Post 9

Popular media has a huge influence on our day. I see this every single day. I can see it in the way people dress. Kanye West has had a crazy impact on the culture in our day. His shoes “Yeezys” are the hottest shoes on the market and people go wild for some adidas Yeezys. I see a lot of people that have power have a lot of influence on the younger generation. I think that the younger people look up to celebrities and want to try and emulate them. I think that music has a big impact as well. You can see artists like Migos and Kodak Black have an impact on the culture. I think that it just comes down to the power that these celebrities have. They are going to influence whether it is for good or for bad. 

I thought that the guest speaker was really interesting. I was intrigued by his story. Never would I ever think that I would go to Africa and start to mine for gold. I thought that he provided some good insights about his experience with the culture in Africa. In order to do business there he needed to understand the culture and be able to operate adequately. There is definitely a difference between learning a culture from a book or from talking to other people, and actually being immersed in the culture yourself. 

TED Talk

In a talk given by Luma Mufleh titled, “Don’t feel sorry for refugees-believe in them”, she recalls from her experience as a refugee and her efforts in working with refugees in the United States. Luma Mufleh is an Arab and a Muslim. She founded an all-refugee school where the children refer to her as “coach”. She stated that there are 65.3 million people forcibly removed from their homes due to war persecution. 11 million of these people are from Syria alone. Over 30,000 people flee their homes daily. The rest of the bunch, remain in refugee camps where conditions are far from humane. We have seen the highest number of refugees in the world since World War 2.

Lumah states in her TED Talk, “In the last two years, we have seen an escalating anti-refugee sentiment. It’s global. The numbers continue to grow because we do nothing to prevent it and nothing to stop it.” The issue that we are facing is that it is becoming more and more difficult for refugees to come to the United States. The 0.1 percent that are lucky enough to make it in to the US are still treated as outsiders and misfits. Lumah references several experiences of hers and those that she has worked with to illustrate the brutal circumstances of refugee families all over the world. There is no refuting that there is a global refugee crisis in the world we live in. Thousands of people every day are fighting for a better life. There are some things that we can do to help. First, we can educate ourselves on the issue and be aware of the things that are going on in the world. It might seem like you only hear about this stuff in movies, but this is real life for so many people. Being able to be aware of the problem will help people try to empathize and support those who are actually living this.

The first article that I observed was titled, “The Global Refugee Crisis: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications for Improving Public Attitudes and Facilitating Refugee Resettlement.” This article discusses the crisis at hand and some possible ways that we are going to help refugees in their effort to create a new life. This article suggests that the process “requires relatively favorable attitudes by members of host societies, protection of the well-being of refugees, and effective integration of refugees into new host countries” (p. 78, Esses, 2017). Coming up with a solution is no easy task. “While for many refugees a preferred solution may be to return to their home country with the restoration of safe conditions, this may not be possible due to continued conflict, political instability, insecurity, loss of livelihood, and difficulty reclaiming land and property” (p. 80, Esses, 2017). It is our job to make sure that these refugees are seen as humans, as Lumah suggests in her TED talk. We need not to feel bad for refugees, we need to believe in them and give them an opportunity to create a life for themselves and their families.

The second article that I found was titled, “Help Refugees Help Themselves, Let Displaced Syrians Join the Labor Market.” There are a lot of components to the refugee crisis. Many things are to be considered when dealing with host lands and their willingness to cooperate. This article states that “An effective refugee policy should improve the lives of the refugees in the short term and the prospects of the region in the long term, and it should also serve the economic and security interests of the host states”(p. 85, Betts, Collier, 2015). One way that we can help the refugees is to allow them to work. Many Syrian refugees already have industrial skills and are well educated. These people have a lot to offer and are chomping at the bit for an opportunity to provide for their families. Lumah recalls her first job after she graduated from college. She was well educated and ready for a managerial position. She ended up working for a restaurant washing dishes, and working the stove. She says in her talk, “I was humbled; I was shown the value of hard work. But most importantly, I felt valued and embraced.” A great way to help is to allow these people to help themselves. They are ready and capable to work and provide.

In conclusion, there are many things that we can do to help refugees. We can help them by being educated on the issue and not ignorant to what is going on in real life. Getting out of your comfort zone and spending real time with people, listening to their stories, can motivate people to want to make a change. Another way that we can help, is the let them help themselves. We do not need to feel bad for them as Lumah says over and over. Our job is to support them and to provide opportunities for them to work hard. There are more refugees in the world today than any other time, but there are also more opportunities for people to reach out and do something to help make a change for the future.

References

Esses, V. M., Hamilton, L. K., & Gaucher, D. (2017). The Global Refugee Crisis: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications for Improving Public Attitudes and Facilitating Refugee Resettlement. Social Issues and Policy Review, 11(1), 78-123. doi:10.1111/sipr.12028

Betts, A., & Collier, P. (2017). Refuge: rethinking refugee policy in a changing world. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Lumah Mufleh “Don’t feel sorry for refugees-believe in them”

Bell Hooks

I was able to attend Bell Hooks appearance at UVU. It was a different experience for me and something that I had never been a part of before. Bell is an african-american woman that is very feminist. She was confident about what she believed in and was not shy about sharing her views. I was disappointed in some of the things she said when she stated that “white people think black people smell, but they kiss their dog after they lick their own shit.” I thought that was pretty uncalled for and made me kind of tune out the rest of the things that she was saying. I think that she could have presented her ideas in more of a conducive way instead of doing the exact thing that she was accusing white people of doing and being. Overall, it was a good experience to hear from someone that is completely different that myself and I am glad that I was able to attend. 

Post 8

I enjoyed having the guest speakers from the LGBTQ community. I was surprised at their willingness to be open and vulnerable. At first, things were pretty uncomfortable. They were asking questions to the audience that I am not sure I knew how to answer so I just kind of looked down and played on my phone. As they started to introduce themselves and share their stories, I became more interested. It was cool to hear from them and what they have been through that has brought them to this point. I respect them for their decision and bravery. I think that alot of times people get caught up in being right and wrong. Even though you might not agree with someone, it is important to appreciate them and listen to what they are saying. That is the biggest thing that I got out of this discussion. I might not agree or understand, but I can support them for being a human like me and try to help them feel comfortable in their skin. I think that I take for granted that I have never really had to question my sexuality or gender orientation. It was cool to hear their stories and struggles and makes me want to be more open to things that are different from my experiences. That doesn’t mean  that I am going to start doing whatever they are, but that I am open and supportive and willing to help others around me. 

Lion

I decided to watch the movie Lion for one of my posts. I have heard a lot of good things about the movie and I was sort of familiar with the story but not really. I am not much of a movie person but the movie was recommended by several of my good friends so I decided this was a great opportunity to watch it. To start off, I was really confused. The first thirty minutes or so are in a different language. I kept waiting for something that I could understand or wondering if there was ever going to be any speaking. I think that this allowed me to really analyze what was going on. Saroo, a young boy in the streets of Kandwha was out working with his brother trying to find some coins underneath the train tracks when he was separated from his brother. He ended up getting stuck on a train and traveled thousands of miles across India to Calcutta. He was a 5 year old boy that was uneducated. The only words he knew were his mom and brothers name. When he got off the train he had nowhere to go. After escaping child slavery he was picked up by a home and eventually adopted by a couple from Australia. He grew up from that time on in Australia with his new parents and new life. By the time he got to college he wanted to know where he came from and where his family was. He remembers being lost on the train tracks and a few specific landmarks. He was able to use the technology of google earth to trace his journey back to the small village in Kandwha where he was raised. Over 20 years later after being lost on the train, he made his way back to his village to find his mom still there. Unfortunately, his brother passed away the night that he went missing. This story was inspirational and really touched me. Saroo never forgot where he came from and he never gave up hope. His whole life he was searching for what made him and what that was is home. I would recommend this movie to anyone that wants to feel inspired. 

Privilege

We have been talking about privilege for a couple weeks now. I am beginning to understand more and more each day about what exactly privilege is. I have been able to recognize privilege in my own life and I have tried to be more conscious of them in my every day life.

The game that we played on Monday was a great example of how privilege operates in the world. I was lucky enough to draw 5 good coins and I was put in to the top group from the first round. I did not really know what was going on with the game and what Janet was trying to get us to see. Once we started to go more rounds I started to take note of what was taking place. The people that were at the bottom stayed at the bottom and the richer only got richer. Janet allowed us to make our own rules for the next round and we made rules that only benefitted us. I noticed that I didn’t even bother talking to the people that were below me because I felt like they had nothing to offer me. As I reflect on this activity, I can see how it applies to the world. Often times the economic class that you are born into, is the same economic class that you will remain in for the rest of your life. I want to be able to recognize this in my life and try to help the people that are around me regardless of where they come from or if they have something that benefits me or not. 

Event #1

My friend served an LDS mission in El Salvador. He wanted to take me to get a taste of authentic El Salvadorian food. We went to a restaurant in Provo that apparently has the best pupusas in town. I was hesitant to try the food because I have a sensitive stomach and I don’t usually venture out of my comfort zone. I let my friend order for me because I couldn’t read the menu and I guess I trusted him enough. My friend was pumped that I went with him and I could tell that he really wanted me to like the food. He explained that pupusas are what everyone eats in El Salvador. It is basically fried dough stuffed with different meats, cheeses, and beans. They also bring out a bowl of spicy cabbage to put on top of the pupusa. I actually really enjoyed my food and was excited that I decided to branch out. 

Post 6

The in class activity that we did was really eye opening to me. I had been starting to get a better grasp on what privilege was and this activity helped me realize the privileges that I enjoy in my life. I had seen videos online of the privilege walk online and I was excited and nervous to see how it would apply to me. During the activity I felt myself feeling a lot of different emotions. I felt grateful for all of the privileges that I am blessed with but at the same time I felt embarrassed and guilty. Every step that I took forward I wanted to be able to bring the person next to me with me. It was a great experience for me to see and understand what privileges that I do have and how I can better use them in my life. On the same token, I want to be able to help the other people around me and provide opportunities for everyone to be successful.

Another thing that stuck out to me this week was the group presentation on Wednesday. We discussed some ways that people can not see people for their race and appearance. It is important that we understand race and different cultures because that is how we can progress in our relationships. The video about the guy asking the asian woman where she was from sparked some good discussion in class. I don’t believe people when they say “I don’t see color.” Everyone sees race and color but it is how we treat those and appreciate their experiences that can help us connect with each other. 

Post 5

Whenever I hear the word privilege I think of my mom and my experiences growing up. Whenever I would get in trouble at school or home my mom would say that I was going to lose my “privileges”. I always hated when she said that because I had no idea what she meant. Why couldn’t she just say “you are going to get in trouble”. Looking back, I now kind of understand what my mom was doing when she said that. Privileges are special rights that people are granted. I have never really thought about my life and the privileges that I enjoy. The activity that we did in class really gave me an understanding of privilege and the many privileges that I have. I was looking around the room seeing how many paper clips that my class mates had and I am pretty sure that I was close to having the most. I felt embarrassed almost that I had all of them, even though it is not necessarily a bad thing. I just felt like I was ungrateful and oblivious to all of the many things that I take for granted every day. 

I enjoyed hearing from Patience on Friday. He had a unique perspective and some hands on experience with privilege. He discussed the apartheid and the racism and discrimination that came along with it. It was amazing to hear from him and I was inspired by his resiliency. He talked about his experiences in Utah and how it has been for him being a black male. He brought us one instance when he was at a bar in Provo where he was kicked out for being black. He reached out to law enforcement but there was no one there to help him. I agree with him when he said that there are some people that are still racist, but it is disguised and institutionalized. I came away from this speech with a better perspective on privilege and an appreciation for the things that I have and a desire to help others around me.  

For The Culture

Everyone in this world is different. We all come from different backgrounds and no two people are the same. There is great diversity and that is part of what makes this world so great. I have never really thought about my own cultural background until I took this class. I have never thought about why I think the things that I do and why I behave the way I do. It can all be traced back to our cultural assumptions, socialization processes, and behaviors. These ideas are a combination of our upbringing, social class, race, religion etc. There is a reason that a lot of people think different and it is because we are all not raised the same way and we do not have the same cultural background. I am going to culturally assess myself today. 

I would describe myself as a male, middle class, and white (s/0 to Ben Folds Rockin’ The Suburbs).  I was born in Gilbert, Arizona and I lived there until I moved to Utah for college. I am the second of 4 children. Gilbert is a large town these days, but it has been growing tremendously as I was being raised. I was raised in an LDS family that attended church every Sunday and spent a lot of time as a family. We are a close group and love to spend time with one another. In the church, I had a lot of friends that were just like me. We were white mormon kids with big families that loved to play sports. It was easy to get along with the kids at church because we had a lot in common with one another. I thought that all kids were like us because that is all I knew. We were taught the same things at church and in our families so I assumed that it must be like that with everyone. Arizona is a border state with Mexico so there are a lot of hispanic people that live there. I went to a public school in a nice area but the boundaries extended into some of the not so nice areas of the neighborhood so I was able to come into contact with kids that were different than me. I remember one time there was a kid named Kenny that I would play basketball with at recess every day and one day he said that he couldn’t play because his feet were hurting him. Turns out his shoes were 2 sizes too small and his feet were in a lot of pain. I decided that I was going to bring him a pair of my basketball shoes to school so that we could keep playing basketball together. For the most part though I spent time with the kids that I was most similar to. I felt the most comfortable with them and it was easy to get along. 

Like I said, I would consider myself male, middle class, and white. Growing up playing basketball really exposed my family and I to different cultures and backgrounds. I was a good basketball player and often times the good basketball was in the greater Phoenix area. This is a rougher part of Arizona but it is where the good players played. A lot of the teams that I played against come from lower class African-American families. My team was able to afford uniforms and traveling around the state to play, but that was not the case for all of the kids my age. To be honest, as a kid going to Phoenix for a tournament I was terrified. The gyms were not very nice and I remember several times hearing gun shots outside. I remember some of the parents of the opposing players being very loud and they would yell at the refs and us during games. I was a young kid playing basketball and I did not know what to think or say. It would get pretty competitive and a lot of times we would grow rivalries with these teams that we would see at every tournament. These groups were obviously way different then what I was used to at the time, but looking back I can see a lot of similarities too. There were kids that loved the game of basketball just like me. Their families would go to their games to support them just like mine did. Although we didn’t have the same financial circumstances, we were more similar than I recognized at the time. Another thing that I have dealt with a lot in my life from playing basketball is the perception that white people are slow and unathletic. Or the argument that African Americans are good at basketball because they can run and jump better than everyone else. I have learned this to be false from my experiences. They may have more athletic tendencies but that does not make them any better of a basketball player. They still have to work on their game and skills the same way that I would in order to be a better player. 

In regards to the two groups that I previously mentioned, lower class and African American, I think that I got my knowledge from my experiences with interacting with them. Like I said before, my basketball experience has helped me have a lot of experience with these two groups. I think the biggest teacher for me has been actually being involved with them and learning from them. I have had teammates over the years that I have become very close to and they have helped me understand their perspective a lot more. I will admit that when you are taught by someone else or anything other than hands on experience your ideas can be a lot different. I like to think that you don’t actually know someone until you spend significant time with them to understand why and what they think. There are a lot of outside influences that want to tell you what to think about certain groups of people. The media plays a huge part in our day today. I would guess that a lot of people get their perceptions from what they hear in the media and often times those are swayed a certain direction. I think that especially in today’s world it is important to know for yourself and not be easily swayed by the media. The best way to do that is to get out there and experience it first hand. If a certain individual of race and socio-economic class does something to harm you, then you can draw a conclusion about that certain person. The part where you get yourself in trouble is when you conclude that if that person did something to you, then all people who are like that person must be the same exact way. 

In conclusion I think that it is important to be aware of the perceptions that we have toward others. This assignment has helped me open my eyes to my own perceptions. Our race, gender, socio-economic class, religion, ethnicity, or whatever do not determine who we are. It is all about the people that we are and the way that we can share love with those around us. This is something that I want to be better at: seeing people for who they truly are, not what they do or what they look like. If I can eliminate that judgement out of my life I think that it will help me understand those around me a lot more. I also want to get out and experience more diversity and get to know more cultures and people. I would say that I know African Americans from playing basketball my whole life, I know whites from being white, and hispanics from being raised in Arizona. I think there is so much that we can learn from one another and we are all so unique so that we can share that with those around us. Also, I want to be more open and accepting with the way that I am. I want to be confident in the way that I was brought up and be able to share what I have experienced in my life instead of trying to make it seem like I am the same as everyone else. Because in reality, nobody is the same and that is why we all can learn so much from each other. My story and background can help the guy next to me learn more just like I hope that he can do for me too.