LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — February marks Black History Month, a tradition that got its start in the late 70s. Since then, schools and businesses have celebrated in great and not-so-great ways.
You may recall that during Black History Month last year Target faced backlash for some of its merchandise. FIG Strategy & Consulting said it’s a perfect example of what not to do during this time.
FIG offers diversity equity and inclusion consulting and training services and said common practices like problematic merchandise and what’s described as the “one-month ally” can be insensitive.
“Maybe take a beat and just think about what it is that you love about Black culture or what Black professional or Black person in your community you look up to or you respect or someone that’s had an impact on your life,” FIG’S TaChelle Lawson said.
Lawson describes the “one month ally” as the company or person that promotes Black History Month in February but after the 28th there’s silence.
“Longer than either of us can remember this group has been highly overlooked, has been marginalized, has been stereotyped, the negatives are endless,” Lawson said. “And then literally almost overnight, it became all the things we can do and it’s like OK let’s take a pause, and let’s really understand what we should be doing and what we should not be doing,”
She said these actions are usually done by someone or a company this is profiteering from this exposure, which can come off as not only disingenuous but also offensive, even if that’s not the intention.
“This is part of the challenge right, during Black History Month, we’re only black,” she said.
“I don’t get to be seen as the president of a company, I don’t get to be seen as a business owner, as a daughter, as an auntie, as a mentor as someone who loves bourbon, and a traveler. I’m just Black and that’s incredibly insensitive and it also is hurtful.”
If you encounter this, speak up! Use it as an opportunity to educate. FIG consulting said it’s all of our responsibility to say it’s not OK.