For The Hullabaloo’s last print issue in February, this week’s edition of The Hullabaloo is Black History Month-themed. There are many outlets for Tulane faculty, students and organizations to partake in Black History Month celebrations, some of which can be found in the pages of this issue. Tulane as a university committed to diversity, however, falls short of properly commemorating the month, a time that should be emphasized campus-wide.
There are many people in and outside of the Tulane community who deserve recognition for their contributions. From professors like Jesmyn Ward, who has achieved national acclaim, to student organizations like Black Student Union or African American Women’s Society that work to elevate the voices of African-Americans on campus, Tulane has largely missed the opportunity to uplift and publicly support individuals and organizations.
Tulane should look no further than its home city to see the many opportunities to celebrate black history. For example, many in-season sports leagues and teams such as the Pelicans have recognized Black History Month, but Tulane Athletics has notably not taken part in the festivities. Though Tulane basketball was able to honor Mardi Gras with special jerseys, Tulane Athletics has not hosted programming or events for Black History Month.
By choosing to only celebrate Mardi Gras without recognizing the predominantly African-American community of New Orleans whose culture is deeply ingrained in its traditions, the University erases and undermines those who create the fabric of New Orleans.
Tulane must also look inward to fully celebrate Black History Month with integrity. The University should look to students of color and address their needs while also addressing its own history and the legacy of racism that impacts the experiences of all students.
It is easy for us, as students at a predominately white institution, to make it through February without hearing a word about Black History Month, but we shouldn’t use that as an excuse to ignore it. We should use this as an opportunity to stand up and be an example to others. Predominantly white institutions should not hesitate to celebrate other cultures and should instead work to integrate the appreciation of these cultures into our everyday lives.
It is imperative for the non-black Tulane community to celebrate black history as U.S. history, as world history, as our history. This is how we can begin to foster inclusion at our increasingly diverse institution.
Staff Editorials are written weekly by members of the Tulane Hullabaloo Board and approved by the full Board by a 2/3 majority vote.