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African - American History Month: all work toward good non-fiction!

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February is African - American history month, a time to remind all of us of the contributions of African-American people. While things seem to have improved over the last fifty years or so, there are still times when some people definitely need a reminder of how racism and discrimination are wrong. An example was just in the news.

Three White University of Mississippi ( Ole Miss) students were recently suspended from their fraternity indefinitely and are also on the way to being expelled from the university. They decided to tie a noose around the neck of the statue of James Meredith, the first African-American student at Ole Miss. In addition, they put a flag that showed an old confederate emblem on the statue as well. Prosecutors are also looking into filing criminal charges whether it be in the state of Mississippi or at the federal government level. The fraternity at the national level as well as the University of Mississippi denounced the actions of these students and said that they want to make sure that they and others understand that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

I applaud the fraternity and the university for their actions. Mississippi used to be one of the most racist if not the most racist state in the Union. I am glad to see that things have come far in that regard. In addition, I was glad to see the students of the university act so strongly including placing flowers on Mr. Meredith's statue and holding signs and making statements that the behavior of those three students was just plain wrong. With that being said, I still feel that especially in the last couple of years, these incidents seem to be popping up more and more again. It is both disheartening and scary to say the least.

I do not like this type of non-fiction. I am going to combat it with some other non-fiction in a moment. First, I am going to say this. There are some people who do not like President Obama. Some people dislike him because of his policies. Other people dislike him but not because of his policies. Some people dislike other people because of their opinions, their beliefs, how they dress, etc. Other people dislike people but not because of the reasons mentioned before. In case you do not know where I am going with this, I will say it. If you are a bigot, a racist, a sexist, an anti-semite, an anti-catholic, a person who hates gays and lesbians; or anyone else who just hates people; you have a problem. You will miss out on a whole bunch of people who are great and wonderful because you choose to be ignorant and do not want to learn about diversity. In addition, if you are either just as bad or worse than those students who did that to James Meredith's statue; you need to be charged with a crime and punished accordingly. It is not a joke, it is not funny, it is not you just expressing free speech. There are ways to disagree with people that do not involve committing crimes. All of the rest of us have the right to free speech too....to say what you are doing is wrong and you need to stop. There are also laws, if necessary, that can make sure that you stop.

Now for some great non-fiction that I highly recommend for reading during African - American History Month or whenever you want the rest of the year. I have also reviewed some of these.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of Sojourner Truth

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Thank you, Jackie Robinson by Barbara Cohen

The Women Who Raised Me by Victoria Rowell

The Complete Poems of Langston Hughes

Keep reading and becoming educated and living life. "We will overcome..."

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