A Collection of Cultures: An Interview with Tiara // Guest Post

We aren’t voiceless, pass the mic.

I don’t know how other POC bloggers feel, but I’ve always felt that there is a shortage of stories and perspectives from people of colour… our stories are many, interesting and unique. So, towards the end of last year, I decided that I would begin sharing the stories of many talented, wonderful, diverse bloggers.

To kick off the Collection of Cultures interview series, today we have Tiara @ MutedMouthful who is one of my absolute favourite bloggers. I am rather a cynic, so when people proclaim themselves to be kind, I don’t tend to believe it. But Tiara? I believe her with all my heart. She is so genuine, beautiful inside and out, caring, empathetic, talented, kind and intelligent. I’ve also noticed that when Tiara speaks, I listen carefully because she always has something insightful to say. If you have time, please check out her blog!

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Can you share with us a story that shows us an insight into what it is like to be African-American?

A few months ago, a teenager I was mentoring was asked to stay after class because she had an outburst during a lesson. When I spoke with her, it turns out she was really upset because she was tired of teachers only talking about Black people when it comes to slavery. She wanted to learn about all the positive impacts that Black people in various countries have made; she knew they existed, but it was never really talked about in school. That’s kind of how it’s like to be Black and/or African American, no matter how big or small your accomplishments, your individual background, or your history, people see you how they want to see you. Someone else is always trying to steer the narrative, instead of letting us lead.

What are some things you love about being Black? Are there any things that you feel are specific to the Black community? 

I love so many things about being Black; one thing I never wished was to be another race, I just wished I was more understood. Black folx are constantly slept on, we’re underdogs, yet when one person makes it, big name or not, we’re rooting for them.

I love that Black culture is responsible for so many fashion trends, social justice movements, art, and more. I don’t love that our voices tend to be buried under appropriators or folx looking to reap the benefits without acknowledging how they were “inspired”.  

 

What are some of the disadvantages of being African-American?

There are several disadvantages associated with being Black, one can fill a book (and they have). From constantly being seen as a threat to constantly being overlooked, life makes it hard to see things positively. One disadvantage I would like to take note of is that no matter the level of mastery you, you continually have to prove yourself. You’re always wrong first until someone is finally convinced you’re right. You have to work twice as hard, even though your counterparts ease through life with mediocrity.

Another disadvantage is that we are constantly pitted against one another. We apparently can’t all do well and succeed. We are told that we have to be the best of the best in order to make it, unfortunately, that can mean we have to tear each other down. You can have healthy competition, but historically, there has only been so much space for Black people to occupy. This is something that is still a struggle.

How do you feel about how African-Americans and Black people, as a whole, are represented in pop culture and the media? 

I think the narrative is changing in a lot of pop culture and media outlets. I definitely find myself feeling more seen then previously. It’s cyclical, really. In the ’90s there was relatable content like Living Single or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Then we were hit with reality shows and content that just played on stereotypes. There is still a plethora of stereotypical, hypersexualized, hypermasculine, and hyperaggressive portrayals of Black people in the media. But, shows like Black-ish, Insecure, or Atlanta give us dynamic characters and not caricatures.   

What do you wish more people knew about what it is like to be Black? 

The fox that are told they don’t “act Black” or they “talk White” are still Black. White people or other ethnic/ racial groups get to be individuals, while all Black people are lumped together. If they do not fit into a stereotype, then they are compared to someone else instead of just being themselves. The daily microaggressions are exhausting. “Your hair is actually really soft.” “You never ran track or played basketball!” “You probably like to read those ghetto novels, right?” We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of us are hardcore, some of us are nerdy and sensitive. We all need therapy and we have dreams like everyone else. We definitely do not have time for racist and prejudice B.S.

copy of a collection of cultures meet tiara guest post


Check out Tiara’s blog

Find her on social media:

Twitter // Instagram

 

41 Comments

      1. Thank you, darling! By the way, it’s an offensive way to refer to popular urban novels for example The Coldest Winter Ever by Sista Souljah or Blossom by Queen Penn. These are popular books that people love but are seen as less than smh.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Hey Sophia, I loved reading this interview. It’s a perspective white people need to sit back and listen to so thank you so much for sharing. You asked such interesting and insightful questions! Definitely checking out Tiara’s blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this! Tbh every time someone says something racist or sexist or I hear it on the news or something I give myself a mental face slap. I mean we’re in the 21st century for the love of God! Get over it! If you have nothing nice to say don’t say it!

    Like

    1. Yay, that’s amazing! 🙂 It is shocking that in 2019 there’s still a lot of racism to deal with… I’m afraid it’s not going anywhere for a while, but we’re making strides and the more people of colour share their stories and experience and are empowered (and we empower each other) and the more white people listen, we can grow. Let’s work towards that day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Tiara has been amazing, I’m just glad and so lucky that I could kick off with her wonderful perspectives.

      I can’t wait to see your answers, and I’m sure just like with Tiara, I will learn a lot more too. 💛

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great interview and interviewee! I’ve followed the lovely Tiara for quite a while. I enjoy her posts and I’m sure I’ll enjoy yours too.
    I agree absolutely with all the comments which underline the fact that all people need to be heard as individuals. This is something I hope to be working on as part of a social development / libraries writing project here in Cape Town. I don’t want to say too much as I’m not sure if it will come off and I don’t want to jinx it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you and I agree, Tiara was amazing to interview, I’m so glad I started the series with Tiara. It’s important for me as a women of colour to pass the mic to women of colour to share their stories and for the rest of us to simply listen and I’m so glad to hear you understood that!

      Oh, I had no idea that you live in Cape Town! That’s interesting! Oo, I do wish I could know more about it… social development/libraries writing project is something very new to me! Good luck on the project, I hope you’ll be able to share it one day. ☺️

      Like

  4. I relate so much to the how you sound thing. I’m obviously not a native English speaker, which is obvious to anyone who hears me speak, but I still get told I sound ‘white’, and I’m here… What? Sorry, what exactly does ‘sounding white’ mean? I have yet to get a good reply for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When you reply “what does that mean?” they have no response because they realise that they have to check themselves. I’m curious, does “you sound white” mean “you sound educated?”

      I do notice that I adapt to my surroundings only when I absolutely need to because it will give me something, so there can be a disparity in how I speak at work and how I speak at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bingo! That’s exactly what it means, that I sound educated. Which is extremely disgusting, and it was a shock, because, living in a country whose entire identity is centered around the fact that we’re diverse, and now living in a State (not my own) where POC are the majority (around 80%), I wasn’t ready to see this side of people. Nowadays, it’s easier to not be surprised, but it’s still pretty sad.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, it indicates shock that you could be educated because apparently that’s a white people only thing to some of them, right? :/

          Your story is really interesting, I have little knowledge of Brazil, but even I know enough that that shouldn’t be happening. That’s come as a surprise. I would love to interview you too one day, if you’re interested? This series is a monthly feature, so if so, it should be sometime around June/July?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Probably. I confess I was pretty shocked. And just to clarify, I never really faced this problem here. I think I have been pretty privileged living here. But foreign people have definitely displayed shock at the fact that I can communicate in English and have gotten to go to college. If it’s still interesting to you, I’ll be happy and honored to be interviewed!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s really interesting, the White west shocked that non-white people can be educated. I remember seeing a blog post the other day about how the West presents Africa in a negative light. I can’t wait to interview you and learn more! I have limited knowledge of Brazil, so it might be helpful for the planning stages to let me know what you’d like to highlight for the interview! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. It is pretty shocking indeed. I have to admit we’re a bit less isolated culturally than other countries, since we’re very open to other cultures, but I believe education in general does fail people regarding knowing more than that other continents exist and their general geographic information. I’m really excited for this! Would you like me to do something along the lines of “what people think about Brazil” vs “what it’s actually like”? It can be pretty short and it doesn’t have to feature on the actual post, but it might be an interesting tool! 🙂

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                1. That’s interesting! Personally, I think, from what you’ve said, Brazil sounds wonderful, and I definitely need to ask you why news and information is generally more restricted to Brazil.

                  Yes, that would be great! If I could, I’d love to hear pretty much everything, so let me know what you’re passionate about, and if you don’t mind, I’d love to share more about you, yourself, as well because I’ve learned a great deal about you and your family from your blog! You can write however much you like, there’s no word limit. 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have! I’m sure there’s a lot to be talked about, I could spend days writing! XD I’m very passionate about education, history and equal oportunities, but honestly, I’m happy to talk about anything! XD And I’m also happy to share about me as a person, nothing is off limits!

                    And there’s a contact page on the blog, anything sent through there will reach my inbox! Feel free to hit me up there! 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed Tiara’s interview very much because she told the truth. No matter how well educated a black person is, someone is going to say negative things about that person. Africa had kingdoms long before Europe. Read Genesis 10: 1-32. Cush under the Ham line. Watch Wonders of the African World narrated by Henry Louis Gates Jt., a six-part series. Then you’ll know a lot more about our past.

    Like

    1. It must make it difficult to always be on the receiving end of a constant barrage of criticism; it’s really lovely how black people root for each other especially black women cos if you’re not there for each other, who will be?

      Like

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