Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
Seniors Tasha Mwangi and Orlin Gomez are starting a new podcast through Viking Fusion called Bursting the Bubble. The podcast explores what it means to be a person of color in America and how people of color are affected by the environment around them.
This idea originated during Tasha’s sophomore year at Berry. She worked for Student Diversity Initiative and International Experiences Offices. She and her colleagues would frequently have enriching discussions about the world and their different experiences. It was also the year that Tasha began to question herself and her environment. She questioned who she was and what her future looked like, it felt like she wasn’t getting some answers and experiences due to the nature of the Berry Bubble.
“It was a point in my life where we are all here to grow as people and for me that wasn’t here,” Mwangi said. “It became constricting.”
The “bubble” that Berry students live in became suffocating for Mwangi and she set to change that, to give voice to Berry students who looked like her and shared her experience. Mwangi and Gomez both stated that they wanted to show their audience a “perspective from a black woman and a brown-skinned man.”
“We want to challenge their thoughts,” Gomez said. “We perceive the world from different realities, so we want to give individuals the opportunity to understand how complex those things are and how sometimes what we learn and the things we take in on our everyday lives, whether it’s pop culture, whether its academia, doesn’t always reflect how complex the world is. One of our main goals is to burst that bubble of thought. Have people really dwell on the ideas that we bring together and have people who listen take a different perspective that we might not be exposed to.”
Talking about the first episode, Gomez remarked how it was challenging because neither of them were used to talking on a platform. It seemed robotic and stiff and too professional for what they were trying to accomplish. They wanted the audience to see them as relatable students, not professionals. Because of their unhappiness with the first episode, they decided to rerecord it a week later with their open and fun personalities on full display.
“We wanted people to, specifically people who can relate to us and our opinions, to know that there is people out there, students out there, that they can relate to. So if we have a very professional tone then a lot of times people don’t feel comfortable with that. If we make it more playful, more us, then people who might feel like us can relate to us.”
For their first episode, called Decolonizing the Curriculum, they wanted to show their audience the roots of their feelings of being “othered.”
“Sometimes we question our own worth,” Gomez said. “As disturbing that sounds sometimes when we look at our environment, when we look at people in power, they’re white, when we look at our professors, they’re white. I just don’t see my community.”
This episode focuses on the ways academia has failed people of color. Mwangi questions whether the curriculum is made for people of color or white people. She wonders if the curriculum is saying that only one group of people deserve knowledge and worthiness.
Mwangi and Gomez had historian Patrick Hoyt and political science and international affairs professor Kirsten Taylor on the podcast. Hoyt focused on what it looks like to decolonize the curriculum and Taylor stated that this country was not supposed to be inclusive in the first place.
“Sometimes in academia there’s only one narrative given, the narrative of what’s in society,” Gomez said. “And a lot of times that narrative ignores and sometimes even dismantles the narrative that is associated with the consequences of those thoughts.”
Mwangi and Gomez emphasize how their voices matter and make the podcast special. Gomez is Guatemalan and Mwangi is a Kenyan-American who grew up in the south and has dealt with the feeling of being separated from her white peers.
“A lot of the times people don’t even know where our countries are on the map,” Gomez said.
Bursting the Bubble can be found on Viking Fusion and Spotify. Uploads will come monthly with the first one coming out this Sunday.