Why African-American Books Should Be Required Reading for All Americans

Black History is American History

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out loud. I’m talking about African Americans in corporate America encouraged to cut off their dreadlocks because it’s not “professional.”  I’m talking about the students at the prestigious Columbia University reluctant to admit they live in Harlem.  I’m talking about all of the news articles about Chris Brown and Lyfe Jennings and R. Kelly that incorrectly refer to them as rappers. It’s an erroneous suggestion that all young Black men in the music industry must be rappers. I’m talking about that infamous L’Oreal ad where Beyoncé was barely recognizable once they lightened her skin and sculpted her nose. It’s the kind of racism that fails to accept the cultural differences between races as just as good, just as fly, just as beautiful as any other.  We are different, yes. The fight of the Civil Rights Movement, Affirmative Action, and the like was not a fight to be like Whites. It was a fight to encourage the country to acknowledge and embrace our differences as equal. What a boring place America would be if we all looked the same, and dressed the same, and shared the same history. 

The people perish for lack of knowledge.

Herina Ayot is a freelance writer living in Jersey City, NJ. She is currently writing a novel based loosely on her own life, "The Content of Things Undone." Follow her on Twitter @ReeExperience.