Refugee Podcast

Back in November I had the privilege to be a part of Tyler’s refugee podcast in Midvale for Because He First Loved Us. Tyler does a Podcast with his friend Taft and for this specific episode they had a refugee family and their cousins come out to a church and be interviewed about their lives. There were six children there, three boys and three girls and the father of the boys. At first Tyler and Taft interviewed the father about what it has been like to be a refugee and be so involved with Because He First Loved Us. While they were doing that three of us students hung out with the kids, ate chips and learned about one another. I worked with two girls who had grown up around there in Midvale their whole lives and were born in the states. Both were very interested in basketball and we talked about that almost the entire time and talked about their favorite players and teams and how they want to play for college one day. 

At first I was kind of skeptical of how it was going to go and what they were going to think of three college kids babysitting them essentially but it wasn’t anything that I expected at all. The thing that I found most interesting about these two girls were how happy they were with life. Seriously they joked the whole time and just never had anything other than a positive outlook on everything. 

After they got interviewed and after the rest of the  kids did as well we played a game of egg roulette. Each kid took turns breaking eggs on themselves and the whole time they trashed talked one another about how they were going to get all messed up. They thought the smallest things were funny and how they had to wear garbage bags were funny. They have such a happy view of life and its awesome. 

Home Make Over Refugee Edition

Back in August without knowing I had volunteered with a religious leader to go and do a home renovation project for a refugee family in Salt Lake County. The people doing the work had paid for the family to go stay in a hotel for three weeks as their house was completely renovated inside and out. When I got there the first weekend they had already spent a couple of days during the week, taking appliances out of the home in preparation for the renovation. That morning I went in with a sledge hammer and started breaking down walls  and tearing up carpet. After a while it became too crowded inside their home because there were so many volunteers that I went outside and started to work on the yard. Much of their yard was uneven and didn’t have a sprinkler system in it which we later installed for them. Later we also helped them get a garden area started and ordered a few tons of dirt which was installed in the back corner of their yard. All of this took about 8 hours of our time and many of us had to leave for the day because there was still much more to be done. 

Another week had passed and I had the opportunity to go back and help again. This time a lot of work had been done since I was last there and I got the opportunity to help build them a small deck on their back patio. Volunteers for this religious organization again had pitched in their money and provided all of the wood with some donations added by I believe Home Depot and we built them their patio. Already the inside of the home was getting close to being done and I had a little opportunity to go help putty the dry wall. All this was new and again added by the volunteers and for sometime helped do that. 

I was not able to be there for the final week but apparantley they had bought the family all new furniture and appliances were donated from different groups and the home was completely redone inside and out. The final Saturday they brought the family home and the volunteers got to see their reaction to the change and for what I hear was one of the best things people had been a part of. 

Post 10

I’ve thought about this for a while but I think the thing that I learned most about this semester was from the Ted talk and research that I did. This information was about not avoiding our prejudice for other people and to approach them head on. Often we are taught in school and through older generations to avoid certain types of people or those with particular cultures but that is not the way the world works anymore. People are more accepting to other cultures then their own and we need to keep continuing that practice for future generations.  

I’ve also learned a lot about in-groups and out-group interactions and how we include more of the Out-groups and gain more friendships in our lives. Pretty much everything has been about inclusion and not pushing different groups/ people away from yourself. When we do include people it not only helps us to learn about other people’s culture but we can add to our own as well. 

Post 9

Personally I think violence is the biggest thing that is effecting our society today. Over the years we can see how many movies and video games come out that show a lot of violence in it with out consequence and we see that happening all the time. In the national news and all over the world there have been so many acts of terrorism and shootings that it has made our society a very negative and bad place. With more exposure to this stuff on the news, especially talking about all the negatives in the world and very little of the positives it just makes the perception of the world worse. Than this stuff happens more because its a normal thing.  

The guest speaker was awesome and i’m glad to have been able to see his presentation. I was unaware that mining happened within small African towns and that people pretty much dug up individuals land in order to gain more wealth. The way that they had to go about getting permission to do that was so interesting to me and it took weeks to get a decision. Though that is how their culture is and they took the necessary steps to get that approval. 

Ted Talk

TED Talk Research

 

            For centuries our great country of America has been at war, it has not been a war over land, money or resources but a war against each other because of our biases inside of us. The fight amongst other races hasn’t gone away like so many think it has but is still prevalent today and we can see that in the daily news. When we hold our biases inside and do not challenge those beliefs then we continue to fight and fear them forever. Rather than avoiding our biases, challenge them by understanding them through interaction.

            In a TED Talk titled “How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them” by Verna Myers, she mentions that “A racial bias survey discovered that 70% of white people prefer white people and 50% of blacks prefer white people. Because we automatically see a picture of a black man and it is logically connected to more negative one-word associations than with a white man.” Verna believes that society and school has taught us to believe this way and that our elderly have taught us this. That there needs to be a generation that stops this and teaches something much different.  

            An experiment was conducted about 10 years ago that tested participants split reaction decisions when flashed pictures of different races. These participants were placed in front of a computer program that simulated police officers on duty and their task was to fire their gun at anyone who they perceived as a threat. During the first trial most of the participants, no matter their race fired most at pictures of African American males. Some of these pictures were males holding books, groceries or sometimes a gun. No matter what was pictured, most participants shot more at these images compared to the Caucasian males. Additional trials were held after certain bias education courses and overtime the number of African American males decreased. Overall the experiment produced “troubling results and suggest that responses to criminal suspects may be biased by the race of the suspect. Such biases, if present among police officers, could lead to tragic outcomes” (Butz, 2005).

            Several generations may pass until society reaches a point where people are seen as equals, no matter what race or culture they belong to. The question to ask themselves now is what can I do now to overcome my individual biases? Some may say that we need to try and overlook culture and color and pretend that doesn’t exist. Others think that we should just be nice to those biases until we learn to love them. These may be solutions, but most experts would agree that people should “Stop trying to be a nice person and instead be a real person. Too often do we try and reprogram ourselves into not seeing color when that is not the problem. The issue is what we do when we see different color and how we behave” (Myers, 2014).

            Challenging our biases and truly changing our mindset must be tackled head on if any difference will be made. Verna believes that in order to truly take a stab at combating our biases we must “Move towards our biases, rather than simply avoiding them.” If people are biased against African Americans, just avoiding them on the street won’t change our mindset on what we think of them, only by approaching and having conversations do we begin to move past those negative ideas. Other research that has been done on the matter suggests that “by educating ourselves through confrontation and other methods can we effectively overcome our biases” (Crittle, 2017). 

Ideally the current information is exactly what is needed to start combating bias throughout American society. In order to further the progression in this battle, the rising generation will need to implement these practices to overcome their own biases and to educate surrounding generations. Ending the current biases means that “older generations need to be taught that these beliefs don’t have a place in today’s society anymore and that they are a thing of the past. While the rising generation matures they will not even know there is a difference between races unless they are taught to believe so” (Myers, 2014). When this begins to happen, biases will die off just like the generations do and soon after there will not be any race biases anymore and there will be a new problem that will need to be fixed but it will be solved together rather than apart.

Through these methods it seems quite possible to effectively eliminating any type of biases out there. Rather than making up a story about someone that we know nothing about, because that’s what a bias is, we figure out the story ourselves and get to know each other through conversation. Then we can look around us and expand our social circles to other cultures that are different from us.

Bias confrontation will be challenging and uncomfortable, but change does not happen if your content where you’re at. Individuals must be willing to help change those around them and correct bad behavior, but they must be willing to change it inside themselves first. Just as Verna states as the title of her speech, walk boldly towards those stereotypes and biases rather than avoiding them. People must also seek their own strategies when engaging others, “rather than just saying hi to these people, go deeper, get closer and further into building actual relationships with these stereotypes” (Myers, 2014). As society continues to combat this intercultural problem within each of us, together people can change cultures, stereotypes, change policies and programs and eventually change the world.

Breakfast for Refugees

Over the weekend I had the opportunity in volunteering for a Christmas fund raiser for refugees. This was put on by a BYU student couple who had recently seen and met three different refugee families, living in Salt Lake. These families are extremely poor and will not have much this Christmas and this self-made fundraiser was made for that cause. They began by posting fliers all around Orem and Provo explaining that they are hosting a breakfast/lunch in Nielson Park in Orem and people can either donate money or food and receive pancakes or biscuits and gravy. They placed the add on Facebook as well and eventually other people that were interested in coming posted it on twitter and Instagram. 

I began by arriving early for the event and helping the two couples set up the tables in the park. At that point they had already came prepared with the batter for the pancakes already made and ready to go. The biscuits and gravy was donated by Black Bear Diner after they had contacted them about the project they were doing. All the plates and utensils were also donated by Black Bear Diner and another local business. After all that was set up Tyler and I went around the surrounding area and placed signs directing people to where the event was being held. 

After people started showing up we helped serve some of the people and even made some pancakes for those in line. We talked with the people and had some of them text and call their friends to come support as well.  We also helped clean up the tables a little bit until we went and held signs on streets, trying to get more of a response by the community who had not seen the posts. Finally at the end we went back and helped them clean up the event and turns out that they had a way bigger crowd then what they had expected. Their overall goal was to raise $1300 for those families and instead raised about $2400 and got two boxes full of food donations. 

Something that I found interesting was how many people in the area honestly care about helping the refugees. Many people had mentioned that they didn’t have any intentions on coming out to this and instead were going to get breakfast somewhere else on a Saturday morning and saw our signs. They felt like that was a great way to help and stopped by and many even put in more money than what was asked. The ages varied inbetween early 60’s and even  18 year olds came out to support.  No matter what I have heard on the news I am grateful to see that people are always looking out for one another and are there to support others, even those who they have not met. With that couple that put on the even, they are young and probably don’t have much money being in college but they went out and are going to be able to make a special Christmas for 3 families that they barley know.

 

Post 8

I spoke with my old roommate and a  year ago he married a girl from the Philippines after a year of dating. At first it was very difficult for them because he  grew up in a family with not much family interaction and divorced parents, while she was very into spending time with her family. Since they lived by his family she made him spend a lot of time with them even though he wasn’t close with his father who lived close by. They have many different traditions and languages and just hard at times cooperate on those differences. 

That group was very brave for coming out and being very open with a group of strangers. They didn’t know who we were or how we were going to react but did present themselves in a respected manor. I thought about how hard it would be to be them in this society because people here can be very judgmental with their religious beliefs and they go against some of those beliefs and would have trouble with their families all the time.  

Privilege 2

The biggest thing that I thought about privilege this week was how hard it is for people to move up when they are in certain social and privilege classes.  Even though people may want or strive for a better way of live it can sometimes be hard to obtain those resources and its harder for them to move up. Its easy for those who are in the upper class to stay there because they are provided with the contacts, the wealth and things they need to succeed. Those who succeed in the lower classes do so by working hard for it and definitely harder than those higher up. 

For the activity I thought it was funny that since I was in the middle group I got middle coin values. When I would get a gold someone from the top group would want to trade me for it. They often offered one of the bottom two coin values for it. Obviously it wasn’t a good trade and I didn’t do it and they thought I was being rude at one point. But it was hard to trade up and get what they had the whole time. 

Post 6

I really enjoyed the group presentation this week on Monday. The main thing that I learned from that was from the activity at the end of class where people stepped forward and backwards for certain situations. I’m sure some people realized they had some privileges that they were not aware of before no matter how far across the room they got. I know that I didn’t think I was going to move very far because of my family situation but I got further than expected.  

It’s crazy to me that people that can grow up in the same country around the same time have such different lives. Some people have different advantages than others and yet what can people can do to change some of these disadvantages or privileges to make it more equal across the country. I learned about making things more accessible or affordable in some areas and that could be a big difference. Such as making internet easily accessible for those areas that don’t have it can eventually change how people can receive knowledge or even do their homework. That’s something the country can maybe focus on rather than net neutrality and other things happening in the government. 

Post 5

I never realized how privilege affects me honestly until just recently. I have never had to really think about certain places to go because of what I look like or where my water supply or food is coming from. I have always just had access to certain things in my life. More times than not I do have positive experiences with the privileges that I have than negatives. There are times that I have had negative privileges because of what I have looked like either because of the color of my skin or my size and it does happen. I know people have come a long way but I still wish it were to make advance and everyone would receive the same things no matter the color of skin or size. 

Patience taught me a lot about South Africa and what it’s history has been like and how its has made some strides since the past but the people there still have struggles that we saw in our country’s past. There is still segregation there and the white population does use most of the resources in that country while only being 12% of the total population. Natives are still treated poorly even in their own land which shouldn’t be the case. He even talked about some of the prejudices he has received here in the States and he still has a pretty optimistic sight on life. People like him are how the world changes for the better and he will influence many people. Because he already is an influence to me in that one encounter I had with him.