Blog PostYear of Young People

YOYP2018: Brian Iroegbu

Growing up as a young black male in Scotland has especially prepared me for some of the adversities that I have come to realise are associated with the beginning of adulthood. Being of an ethnic minority and the only black person amongst a handful of people of colour meant that feeling different had to, and was, adjusted to quickly.  

This Black History Month, an initiative that’s been particularly important to me has been the promotion of young entrepreneurs. Speaking to a young black person I met this Black History Month I had the pleasure of learning about her idea for a starting a catering company making Afro-Caribbean food and trying to bring it to the masses. She spoke about some of the challenges she had to overcome to get her idea off the ground but also about how proud she felt to be able to follow her dreams. Seeing displays of young black business starters has been so inspiring and I believe the government could offer more support to all young people to be able to pursue business ventures young people are passionate about. 

Sense of identity can be a largely undetected problem not just for young black people in Scotland but for all ethnic minorities. It’s for this reason, events like Black History Month and other celebrations of culture are so important and should be promoted even more. 

And whilst Black History Month will mean many different things to different people, including reducing stigma and ensuring black young people feel as able as any young person to follow their dreams, to me it is a celebration of culture and identity. Black History Month is not a calendar event I would look for to like Easter, Summer or Christmas, but with its arrival every year come the opportunity for me to re-immerse myself in Afro-Caribbean food, music and people. 

Sense of identity can be a largely undetected problem not just for young black people in Scotland but for all ethnic minorities. It’s for this reason, events like Black History Month and other celebrations of culture are so important and should be promoted even more. 

In conversations I have had about to people about Black History Month, criticism from both sides of the spectrum usually crop up with some claiming it to be unfair to dedicate a whole month to one race and others claiming it’s offensive to confine centuries of Afro-Caribbean history, traditions and culture to only 31 days a year.