By Sydney Matthews
February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month — 28 days dedicated to celebrating Black individuality and achievement. Not only does February celebrate Black excellence, it promotes a complex dialogue about race in America. A dialogue that acknowledges struggle, survival, and success.
Ivanka Trump does not share these sentiments.
On February 1st, the fashion designer tweeted, “During #BlackHistoryMonth, we celebrate heroes like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who were sojourners for freedom – and we resolve to continue to bring greater equality, dignity, and opportunity to all Americans, regardless of race or background.”
Following its publication, users vehemently criticized the tweet’s inopportune timing and racial undertones. Even worse than a half-hearted attempt to acknowledge the month’s social significance, the statement was interpreted as a oblique promotion of “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and values.
Additionally, opponents critiqued Ivanka’s sheer insensitivity to Black culture. Trump’s use of “all Americans” was seen as a deliberate attempt to whitewash the month and demean its fight to acknowledge and commemorate the Black experience.
The tweet’s racial insensitivity underlined the current administration’s disappointing lack of effort to bridge the gap between equality and minorities. Dissenter’s underlined the long history of minority disenfranchisement during the Trump era. These criticisms included the insufficient allocation of resources during the Puerto Rico following the Hurricane Maria.
The lack of acknowledgment and protection of people of color is detrimental. It is a direct constraint to progress, dreams, and the naturalized right to equality.
Black History month is one month out of the year that we recognize the fight against racial discrimination and celebrate the culture and history we worked so hard to preserve. Happy Black History Month, I thank leaders, activists and anyone from all spectrums of living who stood up against racial injustice and stood strong to secure our Black history