Cilantro Happens.

But the cilantroversy doesn’t make us angry, polarized sociopaths.

Raphael Louis Vitón
8 min readNov 13, 2020


I wanted to live in a more connected, less polarized world…so I studied cilantro.

Some of us Americans LOVE the taste of cilantro and some of us taste moldy stinkbug+rubber+garbage+gym foot+vile soap — some of us HATE it so, so hard.

23andME says our olfactory receptor OR6A2 gene causes our different perceptions of cilantro (and other aldehyde chemicals). The geneticists aren’t sure exactly why or when that gene flips towards tasty or towards the disgusting repulsion zone in 10–21% of us. The OR6A2 is not hereditary and not very predictable — it seems pretty random as far as I could discern from the research.

· 20% of identical twins don’t share the same perception of cilantro.

· 50% of fraternal twins don’t share the same perception of cilantro .

· I’m a twin and my older brother is also a twin. So these statistics made me curious. I did my own study — I polled three generations of my family…35% loved it; 50% hated it; 15% didn’t care either way.

These stats are interesting for about 5 seconds then most of us move on. No big deal. No drama.

Whether you already knew about the OR6A2 effect on perception or not, I bet none of you have ever posted a virtue-signaling “cilantro (GOOD) will save America” meme or “cilantrists are (BAD) ruining America” conspiracy theory.


We don’t seem to project moral judgment onto each other’s sensory perceptions about cilantro (sometimes referred to as coriander); we just accept that some of our family and friends’ perception hardware/software works the way it works. If even the genetically identical twins’ perception hardware/software works differently, we can’t expect the rest of us to see it the same way. Instead, we might even find it adorably peculiar and maybe even interesting — but rarely do we find this coriander confusion offensive. We don’t blame it on our loved one’s faulty morality. We don’t label each other as “sociopaths” based on the other’s perception. We don’t, in part, because we know the correlation isn’t accurate, intelligent or helpful (unless making…



Raphael Louis Vitón

BuildU; Learning & Development; Cultural Intelligence; Leadership — CoAuthor of “Free the Idea Monkey…to focus on what matters most!” #iamaninnovationproject