4 Of The Worst, Most Common Myths About Black History

"Burning of the Plaine du Cap - Massacre of whites by the blacks" drawing
Abeni Jones
March 9, 2020

Lie #1: Black History starts with slavery

Schools usually start our history at slavery and end at Obama. But Black people have thousands of years of history, much of it powerful and instructive, before slavery. We should start there.

Lie #2: Black people are more athletic because of slavery

We’re told that we’re “naturally” more athletic, either because of “selective breeding” or survival of the fittest during slavery - neither of which have strong evidence. But this myth and stereotype HAS been used to downplay our accomplishments and compare us negatively to whites.

Lie #3: The crack “epidemic” destroyed the Black community

Crack is bad, but much of the “epidemic” was hype! More than half of crack users were white, but they didn’t get busted like we did. The destruction of Black communities was more due to poverty and the War on Drugs than crack itself, but vilifying crack users was an easy way to increase mass incarceration of Black people.

Lie #4: We’ve always been victims

This is why we shouldn’t start with slavery. We have a long history of accomplishments before slavery, and even during slavery we were organizing, fighting back, rebelling, escaping, and manifesting self-determination even in the hardest of circumstances.

We have to remember - and TEACH - the truth about who we are, so we can clear our path forward toward Black liberation!

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