Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

On the Limits of Goodwill, the Golden Rule, and Deontological Ethics: A Social Justice Activist’s Reflections

As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I’ve been journaling on the limits of goodwill, the Golden Rule, and deontological ethics. The reflections below are consistent conversations I have with myself as I decolonize my own ethics, because, just like you, I am a product of a culture and a society where these limiting frameworks are prevalent. Some of the biggest obstacles in our quest toward achieving social justice are ideologies and people (which includes innumerable progressive folx) that only equate “real” harm (harm that should be taken seriously and acted upon to find a remedy to reduce the harm) with harm caused by malicious intent. These frameworks and ethical systems directly invalidate, devalue, and gaslight the concerns of those who’ve been harmed, which contribute to and perpetuate oppressive status quos. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

What Does It Mean to be Colombian?

Can we really sit down and agree on a set of characteristics to essentialize what it means to be a Colombian? Once challenged to unpack what it means, most will recognize inherent limitations to this endeavor as there are any time one tries to essentialize anything. In the process of constructing an identity, one always leaves something out when trying to include something else. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Books on Deconstructing Oppressive Systems and Cultures of Domination

As The Nasiona’s creator, I thought I’d start an annual series of the books I’ve read (or reread) throughout the year that focus specifically on deconstructing oppressive systems and cultures of domination. By doing so, I hope to give you a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes to better prepare to serve our communities. Enjoy this list of 44 books. Hopefully some of these titles make it onto your to-be-read pile for 2022. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 64 – Decolonizing & Indigenizing Storytelling, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a virtual public event Julián Esteban Torres López gave on what it means to decolonize and indigenize storytelling, hosted by Texas A&M University, San Antonio. He talks about the relationship between language and identity; how the concept of time can be used to challenge hegemonic epistemologies; the importance of centering and circulating thinking and art from the Global South; and more. Dr. Alexandra Rodriguez Sabogal interviews Julián, followed by a Q&A with the audience moderated by Dr. Katherine Gillen. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 63 – On Healing, Transformation, & Reclaiming Authority of Your Authenticity

What does it mean to show up as you beyond the you you were told to be? Christine Cariño joins Julián Esteban Torres López to discuss the philosophy of authenticity, how getting over trauma often means finding your way back to that person you were before the trauma, and the transformative process of rerooting and replanting yourself and reclaiming deferred dreams. This episode is about healing, empowerment, and giving ourselves permission to say yes to ourselves, to allow ourselves to feel, and to create the conditions we need to fully become ourselves. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 62 – Decolonizing & Indigenizing Storytelling, Part 1

What does it mean to decolonize and Indigenize storytelling? How do institutionalized Euro-centric storytelling frameworks limit creativity, understanding of stories and histories, and how we relate to others, our selves, our environment, and our art creations? In this episode, Julián Esteban Torres López addresses the importance of decolonizing storytelling, affirming Indigenous storytelling traditions, and creating safe and encouraging spaces for BIPOC stories. […]

Editors' Corner

Our Narratives Become Our Future: Designing a Story with the Traumatized at the Center

“We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid. […] People are taught to respect their fear of speaking more than silence, but ultimately, the silence will choke us anyway, so we might as well speak the truth.” – Audre Lorde […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 61 – Being Latina/e/o/x

A tour of what it means to be Latina/e/o/x through the voices of previous The Nasiona Podcast guests: Sylvia Salazar, Colette Ghunim, Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Diana Castellanos, Mireya S. Vela, Liza Ann Acosta, Alexandra Meda, Christina Igaraividez, J.L. Torres, Irma Herrera, Beezy Montaña, Ra Avis, Patrick A. Howell, Carlos Carrasco, and Deborah Taffa. Our stories are complex, nuanced, and deserve to be heard. In the show notes, you can find links to the previous guests’ episodes. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 60 – Growing up Black and Brown in a White Town

What’s it like growing up Black and brown in a predominantly white town? Joe Sparkman and Julián Esteban Torres López share their experiences of growing up together in the 1990s as teenagers in Nashua, New Hampshire: Money magazine’s best place to live in the US in 1987 & 1997; where JFK announced he would run for president; and home to the first racially integrated US team in modern baseball. With this episode we glimpse into the kinds of situations that give rise to activists and social justice warriors. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 59 – The Nuyorican Hallway: Belonging & Living Between Worlds

J.L. Torres is the author of Migrations, the inaugural winner of the Tomás Rivera Book Prize. His work focuses on the diasporican experience—living in the inbetweeness that forms and informs the Puerto Rican experience. We dissect the central themes of Migrations—a collection of stories deeply rooted in Puerto Rico’s history—where he elevates the experiences of Othered individuals. This is a far-ranging conversation that spans colonialism, Nuyorican identity, colorism, Critical Race Theory, and healing. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 57 – Colorism in Latin American & South Asian Communities

During the last episode, my good friend Kanchan Gautam and I discussed our experiences as Third Culture Kids and cultural appropriation. Today, we explore the deep roots of colorism in our South Asian and Latin American communities, along with dating and making friends while brown in predominantly white spaces. Musical Guest: Stephanie Henry. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 56 – Third Culture Kids, Cultural Appropriation, & Identity

Kanchan Gautam and Julián Esteban Torres López discuss their experiences as Third Culture Kids, which then evolves into a conversation about cultural appropriation. Kanchan Gautam is a novice birdwatcher, myco-enthusiast, and amateur naturalist. She is proud of her Nepali heritage and she spends time exploring identity and cultural narrative in Oakland, occupied Ohlone territory. Musical Guest: Annah Sidigu. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 55 – Blended Future Project

Blended Future Project is creating a new cultural identity where multiracial and multiethnic people are understood and free to develop and collaborate their own unique culture(s). It actively unites multiracial and multiethnic people and integrates them fluidly into the cultural communities of all other racial and ethnic groups. Julián speaks with the leaders of the Blended Future Project, Maris Lidaka and Beth Chin, to further understand this movement, as well as hear about their own mixed-identity journeys. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 54 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 2

How can we reimagine school systems to fit the concerns of students in the 21st century? Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick, who are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School, teach us about democratic education. The Pearl is a personally relevant and student-centered educational experience. Students benefit from being part of a dynamic international learning community while being supported by mentors, educators, and professionals. The Pearl’s students are prepared for whatever life they choose. Musical guest: San Palo. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 53 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 1

On today’s episode, we speak with Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick to identify the pain points of our education system, and to explore how we can deconstruct and rebuild it anew. They are the co-authors of the book YOU are the Revolution! Education that Empowers your Black Child and Strengthens your Family, and also are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School. Musical Guest: Jinnat. […]

Interviews

Episode 52 – Inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio, Part 2

On today’s episode, we re-enter the Afro-Latino Actors Studio with Carlos Carrasco: actor, filmmaker, and director of the Panamanian International Film Festival. We examine the heart of art, how the sounds of things carry the emotions of things, we deconstruct language into its most fundamental pieces, explore how art is a process of selection, and much more. Musical Guest: Chromic. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 51 – Colombia * Anti-Uribista

Go on social media and type the hashtag #AntiUribista and you will find photos of cities in Colombia declaring themselves Anti-Uribistas as they resist state violence. Today, I cover the eight years Álvaro Uribe was president of Colombia, from 2002 to 2010, give you a thorough overview into the many reasons behind the current Anti-Uribismo movement, and glimpse into the United States’s love affair with Uribe, along with its role in Colombia’s militarized state since the turn of the century. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 50 – Inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio, Part 1

Let’s go inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio with Carlos Carrasco: actor, filmmaker, and director of the Panamanian International Film Festival. Carrasco will take the lead on stage, then give us the VIP tour backstage, behind the curtains, where we glimpse into what it is like to be an immigrant Afro-Latino in acting in the US, and how this experience has impacted his identity and drove him to also dedicate his time to social impact causes for Latin actors, theatre, and film. Musical Guest: Tre. Charles. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 49 – Colombia’s Historical Lack of Hegemony and Institutionalized Violence

Colombia’s history has the following pattern: people are massacred or enslaved, displaced, the land is freed, and the élite, foreign powers, and multi-national corporations come in to exploit the land and the labor force. What is going on today, during the Great Colombian Uprising of 2021, is an extension of this history. Since April 28, the Colombian government has been killing, torturing, disappearing, and sexually assaulting Colombian people on the streets throughout the country. Please don’t look away. […]

BIPOC Music Series

Episode 48 – BIPOC Musical Artists Showcase

Listen to our first musical compilation album, entitled Volume 1: Petrichor. The works contained in this volume—from mournful piano compositions, dazzling spoken word, spellbinding vocal layered-songs, to beautiful instrumentals—express the intricacies of being an artist of color in a too-often indifferent world. Artists: San Palo, Whitney & The Saying Goes, Stephanie Henry, Tony Tennyson, whenthecitysleeps, Chromic, Beezy Montana, Mallika Vie, Annah Sidigu, Eki Shola, Samantha Pearl, and Jinnat. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 47 – The Nasiona’s Earth Day Manifesto

Julián Esteban Torres López lays out The Nasiona’s Earth Day Manifesto: “We are standing on a fault line. We’re at what can become a historic crossroad and turning point, or simply a return to the status quo … a status quo that will only continue to degrade our planet and the vast majority of its inhabitants. Our soil is ready for a new harvest. Our seeds need to be watered.” […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 46 – ‘You Look Like a Terrorist’ & Other Racial Traumas, Part 2

Julián Esteban Torres López speaks with Dr. Parisa Mehran, founder of Women of Color in English Language Teaching. They discuss passport privilege and the barriers for international students. They also speak about obstacles to legal immigration, why POC international students may not finish university, share their own experiences of the impact of being called terrorists, and much more. Musical Guests: Aroe Phoenix & Mallika Vie. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 45 – Racism and Racial Trauma in English Language Teaching, Part 1

We speak with Dr. Parisa Mehran, founder of Women of Color in English Language Teaching (ELT), to explore how white supremacy is at the heart of ELT and how the industry functions as a racist propaganda machine. We discuss how native-speakerism and passport privilege can be forms of racism, and we shine a light on some of the detrimental consequences of racism in ELT, such as racial abuse and its effects on mental health. Musical guest: Stephanie Henry. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 44 – Design Thinking & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 2

Vanessa Weathers, Founder and Principal Consultant at Conscious Employee Experiences, joins us to explore design thinking and its relationship to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We discuss how marginalized folks may be better positioned for leadership roles.  We unpack questions, such as: What’s behind the claim “diversity is white genocide”? Where is power truly rooted in an organization? How can we design local politics to get the best results and to get people in the right roles? And much more. Musical guest: Samantha Pearl. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 43 – Design Thinking & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 1

Most environments are not designed to include and value everyone because they fail to center the concerns of those in the bottom rungs of our class and caste systems. I speak with Vanessa Weathers, Founder & Principal Consultant at Conscious Employee Experiences, to further explore design thinking and its relationship to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We critique the desire to build teams based on cultural fit, and we dissect the difference between managers and leaders. Musical guest: Mallika Vie. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 42 – The Philosopher of Authenticity: Fernando González (El filósofo de la autenticidad: Fernando González)

Given the centering of Euro and Anglo authors, thinkers, artists, etc., our education systems in the US and Canada are still forms of colonial assimilation and propaganda. In the spirit of decolonizing our education, we introduce you to Fernando González, the philosopher of authenticity. To learn more about one of Colombia’s most influential and controversial writers, we speak with Gustavo A. Restrepo Villa, executive director of Corporación Otraparte, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and amplifying Fernando González’s work. […]

Disability & Mental Health Series

Episode 41 – Intersecting Oppressions of Race, Disability, and Mental Health During COVID-19

As a Black-Filipino United Statesian man with multiple sclerosis, Joe Sparkman talks about the “Scarlet Letter” of his diagnosis, the challenges he has faced getting a job, interactions he has had with doctors, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted his life and mental health. This is a candid conversation about the realities and the insidious nature of intersecting systems of oppression in the United States. […]