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Empowerment | Understanding Culture and Developing Your Identity

Understanding Culture and Developing Your Identity

Chelsey See Xiong

Session Detail

This session focuses on the roles that culture and heritage play in developing the identity of people in diaspora, with a emphasis on growing up Asian in America. The session will highlight the Hmongstory 40 Exhibit as an example of how art is utilize to education youth of diaspora communities to understand and appreciate their heritage, history, and ethnic identity.

This is storytelling of my journey to understand more about my Hmong culture and how learning about my culture have impacted the way I think about myself and my people. Understanding one’s ethnic culture involving history and heritage plays a role in the acceptance of ethnic culture and the role it plays in shaping identity. This journey is one that many Asian American growing up in traditional homes, especially refugee children, growing up in very different and socio-economic situations, with influences from many external places. But taking the first step to education oneself about culture, history, and heritage is difficult. However, my journey involved working on a historical art exhibit that gave me the opportunity to research, interview and write the narratives that show me how enriching my culture is.

Takeaway Points

  1. Developing your identity and being able to explain who you are, and to be comfortable talking about the culture that you come from, takes time but the journey is a learning process that will fill your life with so much knowledge and acceptance toward your culture.
  2. Learning about your ethnic culture is important to learning about the factors that contribute to you becoming the person that you are today or the person you should be.
  3. Understanding your cultural customs, beliefs and traditions bring into awareness the rich heritage that you have.
Chelsey See Xiong

Speaker Bio

My name is Chelsey See. I was born in a refugee camp in northern Thailand and resettled in California at the age of 5. I am a graduate student pursuing studies in academia and student development. I am a freelance writer with a focus on Asian American narratives. I am exploring topics in the fields of culture and community, particularly the intersections of cultures and how the intersections affect our identity, work, social and political choices.