Since this is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a very important question that has been asked many times before is resurfacing. This question has been asked of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and, in fact, all of the months in general. Should these months dedicated to the strong history and heritage of different groups of people exist?  These months exist to have a time set aside for Americans to focus on the contributions of people that are not just Caucasian; it is a time set aside to learn about influential people that may not have been included in the history textbooks. Many people support and participate in these months, using them as a time to teach people about their own culture and to learn about others. However, some people may argue that these months are not good to have. Some may argue that these months increase discrimination and separatism because they are focusing on just one culture, not just on the human race as a whole. The people that share this view may argue that these months should be discontinued. In my opinion, both of these views are correct. I feel that if we lived in a perfect world we would not have to have these months. However, I am aware of the fact that the world we live in is far from perfect, and in this reality, there is a need for these months.
I agree that we should not have to have these months dedicated to different cultures. In a perfect world, a world without racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and other discriminating factors, the question of whether or not we should have months dedicated to these different cultures would never be asked. In a perfect world, these months dedicated to the history and cultures of other people would not exist. There would not be a need for them because the accomplishments of people from these different groups would be discussed regularly in everyday life. Names like Cesar Chavez, Carter G. Woodson, and Antonia Cuello Novello would be household names. Their accomplishments would be common knowledge as well. In a perfect world, everyone would realize that Black history, Hispanic history, and the history and accomplishments of people from cultures and ethnicities other than Caucasian, is American history as well. However, we live in the United States of America, and our world here, though we are better off than many other countries, is far from perfect.
We should not have to have times set aside to highlight different cultures, but in the reality of the U.S. today, these times are necessary. In the kind of culture that we experience here in the U.S., a culture where the majority culture is catered to and is passed off as normal, there is a great need for these months. Many will refer to the U.S. as the great mixing bowl of cultures, but when examined closely, there really is not any mixing of cultures at all. One would be surprised how little some people know about other cultures. Even though the Civil Rights Movement ended over 40 years ago, and there are now laws that prevent discrimination, the fact still remains that racism, sexism and other forms of ignorance have not been eliminated. The majority culture here in the U.S. is set up in such a way that other cultures are marginalized, maybe tolerated, but not fully accepted. For the most part, history books and media do not show too many representations from cultures other than Caucasian. Many sections about minorities in history books are short and not as in depth as sections about Caucasians. Many of the sections about women are not as in depth as they are about men. Sometimes, with the media, especially film and television, it is easier to find negative images and stereotypes of minorities than it is to find positive and more accurate ones. Months like Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month present a chance to learn and teach about important people that might otherwise be overshadowed.
I believe that the people that are opposed to months like Hispanic Heritage Month are so because they believe that rather than having months, these cultures should be spoken about thoroughly throughout the year, and they are absolutely right. However, given the current conditions that we live in, as of right now, the hope that in the absence of the months we will discuss different cultures throughout the year, is unrealistic. Currently, there are nine different groups that have months dedicated to their culture and contributions to American history as a whole. I believe that right now, we need these months, and we should use them to educate as many people as possible and work towards the day that we will no longer have a need for them.