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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 40: Mobs, Insurrections, & the Radicalized

In the US, we’ve been radicalized to assume ourselves as great, at our detriment. Our superiority complex will be our downfall if we do not course-correct immediately. A turbulent future is here and on the horizon. The intensity of that turbulence will depend on how we prepare and act today. On today’s episode, I share an editorial I wrote following the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol, and play an audio story that takes you through the different turbulences and warnings of the 20th century. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 39 – Kwatsáan: Ancestral Land, Myths, & Reparations

Deborah Taffa, a citizen of the Quechan (Yuma Indian) Nation, shares two personal essays. In Act 1, she tells the story of a Native woman who leaves her ancestral land and lands in Missouri, where a disappearing lake and the confusion of a binational marriage force her to examine the relationship between motherhood and community. In Act 2, she speaks of a daughter’s familial connections to the land. As she leaves her mother’s hospital bed, Taffa reflects on healing and prayer, her tribal myths, and the injustice of tourism in her homeland. […]

Columns

The Right Wing May Have Lit the Fire, but the Left Wing May Dig the Grave

In the US, we’ve been radicalized to assume ourselves as great, at the detriment of ourselves, our country, and the world. Our collective arrogance, self-absorption, and superiority complex will be our downfall if we do not course-correct immediately. A turbulent future is here and on the horizon. The intensity of that turbulence will depend on how we prepare and act today.  […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 34: Incarceration and Prison Abolition, Part 1

Do prisons get rid of social problems, or do they create a lot of them? Should we abolish the prison system? What are the biggest barriers to prison abolition? What should people know about the prison system that most do not know? This is part 1 of a 2-part interview where I speak with Ra Avis to get a glimpse into incarceration and prison abolition. Ra Avis is a once-upon-a-time inmate, a reluctantly-optimistic widow, and a generational storyteller. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

10 Books for Cosmic Flying, Clarity, and Revelations from Victory & Noble

Books inspire and teach. The best give us a detailed roadmap to our highest selves. Some are political. Others are motivational. Others still, healing, funny, or mystical. All are about freedom of the spirit, the beauty of living as a soul, or the journey of life day by day, millennium after millennium. So, really, our book selections are our close friends and mentors who have helped us to develop into our best selves. We welcome you to our circle of close dynamic friends — a timeless mastermind forum. If you have a magic bag, a cherished bookshelf, or a favorite space for your most potent spells that’s where these sacred texts belong. In the human spirit (oftentimes spirit work by the authors themselves) but also within the symphony of our shared humanity.   […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 31: Global International African Arts Movement, Part 2

In the second episode of our 2-part conversation, Tori Reid and Patrick A. Howell of Victory & Noble continue to unpack what it means to be a prophet in the Global International African Arts Movement, as well as what it means to be an evangelist, a seer, and a manifester; they open up about their most memorable conversations with cultural icons and how these conversations transformed them; they challenge the Hollywood industrial complex and push forward to reclaim our voices and tell our own stories. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 30: Global International African Arts Movement, Part 1

Julián Esteban Torres López speaks with the two complementing spirits behind Victory & Noble, a storytelling company. In this 2-part conversation, Tori Reid and Patrick A. Howell reveal their legacy project, and their energy and determination are sure to inspire, educate, and transform. They both move us forward with a critical optimism rooted in both the real struggles of our past and our present, but also a futurism grounded in the belief that we have the power to harvest a tomorrow that is brighter than today. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 29: Protesting the Publishing Industry’s White Gaze

In the previous episode, Lisa D. Gray, founder of Our Voices Our Stories SF, joined Julián Esteban Torres López to interrogate the publishing industry’s white gaze. In today’s episode, they discuss how we can protest the industry, and other institutions, and how we can gain power and find power in our everyday lives to dismantle and rebuild the world anew, even when under the yoke of systems of oppression like racism.  […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 28: Interrogating the Publishing Industry’s White Gaze

Lisa D. Gray, founder of Our Voices Our Stories SF, joins Julián Esteban Torres López to interrogate the white gaze of the publishing industry. They challenge its myths about Black and brown communities; call out its performative allyship; expose its diversity, equity, and inclusion problem; and hold it accountable. They also center, elevate, and amplify Black and other People of Color writers, especially women. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Black Books Matter

As we find ways to impact diversity and equity in publishing and writing and disrupt its “old boy” culture, one critical thing we can all do is buy and read books written by Black and other people of color. This list provides a starting point. It’s for readers searching for themselves on the page and ones who never encountered or meaningfully engaged with someone who doesn’t look like them or share their ethnic/cultural norms and values. These tomes, written by women of color, are ones that you need to read like yesterday. These books and the women who wrote them dare to push for space and give voice to the lives of Black and brown women on the page. Buy one today. […]