This past weekend I saw scores of people of all different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds dressed in green. They were eating corn beef and cabbage. Drinking Guinness by the gallon and singing “Danny boy” like there was no tomorrow. I mean I even wore green to work. So here’s a question that has been on my mind all day: Why is it easier to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than black history month? They both are ethnic holidays. They both started off as a way to empower oppressed people. So what gives? Here are for reasons I came up with:
1. St Patrick’s Day is fun. You get to run around in green. Drink beer. Eat corn beef, cabbage, and potatoes.
2. St. Patrick’s Day is short. It’s only a day as opposed to a month.
3. St. Patrick’s Day is accessible. Any jerk with a green t shirt can participate. As the saying goes “Everybody’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day!”
4. St. Patrick’s Day is concentrated on one person as opposed to digging deep into all the stories and facts of Irish history
5. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates an ethnic minority that has been included in the narrative of whiteness. No dis to the Irish because theirs is a rich history. In fact in the 19th century the Irish and African American population were equally oppressed and worked and lived in close proximity. But still the powers that be found that they could include the Irish in the narrative. This narrative focuses on America as a haven for immigrants and outcasts while ignoring the sins of a nation that killed off the indigenous inhabitants and built its wealth through enslaving black bodies. To put it simply St. Patrick’s day is easier to celebrate than black history month because black history month points to White America’s sinful past.
Black history month is a prophetic time that speaks to America like the bleating of sheep in the ears of Saul (1 Samuel 15:14). It says wrong has been committed and there must be repentance and restitution. It says that halfway obedience is not enough. It says that yes progress has been made but God will not be pleased until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
Why else do you think it’s easier to celebrate St. Patrick’s day?