British Army facing huge backlash after tweeting that Black History Month had been 'expanded'

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Thursday 03 October 2019 11:45
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(iStock/Twitter)

The British Army has faced backlash after tweeting that Black History Month has been "expanded" to "include the history of Asian people too".

The now-deleted tweet has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, with people rightly pointing out that people of colour have a diverse range of histories which shouldn't be lumped together in a catch-all themed cloth covering anything that's non-white.

However, it would seem the Army took its information from the BBC's Newsround website, aimed at young audiences.

In an explainer of Black History Month updated on 1 October, it says:

This month was originally founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to this country over many generations. Now, Black History Month has expanded to include the history of Asian people and their contributions too.

It is unclear exactly what they mean by this, as there is not one official body with the power to "expand" it.

Black history month originated in the US in 1970, and was first observed in London 1987, before spreading across the country.

Over the years, attempts have been made to rebrand Black History Month - but they have been strongly criticised and resisted.

London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Hillingdon, in particular, have tried to expand the programme into a "diversity month" which seem to cover all cultures that aren't white British.

However, this development and the BBC's comments seemed to stay under the radar until the Army tweet.

In a comment given to indy100, an army spokesperson said:

We regret the offence caused by the tweet yesterday. Throughout October we are celebrating Black History Month, including highlighting the crucial role black soldiers have played serving in and with the British Army.

Like many organisations and media outlets, our content also featured historical links with persons from Asian backgrounds.

The BBC hasalso been contacted for comment.

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