Black history in America is a complex story of exploitation, determination, segregation, emasculation, fetishisation, activism and innovation. Yet the story of one of America’s longest legacies is remembered in the year’s shortest month. In 2013, there is a valid discussion as to why a common history can still be sold as niche construct. This common story of the institutional marginalisation of an intrinsic part of America’s history reflects the unease with which America relates to Africa, African Americans and what constitutes an acceptable American tale.
“From corner store conversations to revolutionary contemplating”, this conversation rarely involves why ‘black’ history can be segregated in the allegorical sense only then to be packaged in a commercial entity – in this case by Nike advertising.
In 1926 historian, author, journalist and Black History Month founder Carter G. Woodson concluded that Race prejudice “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction…” True ‘revolutionary thinking’ would involve the evolution of Woodson’s original argument. Surely in 2013, the continued tradition of a convenient and marginalised view of history is well past its sell by date.
Last year we made the obvious assertion in reference to Levi’s Go Forth campaign that you’re not your f*cking khakis. In this spot, Nike do their bit to make this narrative an uplifting one, but today we state unequivocally that Black History is not a f*cking jacket.