Black History Month has arrived, with this year’s theme, “Black Resistance.”

The holiday was heralded on streaming platforms nationwide, with shows categorized into the Black History Month and Celebrate Black Stories collections on DisneyPlus.

Yet in practice, this month is not about celebration, but penance.

A recent CNN article covered a particularly apologetic suppliant, a school lunch vendor called Aramark. Apparently, Aramark was made to grovel for feeding students chicken and waffles as well as watermelon on the first of February, coincidentally the first day of Black History Month. 

After accusations from the school principal that the lunch menu was “inexcusably insensitive and represented a lack of understanding of our district’s vision to address racial bias,” the vendor apologized for its display of “unintentional insensitivity.”

The author of the article frames this misunderstanding as the “latest example of how Black people continue battling misguided stereotypes about their fondness for certain foods and racist tropes against them.” So she judges, deaf to the pleas of the vendor who denied that this lunch was intended to be representative of a cultural meal.

Such attitudes, themes, and stories during the month of February leave conservative Americans with a bitter taste in their mouth. But not because, as the Left so often postulates, the Right is racist.

Rather because performative politics are exhausting.

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In a properly ordered society, Black History Month would never be about “Black Resistance,” but a time of solemn remembrance that the natural state of man is not free. We would remember the liberty our founding fathers preserved for future generations is precious, hard-fought, and worth honoring.

We would remember the valiant men and women, Black and White, who fought and died for the inclusion of a once enslaved population into the full fold of the nation.

We would remember the abolitionist societies and founding fathers who fought for freedom, even before the time of the Constitutional Convention.

Instead, the current administration continues to pettle in soft bigotry, claiming the number of black bodies it has placed in positions of power and boasting its use of the “power of the Federal government to address long-standing disparities that have hampered the progress of Black communities.”

Such collectivist rhetoric is expressly un-American.

The American dream postulates that man is much more than his initial circumstances, upbringing, and status. Each man is master of his own accomplishments and failures.

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Perhaps we should take advice from American educator Booker T. Washington, in his book “Up from Slavery”:

I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race… Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.

Our founding fathers passed down to us the right and responsibility to seek a “more perfect union.” Though America has a scarred history, these words have long instructed the doctor’s hand to heal those wounds which were once gaping and unattended.

Let us remember this Black History Month the victory of all who dedicated their lives to the Judeo-Christian principle that man is indeed the image of God, worthy of freedom.

Let us remember and soberly rejoice.

Catie Robertson is an intern with the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Government.