The focus on great individuals is problematic because most people don't see themselves as capable of being those people. It become unintentionally disempowering, especially for younger students, because they think you have to be larger than life to make a difference.
A real problem with Black History Month is that we focus on individuals, yet we ignore the larger social structure of racism. Students might study great people who made great accomplishments, but it isn't seen as an issue that's relevant today.
For example, as a white woman, I'm shaped by my class, my gender, my race, my sex. My life is shaped by privilege as a white person, but at the same time, I may have experienced discrimination based on my gender or my religion.
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