Amanda Calley, 24, Aberdeen, shares what 'Proud to Be' means to her and her experience of educating and raising awareness of Black history.
The theme of this year’s Black History Month is 'Proud to Be'. It took me a long time to decide what I was proud to be. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t think of anything I was proud to be, I could. The problem was that there were a lot of things that I’m proud of so narrowing this down was a struggle. I finally settled on something- I’m Proud to Be ME!
We’re all unique, right? And that’s something so special, so why shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves? Why shouldn’t we shout about our achievements?
I think society can make it hard for Black women to stand up and be confident in themselves. We don’t fit into the typical beauty standards so we can’t be considered beautiful, we’re too loud, too confident, too much. We’re told to act a certain way, look a certain way, speak a certain way so that we can conform. But why should we have to? Black women are amazing just the way that we are, and we shouldn’t have to change ourselves to fit into someone else’s idea of perfection.
Last year in the pandemic, during the Black Lives Matter Movement, I started to really think about the way that society views Black people. How we’re treated and the stereotypes that exist. We’re made to feel inferior, like being Black is a negative, but it’s not. We’re made to feel like solving racism and injustice is a Black person’s problem, but it’s not.
Despite the racism, hate and inequality being Black is amazing. It’s being part of a community of people. It’s getting to be part of a rich history of people who have helped countries to achieve amazing things. Everything about being Black makes me Proud to Be.
Black History Month 2020 I started working with BBC The Social. I didn’t want to just celebrate Black History Month myself I wanted to talk about it as well, I wanted to educate people about it, I wanted to raise awareness that this was happening, and it was important. I started my own mini-series with BBC The Social called 'Spilling The Black Tea'. Somewhere that I can talk about the history that I missed out on in school, somewhere to talk about the issues that affect Black people that aren’t spoken about in the mainstream media. It’s hard sometimes, the comments that people leave can be soul-destroying and it’s never nice to read negative things people are saying about you online, but I don’t do it for them. I do it for the younger people who feel like they are alone in their experiences, I do it for the people who haven’t heard about Black history in school, I do it because I would have loved someone to speak on these topics and be a role model for me when I was younger, so I have become a hopeful role model for others.
Being Black will always be something to be proud of. For all the lovely young Black Scottish people in Black History Month, I want you to always be proud to be who you are, be proud and love yourself, even when society makes you feel like you can’t, and most importantly be proud of everything that you do!