Letter to the Editor: Know black history

By: Kwynn Townsend Riley – Sophomore, Communication

“That is so sad…at least, his movie will make a lot of money right?”

This is the response I received from a faculty member when I told her I was crying at the news of Nelson Mandela’s death.

I was shocked by her response. She made it seem as if I just told her I was crying because I spilled my ice cream and there’s more at UDF. I remember when I was in Spanish class and we were playing charades. A fellow classmate was reenacting a singer, and a drug addict. I answered with “Miley Cyrus?” He said “No, Whitney Houston.”

When I asked him why he kept acting as a drug addict, he told me that that’s all he knows about her. The student didn’t even know that she was pronounced dead a couple of years ago from an apparent drug overdose. I was, again, shocked at the response.

Being a minority on a campus, some would say I should expect certain things, almost as if these expectations are inevitabilities. I should expect ignorance toward my culture and traditions. But, just because I should expect something doesn’t mean I should accept it. February is not just “I Heart UD month.” February is a month dedicated to showcasing the cultural wealth African American culture possesses.

During these 28 days, I remember every leader who has fallen to pave the way for African Americans like me. I revere every pair of shoulders that I stand. Without them, I would not be able to attend the University of Dayton. These 28 days are for the millions of African American cultural leaders, peace seekers, dreamers, doers. This month is for people who wouldn’t accept anything but equality.

During this month, I encourage members of this community to at least gain knowledge of what this month of dedication truly means. February is Black History Month and I’d like to see it treated as so.