Mashaal Hijazi starts out her talk on cultural identity by acknowledging the immense impact that immigration has had on the United States, and how the "ideal American citizen" can't be defined by features that one can physically see.
As a Muslim woman, Hijazi says that she began to experience a bit of an identity crisis after 9/11, when she and her family began to experience blatant discrimination and were even the victims of horrific hate crimes. Throughout her time in school, she started to accept the racist jokes and jabs that she endured, as she considered it a kind of rite of passage.
She continues her talk on cultural identity by considering how she began to deal with Islamophobia, and how her multicultural pride has helped her to hold onto her identity.
By considering the impacts of racism and the different reactions one can have to it, Hijazi prompts her audience to remember that the "ideal American" has nothing to do with race or religion, and that they should always be mindful of the impact that discriminatory words and actions have.