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!
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.
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