A Collection of Cultures: An Interview with Suziey // 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 and unique. So, towards the end of last year, I decided that I would begin sharing the stories of many talented, wonderful, diverse bloggers.

Today, we have Suziey @ Of All the Books in All the Libraries who is one of my favourite bloggers ever. Literally, like ever. If I remember well, I discovered Suzeiy’s blog whilst searching for book reviews on WordPress Reader and I internally cried tears of joy because I finally found another book blogger who was open to reading across all genres like me and the rest is history. Suziey is ridiculously intelligent – heck, she can actually get me to see things from a different point of view and do it with panache… I say panache, what I mean is cool logic. I mean, that brain be banging. She is kind, compassionate, hilarious, full of surprises and so fun to talk to! Suziey and I talk a lot about race, culture, gender and identity and I feel that much of our talk has played a part in driving me to do this series, and I’m so glad I have because, heck, I’m learning a lot too now. Here’s a toast to Suziey, who makes the blogging world a lot lighter and brighter!

img_7182

  1. What are some things you love about your culture and being Latinx?

Family. Familial love runs strong and deep. Through thick and thin we have each other’s backs. We also have *extreme* pride in our heritage and keep our traditions alive (for the most part). We also have the best food #sorrynotsorry Okay, so I’m Guatemalan but technically I grew up on Mexican-style food. Tacos and Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus tea) are life. But pupusas (Salvadoran food) are one of my favorite things to eat. And you have not lived until you’ve tried Cuban bread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it haha. 

    2. What are some of the disadvantages of being Latinx?

Machismo! That’s what we call toxic masculinity. We tend to be a conservative and traditional people. So women’s rights are trampled by men because that’s what tradition dictates. A woman has no role but to make her husband’s life easier. We basically live to serve men. While there have been great strives forward in some areas, it’s still a problem. We’re also pretty discriminatory against each other. I’ve seen it, and I’ve lived it. You’d think because we’re all Latinx and have a somewhat similar history we’d all get along. Yeah, no. Racism towards our own people is a thing. It’s problematic and needs to end. 

     3. What makes Latinx culture different?

I wouldn’t say we’re too different from anyone else. We love, laugh, cry, have music, value family, art, food, etc. just like every other culture. What sets us apart would probably be our history. I think of Latin American history as broken up into 2 parts. Pre-Columbian and Post-Columbian. Pre-Columbian history is rich. It’s the history of the indigenous groups who peopled this continent for ten thousand years and from which I and many Latin American’s are descended. Post-Columbian begins with colonization. Where whole civilizations were wiped out by Europeans and where other cultures were brought in (thinking of my Caribbean brothers and sisters). 

     4. Do you have any stories to share about Guatemala? 

I’ve been to the motherland exactly one time, when I was about 1 year old. But I’ve heard my mom’s childhood stories many times before. She grew up during the Guatemalan civil war, so most of her stories are tinged with sadness, poverty, and fear. Then there are the simple, everyday stories like, going for a swim in the river, gathering wild herbs for food, the first and only doll my mom received as a child. Her stories make me aware of my privilege and I appreciate everything my mom has done for me so much more.

     5. How do you feel about stereotypes of Latinx’s in pop culture? 

It’s funny you ask this question because I was just watching Pitch Perfect 2! I absolutely love this movie and and always chuckle when Flo says anything. Because she’s supposed to be Guatemalan and the things she says are just absurdly funny! “When I was 9 years old my brother tried to sell me for a chicken” or “I had diarrhoea for 7 years”. Ha! I *try* not to take the stereotypes I see in the media too seriously because I know they’re not factual. But it does bother me when other people take it as a truthful or realistic representation when it’s so obviously satire. I watched “You” on Netflix, and I don’t think every cis white dude working in a bookstore is a serial killer. If I did, I’d never go book shopping again. (The horror)! Although speaking of Netflix and Latinx representation, I would recommend watching the Academy Award winning film “Roma”! 

Oh, and just for the record, Central America and the Caribbean are part of North America. I find it frustrating when people say Guatemala is a part of South America. I feel like they’re trying to purposely exclude us from associating with Canada, the U.S., and Mexico (developed, First World countries). But it’s a geographical fact y’all.  

     6. What do you wish more people knew about Latinx’s?

Psh. I don’t know. Hm… We’re just like you. We have family obligations/expectations to live up to same as everyone else. We know the value of hard work because it’s what we’ve been doing our whole lives. We want the world to be a better place for our children than the one we grew up in, just like you. We may sound, look, and act differently than you, but deep down we’re actually a lot alike. 


untitled design-1

Check out Suziey’s blog

& Find Her On:

Goodreads

Have you got a story to share? Are you passionate about your culture, identity and community? Are you a diverse blogger? If so, I would love to interview you! For further information, please contact me if you would love to feature as a guest on my blog.

Sophia Ismaa

16 Comments

  1. I loved the personality of this writer! I am so glad she brought up machismo! My family is also Puerto Rican and they kill me with some of their beliefs, especially around gender roles 😅.

    Like

    1. Suziey’s personality shining through (as always), her comments and blog posts are a goldmine in itself – pithy with spice.

      So glad to hear you related to this 😀 … I didn’t know that your family is Puerto Rican! I really should have asked.

      It was the first time I heard of ‘machismo,’ it seems like it’s a cornerstone of Puerto Rican culture? I definitely need to learn more about it one day. My uncle is a pretty pious man, but he’s been telling me from a young age to never allow anyone to cow me – but this is a rare thing in my culture.

      Like

    1. Oh my God, I’m literally so surprised when I learn more about fellow bloggers through this series, I had no idea that you’re Latino! I wonder if you related to ‘machismo?’

      So glad to hear you enjoyed this, thank you for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Suziey sounds like an amazing person, I’ll have to check out her blog! I love how she makes the point of seeing ‘ourselves’ on the screen and having fun with it, but it’s still a bit sad that people think the clearly exaggerated stereotypes are true, not understanding that comedy is usually about the exaggeration. We’ll get there some day, I hope. 🙂

    Like

    1. She is!

      I feel like The Simpson’s did that with Apu, and people took that stereotype as fact. My mum is Bengali and when she speaks English, she doesn’t speak like that. I think the way Latinx are represented in Orange is the New Black looks to be good rep based on what I’ve heard! Now… hopefully one day Muslims will be represented as something other than people who needs to be fixed because we’re “oppressed” or got rid of because we’re supposedly ‘terrorists.’

      1. I guess it’s the hard part of doing comedy. If you use the exaggeration that comedy usually makes use of, people may believe what they see – if you don’t, people will accuse you of not representing other cultures the “right” way (usually people who don’t know that culture). It ends up with different cultures not being represented unless we’re doing it ourselves. And now I want a comedy sketch with a member of each of the most commonly misrepresented cultures sitting for dinner and chatting about all the weird stuff people ask them due to these misrepresentations. x.x Can someone make this happen? It might sting a little, but it could be hilarious with the right people!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. True, true, I guess it may be about meeting a balance and being as truthful as possible without relying too much on how the audience would perceive it, but not discounting the audience altogether. And I think that can be better done by having more of us in the writing room because who knows how to represent our own people better than us? Oo, just realised you said that (I reply like by line! 😂). Yes, first step, we need to be in those spaces… tired of seeing white men and white women trying to portray our stories for us. *sigh*

          I believe there was a comedy round table once and the Bollywood industry have one too! I think it’ll do great to have more though, I know I would love to see it. New Girl did great, I would love to see more shows like it. That’s a great idea.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Okay, I know I’m dreaming waaay too big, but it hit me now – can you imagine if there was a way to make something like the Saturday Night Live format but run/written by and with mostly POC? I’d watch the hell out of that. >.>

            Like

            1. That would be amazing!!!!! And it should be on Netflix, available worldwide. Lilly Singh, Leslie Jones, there are so many more who could host and each episode could feature new talent or a contracted number of episodes. And maybe not the same sketches as SNL because I just don’t find it that funny. 😭

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yeah, really, really old SNL was great, the newer ones, not so much. I love the format, though, and I think it has great potential with the right comedians and skecthes. (And I would totally get Netflix just to watch it!)

                Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s