"my chance to tap dance for my race." celebrating black history month with joe buckner
Joe Buckner is a father, grandfather, son, friend, and overall exceptional human being. His speciality? Leaving people in better places than where he found them. One of Joe’s passions is being a father not only to his own kids but to the community. A few years ago, he began a video series titled, “Things Your Dad Should Have Taught You.” While Joe didn’t grow up with a father figure, he was constantly watching those around him who embodied what he thought being a good father should look like. He learned from them and brought that knowledge to fruition when it was his turn to be called upon as Dad. People around the country have benefited from the content Joe produces, and his mission is to help individuals cope with the average growing pains of life. He currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.
For Joe, February isn’t just the finish line to the endless month called January, but an opportunity to celebrate those who have traditionally not been celebrated in America.
“Black History Month is really a time to acknowledge the black community that has contributed to building this great country of ours. Black History is American history.”
Joe notes, "It’s funny how we know off hand who invented the telephone and the light bulb but we don’t know that a black woman invented the software for GPS. Refrigerator trucks, biscuit cutters, plane propellers - all invented by black folks with no proper recognition."
Growing up in a place such as Fort Collins, Joe knows that his black experience could be different than someone else’s. While it’s not the most diverse place, there also isn’t a lot of overt racism taking place on the day-to-day. Joe had access to the same high-level schools as his white peers, his friends' parents were doctors, lawyers, architects. However, he does acknowledge that his experience has been the same as many other black Americans in that he has always been labeled as, “other.” Maybe once a month he’ll see a face in a crowded restaurant that looks like his and once every two weeks someone with the same color skin will be walking down the street. Always being an anomaly, always being the “black one” is something that’s followed Joe his entire life.
Having known he was always going to be the “other” when in a crowd of people or just getting gas at the station, Joe began to grow an alert and sometimes uncomfortable self-awareness.
“I’ve known from a very young age that being black is what makes me different. I carry this idea with me that I have to be exceptional because I might be the only black person someone comes across in their life. Being anything but exceptional is not an option.”
Unfortunately, this weight or concept that Joe carried was only enforced during the summer of 2020. After the murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, Joe became everyone’s go-to black guy. People looked to him for reassurance that they weren’t a racist person, and wanted to learn about how to “be better” from none other than Mr. Joe Buckner. It got to a point where he considered relocating to be a nameless face in a crowd.
“I wanted to be the person that others don’t stop in the hallway and say, “What do you think about Ferguson?”
For Joe, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and a time to educate. He encourages everyone to recognize the black community as they should have been years ago.
“Whenever I can get onto my platform and help others, it’s also a chance for me to tap-dance for my race.”
While there is so much work to be done, the only way true progress can be made is if we ensure that we’re taking steps, everyday, to not only pursue justice, peace and equality, but to end racism and celebrate Black History, always, not just during Black History Month. To encourage us all to further our education around Black History, Joe put together a list of historical figures, documentaries, podcasts, and more, that we can all dive into to challenge our way of thinking, expand our mind and further our education and understanding.
Joe Buckner’s Top Two’s For Black History Month
Two Historical Figures You Haven’t Heard Of:
Two New Voices in the Fight for Equality:
Two Children's Books to Teach Your Kids About Black History:
Additional Pursuit Articles to Read: