Living In Between the Lines of My Butterscotch Skin

May 25, 2017

Ymasumac Maranon white bolivian american

In college I had a keeper of all my heart’s unspoken riddles. He a DJ and I wrote poetry. At festivals he spun records and I wrote, danced, soaked in the sun...deeply soaked in the sun as it bronzed my beautiful caramel skin. Or so I thought. At his family’s party, the subject of skin color came up. Read more...

DNA Intergenerational Trauma Capsule

May 18, 2017

Randy Kim vietnamese cambodian american

One night, several years ago, I was awoken to a sudden scream downstairs in the living room. My body jolted out of bed as I heard my father yelling. I couldn’t make out the words from his moment of terror. I woke him up. He quickly convulsed and opened his eyes. I asked him what was going on, and he snapped... Read more...

Rebellious Chicana Self-Care

May 11, 2017

stefanie flores mexican american

I think I have rebellion in my blood. But who defines what rebellious behavior is? As a second-generation Mexican-American woman, rebellion could be interpreted as going against my cultural norms, which presents a lot of “shoulds” on women.“You should be married by a certain age.” Read more...

Lead, Love, and Live Unapologetically

April 28, 2017

alexa rodriguez mexican salvadoran american

We are moving towards an intersectional world; that’s where momentum and inevitability are taking us. There are those who fear the unknown, glorify stagnation, and are resistant to any source of “different” and any kind of “other.” Well I don’t stand for that. My existence doesn’t stand for that. Read more...

What's In An Ethnic Name?

April 21, 2017

defining cultures kids

I clearly had no clue about accent marks in the 4th grade, and a tiff I had with a classmate was evident of that. Now, all I can do is laugh about what went down. I’ve surely grown since then and now have the perfect tips for parents of children with “ethnic names” AND anyone who thinks their name is jacked up. Read more...

Distant Relatives

April 14, 2017

chi morka nigerian american

For each and every person I feature on Defining Cultures, I’m constantly reminded that we are more connected than we think. Today, I wanted to share one of many examples that I’ve encountered, and the chance to enter and win, not only a DNA kit, but a trip to discover where you are from! Read more...

I Am Hmong

April 6, 2017


Stares. That's what I got while walking down the streets in Santa Marta, Colombia during my recent trip. Their eyes followed every step that I took when I walked past them. It was only when I turned a corner that I felt their eyes drop, but new eyes found their way to me. Read more...

Losing My Way

March 30, 2017

Maria Perez Losing My Way

The smell of pupusas, the sound of Los Hermanos Flores playing in the background, and Salvadoran flags throughout the apartment. From an early age, I was able to appreciate my culture and where my family came from. I was born the youngest of five children and always felt left out because... Read more...

Different, Not Better

March 29, 2017


When I was a kid, I wished a lot of things were different. This was partially because of my ambiguous identity. I didn’t know what to consider myself or even who to look up to. There were clearly many socially constructed distinctions between my two parts, but nobody to... Read more...

Just An Ordinary Xicana Against The Empire

March 23, 2017

adriana gonzalez xicana

If you asked me two-three years ago, I would have not known how to describe my identity. Not only because I lacked the conventional language to do so, but because I was unaware that my community back home was not the social landscape of the entire nation. Read more...

La Borinqueña – Defender of Puerto Rico

March 16, 2017

La Borinquena Negra

As we all begin to get familiar with America Chavez and her possible impact on the Marvel Universe, I want to focus on an Afro Latina Superhero. If you haven't been paying attention to independent comic books, you may have missed the debut of La Borinqueña this past fall. Read more...

Travel: Take A Few Steps Back

March 9, 2017

Solo Travel India

Solo trips are my forte. I can choose to carry out my own agenda or go on a whim. I become vulnerable – making new friends and leaning to the hearts of strangers to move me along. For a moment in time, I’m able to escape reality. One of these trips led me to Jaipur... Read more...

Black In China: My Third Home

March 3, 2017

Chi in China

In 2012, Shanghai became 'home' for the next three years. It was also a significant point in my life where I learned to live in the moment. I consciously disconnected my personal life from the Western world. No TV (except movies), no Twitter, no IG, no Facebook. Read more...

The Art of Asking

February 16, 2017


Being mixed/biracial/multicultural, my physical appearance has always been accompanied by a sense of ambiguity. My racial composition, Black and White, is hardly complicated yet others have never been able to figure it out at first glance. In my lifetime I have been mistaken for Turkish, Japanese, Puerto Rican, Dominican... Read more...

My Cultures, My Identity

January 31, 2017

Multicultural United Nations

At just five years old, the picture above resembled a mini-United Nations. One filled with so much color and proof that MLK’s Dream was alive and well. Learning and playing with kids from different ethnic backgrounds laid the foundation for how I would approach life…with an open mind and to appreciate the importance of diversity. Read more...