The article went on to discuss how in fact the notion of black history has been labelled as an outsider subject, only intended for black people to study and learn about. The distinction between history, and black history is made and it has separated from the main topic. The talk went on to insist that this is not the case in reality, and the subject is rich and important enough to matter to all, not just black people.
It then occurred to me, as I listened with interest to how the slave trade was shamefully dominated by British interests during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that society requests that we do not distinguish black from white, that we are all the same. There is sometimes tension around the word black, in which we're asked to replace it in popular nursery rhymes and descriptions of things. We, as a culture, have become very touchy feely over the black subject.
With this in mind, as a white person about to embark on a short lesson in British black history, my pang of unease was rooted in this cause. The fact that I had nothing to do with slavery or racism within my culture makes me an innocent by-stander to history, and I have nothing to regret personally. So it makes sense that I learn about it, and treat it as history like any other.
So why define it as black? Isn't the point that we stop making definitions according to skin colour? Well it is, but in truth, when we need to discuss a particular theme within culture, descriptors are the only thing we really have. Defining black British as a part of history, rather than a separate section, is a rational way of looking at it. Somewhere I think us non-black people have got our wires crossed, and it's actually perfectly O.K. to talk about black and make that definition, when it's relevant, interesting, and true.