples are still dealing with racial barriers in a country they have built and occupied since their enslavement.  Why on earth would anybody, from those individuals who are newly arriving in the US to others whose oppression wasn’t as visible or continuous, believe that their specific issues will be or should be dealt with first?

It is obvious that other races of people now experiencing unfair treatment as guests in the US are either convinced that Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans are satisfied and lazy or else are totally unaware of 400 years of their own mistreatment.

And now, instead of assisting Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans with their obvious and continuous fight for basic human rights, these other, now targeted groups/races of people either jumped on the bandwagon with the oppressor of Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans or pretend that they don’t notice the racial disparities that exist in the country that they chose to inhabit.

Perhaps if they had joined the ongoing struggle of the Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans, when it was only against Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans, maybe they would have avoided their starring role as criminal targets today.

They never considered that Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans didn’t come here willingly like they did.  They never considered that the very structure of America demands that someone be a permanent servant class.  They never considered that, even if they came in search of a better life than what they received in their homelands, they at least knew where they came from.  They also decided where they were going.  Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans are called African but, if they were dropped off in the continent of Africa, they wouldn’t know where to go.  Truth is, Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans are more familiar with the US than they will ever be with the continent they are labeled by.  And even here, they have never been welcome outside of the plantation.

So now, Hispanics, Muslims, individuals of Middle Eastern descent now find themselves the target of unfair treatment.  Now they are the bad guys!  They are the immigrants being targeted.  According to white America, if a wall is built keeping them out, crime in the US will diminish.  Like never before, US citizens fear being injured if they are allowed to stay or even worse if they are deported.

And now that they are the targets, they expect Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans to come to their aid and speak out on their behalf?

Have you noticed that no one is discussing building a wall in order to block Italians from entering the US?  No one suggests that all the criminal behavior, murders, racketeering at the hand of known Mafioso’s might be impacted.  We will never know.  That’s because they are welcomed.  In fact, all white skinned immigrants are welcomed into the United States without restriction.

Did the new arrivals totally miss that the US refuses to even acknowledge that racism is still very much alive?  They didn’t see that the country would rather address Women’s issues and issues facing the LBGT community than deal with 400+ years of the dehumanization of Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans—gay, straight, male and female?  What, did they think hard work would put them in good graces?  Did they think that they, in the last few decades worked any harder than Blacks, Negroes, African-Americans who built this country?  What did they really expect?

So, my advice is to take a number!  They’ve already missed their chance to take a stand.

Can anyone hear me?

On a recent episode of T.V.’s Jeopardy, three non African-American students strategically and obviously avoided the category regarding African-American History without as much as a second look from Jeopardy’s long-time host Alex Trebek…or the studio audience for that matter.  At first glance, this may seem outrageous.  However, when you consider that there even remains a need for an African-American History Month as well as a separate category for African-American History (as opposed to an American History that is inclusive of all Americans), some of the outrage subsides.

After all, why should students, college or otherwise, black, white or other, waste time learning about a category that has not yet made it into the history books?  Is not used in mainstream education as an actual part of history?  And, continues to be treated as a special section of history that doesn’t warrant a position in everyday history lessons?

Why study and memorize this particular aspect of history as long as there is no real reason to do so?  Unless you are majoring in African-American Studies and plan to teach it, what might this particular knowledge do for you in terms of your career?  Overall knowledge of this category will certainly not determine your ability to win at Jeopardy or any other game show where the answers to 90% of the questions relate to white-American history (better known as American History or simply History).

Nevertheless, the question must be asked:  Doesn’t history occur as it unfolds?  After all, isn’t history, history?  So how can patches of it be edited out, shuffled off to the side and ignored and history still be considered accurate?

The knowledge of African-American History will certainly not assist you in completing necessary SAT exams to gain college entry.  This particular knowledge will not prepare you for any job other than specified above.  So, even in 2014 with an African-American president in the White House, African-American History continues to remain in the background, taking a backseat to other areas and times in history that are required for all to know in order to even remotely be considered “smart” and knowledgeable enough to be successful in America.

Suffice it to say that, most often, on Jeopardy or anywhere else in America, the question to the answer is more likely to be:  Who is George Washington than who is George Washington Carver.  Can anybody hear me?