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 TheWebWeavers who is one of my favourite bloggers and, by far, the funniest blogger – WordPress’s own Queen of Wit. I’ve always considered reading her blog posts as a sort of treat to myself, the kind you need after a long, hard and tiring day. You know when you got home and you just want to watch some comedy shows and rest? Consider TheWebWeavers the blogging equivalent. She has no idea who Chandler is, but her sense of humour could not be any more like Chandler Bing’s. One of my all-time favourite blog series is her commentary on spam comments which actually have me LOL’ing and I’m not talking passing wind through your nose, but actually physically laughing. So, if you want to have a laugh, read book reviews, think about the wonderfully bizarre intricacies of life and socialising, then TheWebWeavers is your girl.
I am British Bangladeshi and I’ve visited Bangladesh in my childhood a total of three times and reading her answers had me grinning from ear to ear. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and hopefully, if you’re Bengali, you can relate to this!
Can you share [with] us a story that shows us an insight into what it is like to be South Asian in America?
I remember going to Bangladesh when I was eight and having a blast with my cousins. The roads were reddish dirt and there were these rocks you could find everywhere that wrote like chalk and we’d play a bunch of games with them. I remember going outside when it was raining so hard it felt like the ocean was outside the door. We’d pick mangos and lychees from the trees out front. There were these giant fields covered in these flowers that would stick to your clothes and would have endless puddles after it rained. Our family also had a bunch of cats. I mean, this doesn’t really show what it’s like to be South Asian in America, but it kind of does. Being South Asian in America means you get to live in two cultures.
You’ve mentioned that you are Bengali, that you’ve been raised in accordance with Hindu customs and beliefs, but in terms of belief, you’re an atheist. At what point did you realize that you don’t believe in the existence of a higher entity? How has that impacted how you approach your identity as a South Asian and how others approach you?
Around late kindergarten or early first grade, when I started doubting the existence of fairies and elves and unicorns and things like that, I also started doubting the existence of a god. My parents told me that these magical creatures didn’t exist, yet they said that gods exist, and that didn’t line up. I still tentatively prayed in elementary school, just in case. I stopped believing completely in middle school, but my reasons tipped more toward science and the contradiction between my parents telling me that if I was a good person, the gods would look out for me, and bad things happening to good people. It hasn’t really affected my identity as a South Asian except for when we go to the temple and I feel a little awkward.
You vacationed in Bangladesh recently, how was your experience living in Bangladesh? What was your day to day life like? What did you learn?
My experience was overall really lovely, and I adored seeing all my cousins and my grandparents after so long and without the separation of a screen, but it was also hot and exhausting and stressful. I don’t think my day-to-day life really reflects daily life in Bangladesh as I went during a wedding. Most of the time we spent there we were either prepping for or attending the (really long) wedding ceremonies.
Aside from the wedding preparation, which I didn’t really help with, I spent most of the time hanging out with my cousins. It was lovely seeing them after so long. We mostly played card games and just talked and teased each other (especially about my slight American accent, which I don’t hear, but *shrugs*). I spent most of the time with my six-year-old cousin, as the rest of them had school. We played a lot of clapping games that I didn’t understand and dress up and dancing and stuff. Most of what I learned was about my family, which isn’t super applicable here, but I learned their senses of humor and their favorite foods and hobbies and the intricacies of how to annoy them. I didn’t learn a whole lot of new stuff about the culture since I’ve been a part of it my whole life, and I didn’t really leave the house much either to go experience the world.
What are some things you love about South Asian culture?
I really love the community. I love all my Aunties and Uncles who are pretty much family. I liked growing up in a pot of children with birthday parties and random parties pretty much every weekend. I just hated the clothes that I had to wear to these parties. South Asian clothing is very pretty and sparkly and I like it on other people, but it’s also heavy and itchy. In the city where I grew up, everyone from Bangladesh seemed to know each other and were automatic friends and there were plenty of kids to play with.
What are some of the disadvantages of being South Asian in America?
I really dislike the stereotype that all South Asians are naturally good at math and smart. I am good at math and smart, but it’s not because I’m South Asian and somehow came out of the womb doing calculus, but because I work really hard and have no social life outside of the one with my textbooks. I feel like the assumption that my skin color somehow causes my good grades invalidates the work I put in.
And also there’s the belief among some South Asian parents (including mine) that doctors, lawyers, and engineers are the only real jobs.
What do you feel about how South Asian people are represented in pop culture and the media?
Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t really follow pop culture or social media (note nonexistent social life mentioned above). But, for books, not enough? Maybe I’m just reading the wrong books, but I can only think of one South Asian character: Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. But I also feel like I shouldn’t have to search out books with South Asian characters in them; they should just be there in most books. Which they aren’t yet.
What do you wish more people knew about what it is like to be South Asian?
South Asians are just as varied as any other group of people, and we are not limited to math and science, nor is any success a result of our race.
Check out TheWebWeavers’s blog
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.