Whatever you may think of national holidays and observances meant to mollify groups with grievances, you might agree with Lilly Workneh, Black Voices senior editor at the Huffington Post, that Vice President Mike Pence erred by honoring a white man during Black History Month. Then again, you might not when you hear which white man Pence paid tribute to.
It was Abraham Lincoln.
“Pence’s tribute to Lincoln,” writes Workneh, “didn’t sit well with many on Twitter, who called out the tone-deaf tweet and implored the vice president to become better acquainted with the achievements of black men and women.” Among those who took exception to Pence’s tone deafness was Ava DuVernay, director of the film “Selma,” who tweeted:
Maybe remember when ACTUAL BLACK PEOPLE did stuff? Besides Ben Carson + Omarosa of course. And um, about the 13th amendment… oh nevermind. https://t.co/dIPV6YAeS4
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 2, 2017
Another was CNN contributor Symone Sanders, who has a rather myopic view of race. Last November, she declared on air that “we don’t need white people leading the Democratic party right now.” Even more telling was her refusal to impute racism to the kidnapping and abuse over 48 hours of a mentally challenged white man by four giddy black teens in Chicago in Janurary.
But aside from the sources of the comments Workneh includes, isn’t there something a little off-base with her premise that Lincoln deserves no mention? After all, the month, according to its name, is devoted to black history, not just to black accomplishments.