Honestly, it took me longer than it should have to ponder and answer this question. Was it because I wasn’t proud of being black? Certainly not.
It was in fact because of how much there was to be proud of – I didn’t know where to start.
I started researching successful black people to answer the question but then I realized that these successful people I hoped to find online actually surrounded me. My name is Nana Ohene-Darkoh and I am a second year medical student at the University of Central Lancashire.
I do see the beautiful and successful black people within my community. Whether it’s the lovely course mates I meet in my modules or the few black lecturers I see walking around the corridors, I do in fact see them. The success is local and right in front of me.
I am glad to be able to see others that look like me. However, this isn’t the case for many. Many may not have to look far for these successful black people, but they may have to look hard. I certainly did.
Within many institutions growing up I was one of very few black people in my course or class but within every institution, I did go to, I experienced unity with these few black people. Whether it was a head nod from across the room or any silent acknowledgement that we see each other, it bought a sense of community that I didn’t think would impact me as much as it did.
Throughout the year’s black people have been through, and still go through, a lot of obstacles and given all of that we continue to try and remain united even after history’s multiple attempts to divide us.
Though we go through these hardships and have to work extra hard to get half as much as a white individual has, I realized that there will always be people who will look out for and after you in our community and that unity alone is something to be so incredibly proud of.
So to my lovely young black people seeing this:
Be proud for loving yourself despite society’s beauty standards telling you otherwise.
Be proud for having the courage to speak out about race in school.
Be proud for sharing your ideas in a room full of white people.
Be proud of everything you do.
Whatever you do, whether it’s big or small – be proud, because you have a whole community cheering you on.