Post 9

Popular media has such a tight grip on our nation it isn’t even funny. The fact that we are all aware of the “fake news” that is out there, but still give it the time of day, is a solid example of this. I know quite a few people that will see a post and immediately believe it to be factual without ever checking its sources. Many of us rely on social media as a primary source of news now days. There seems to be a new viral video, a new hashtag, or some new dance move created on a weekly basis. For the following week everybody on your feed will seem to post something about it. It also seems like our nation clings to every word that our president posts on social media whether they love it or hate it, it could easy be a conversation piece. 

Snapchat is a form of social media that I have seen take hold of people’s lives without them noticing. I have friends that live behind the filters that snapchat has to offer. They can’t go anywhere without documenting it on their snapchat story. I don’t see how it doesn’t take away from their experience in the moment but that is their call not mine. 

The guest speaker was quite interesting to me because I had no clue people still were out searching for buried treasure. But seriously I wasn’t aware that people like me and you could get into the gold mining business as easy as he did. I thought that was done away with years ago. Aside from that it was really cool to hear the differences in culture and how he had to adapt to working with tribal chiefs. His stories of adapting to a different culture were pretty eye opening especially since he was from Utah, it really made me put myself in his shoes and evaluate how well I would be able to adapt. 

TEDtalk Paper

When searching for a topic that I wanted to learn more about for this assignment I was browsing through the different TEDTalk’s and not much was really calling my name. I decided to listen to a couple different talks and David Miliband’s hit me to the core. His TEDTalk was titled The Refugee Crisis is a Test of our Character. I’m not sure his thoughts would have affected me so much if I hadn’t had the experience of working with some of the refugees with Because He First Loved Us. After attending Lagoon with these young refugee children, I had asked myself the question “why don’t I do more to help refugee’s” and “why don’t more people help refugees.” These questions have stuck with me ever since that day. I had such an enjoyable experience with these children and it was beyond rewarding. So why is it so difficult to make the time to do it again. David’s thoughts combined with some of the research I have found helped shed some light on the matter for me and I aim to share some of what I learned in my following thoughts.

            David Miliband is President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs in 28 United States cities. In David’s TEDtalk he focuses on how the decision to help refugees is a moral decision and a test of our character. As a descendant of refugee’s, like a lot of us here in America, David has a passion for assisting refugees. He does his best to relate to each one of us by putting into perspective what we as humans have a responsibility to do to help refugees. He states “Ignorance isn’t a choice because we can see what is happening all over the world from our phones.” There are many of us in the world who, like me, that just choose to look the other way when It comes to assisting refugees. With excuses such as “I’m too busy, too poor, or don’t know how to help,” David no longer lets us off the hook as he gives us each examples of how we can help. In his words he says “If you are an employer higher refugees, if you are persuaded by arguments take on the myths when family or friends repeat them, if you’ve got money donate it to charities, if you are a citizen vote for politicians who will put into practice the actions that have been spoken about in this talk.” Essentially the message that he is trying to send in that statement is that no matter what our calling in life is, we can find ways to help refugees in our own individual capacities. No matter what “hat” we wear in society, if we look for opportunities to serve instead of hiding behind complacency, we will find those opportunities we are seeking.

            The first research article I was able to find that assisted in my understanding of this topic was “Justice, Morality, and the Dehumanization of Refugees” by Victoria M. Esses, Scott Veenvliet, Gordon Hodson, and Ljiljana Mihic. This article really helped put into perspective the reason why a good amount of people don’t assist refugees. According to their findings, this article explains how dehumanization is a big reason why people don’t act and help as much as they should with refugees. They conducted a few surveys along with other studies that asked questions such as: “how do you think refugees raise their children?” and “how do you think refugees came to this country?” Through these studies and questions they found that we as people tend to dehumanize refugees.

            In my second research article, “A Human Rights Based Approach to Refugees: A Look at the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Responses from Germany and The United States,” it touches on some of the moral approaches that we tend to take when deciding whether to assist refugees. In this study it breaks down our moral responsibilities into three categories the “Good Samaritan,” the duty to protect, and the duty of political responsibility. The “Good Samaritan” reasoning says that if a state’s own well-being could be compromised in helping non-citizens, such as through national security concerns or through economic burdens, then it is reasonable for states to evade helping non-citizens. The duty to protect says “how many people must die, how many refugees must flee, how many years must people suffer, before the world takes notice?” The duty of political responsibility basically says that if we had a hand in causing the refugees to flee by war or any other means toward their country then we have the obligation to help fix what we caused. In each of these “responsibilities” toward refugees there is a flaw if you ask me, which is why I decided to side with David Miliband.  

I stand with David’s statements from his TEDtalk that we need to take a moral approach to assisting refugee’s. In it he refers to the story of his Jewish ancestors and how they were saved by a German man during the Nazi times. He later was able to meet the man that saved his family by taking them in. He was able to ask him why he took them in and the man’s response was a simple shrug of the shoulders and the statement, “one must.” David used this statement to drive the point home that this was innate in him, it was a natural response to refugees. He went on to say that we need to make it so that our innate actions toward refugees is to help and to be considerate. It shouldn’t be a question of “if” we can help but “how” can we help.

 

References

 Miliband, D. (n.d.). The refugee crisis is a test of our character. Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/david_miliband_the_refugee_crisis_is_a_test_of_our_character

 

 Esses, V. M., Veenvliet, S., Hodson, G., & Mihic, L. (2008). Justice, Morality, and the Dehumanization of Refugees. Social Justice Research, 21(1), 4-25. doi:10.1007/s11211-007-0058-4

 

 Ostrand, N. (2015). The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Comparison of Responses by Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 3(3), 255-279. doi:10.14240/jmhs.v3i3.51

 

Post #8

Todays class consisted of the LGBTQ group from campus coming to speak to us. It was really interesting hearing each of the presenters from the panel tell us about their coming out story. Each was so different since they had such different backgrounds. Some of them hadn’t even fully come out yet since their parents weren’t quite accepting of it. I was surprised to learn that there were other sexual orientations outside of Lesbian Gay and  Bisexual. It was interesting to hear parker speak about being Pansexual where he is attracted to peoples personalities and not genders. He also  talked about how he is demisexual, which is where he only gains a sexual attraction to someone after he gains an emotional relationship first. 

The whole discussion seemed very open to interpretation depending on who you spoke to. There were many instances that when we as a class would ask a question looking for a specific answer, each presenter would have their own different opinion on the matter. For example, each person on the panel had different words that they were not ok with hearing (like gay, queer, or faget) but others on the panel preferred to be referred to with these titles. Overall I came away a little confused about a lot of it but my eyes were opened to the ambiguity of genders and sexual orientation that people prefer. 

Post #7

My views on privilege have changed quite a bit since we have started talking about it in class. At first I thought privilege was what those who were down on their luck or had the “poor me” mentality would use as a cop out. My views have completely changed to the opposite view that those who have privilege are the ones’ who don’t really believe that privilege exists. 

The activity we did on Monday really solidified some of my beliefs about privilege. It was interesting to hear what some of the people who ended up with the least amount of coins and how they continued to get poorer as we kept getting more coins. Some of the people from this lower bracket said they felt like there was no reason to try anymore since the rich group had all of the gold coins and there wasn’t any way for them to get much richer. In the activity the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Even when the rich had the option to make rules that would help everyone they made rules to help just themselves. Kind of like in our society how the rich make rules/laws with the power that they have and they continue to be rich and the poor remain poor as well. 

 

After spending a few weeks talking about privilege, have your ideas changed from the beginning of the discussion and why or why not? Write something specific about the activity we had on Monday. Tag your post to colvincomm319g, copy the URL and paste it here to canvas to be graded.

Post #6

This week we continued to focus on privilege and I have to admit by this point privilege has been on my mind a lot. It has been nice to be able to keep my perspective through out the week since we have been focusing on privilege for a while now.

In class we had a group do an activity that required us to take a step back or step forward based on questions about our personal privilege. It was interesting to me to see how far behind my other classmates I was. I have always known that I was raised in the middle class but seeing the majority of the class a considerable distance ahead of me was pretty eye opening. I’m not sure embarrassed is the right word but I did feel a little left out. After some thought it made me think of how I view people that might in a lower class than me and that I shouldn’t treat anybody differently based on their socioeconomic class. I am really enjoying the added perspective this class is bringing to my life. 

Post 5

Privilege was never something that really crossed my mind since it was typically in my favor. I am a middle class white male so much of my life I have been privileged. There have been a few times in my life where my religion or income did limit me. In those times where my privilege affected me negatively is when I noticed its impact on lives. This class has helped to open my eyes on a broader scale to see how privilege has affected all those around me. Everyone’s privilege varies and we as people should do our best to be as inclusive as possible since we are all equals as humans at the end of the day. 

What I took away from the guest speaker was that even in Africa white people are privileged. He mentioned that white people make up like 12% of the population but still use the majority of the resources. When I heard this I could not believe that white people were even more privileged than the people that were native to that land. It was really an eye opening experience learning some of the things that he shared with us. I have only been able to see this world through my eyes and I haven’t ever left this country so it was very interesting to me to be able to see the world through his eyes for a moment. 

 

Cultural Self-Assesment

We live in a very diverse country here in America and we are often referred to as the melting pot of the world. For this reason, you would expect us to be more culturally mindful as a people. Sometimes this is not the case, as seen on the news lately. So far I have learned quite a bit about communicating between cultures and I hope that is reflected in my remarks about my own cultural self assessment.

To begin, I am a white middle class male and as such there comes certain advantages and disadvantages. I haven’t always been part of the middle class which makes it a little easier for me to be understanding of others situations. I grew up in a predominantly white upper-middle class neighborhood and being from a household battling poverty there were certain social groups that I was alienated from. As a teenager I began to be an exceptional athlete at many sports, but due to the lack of money I was only able to compete in only one sport a year. This began to leave me out of different friend groups because I wasn’t able to participate as often as the other kids. So when it was time for me to go to junior high in Sunset Utah, I was well prepared to meet the predominantly lower class kids that would be attending there. My school was full of Hispanics and African American kids that came from poverty. In a way this was an advantage to me because it gave us more of a level ground to start on since I hadn’t really had many experiences with other races until then. So from a young age I had a very diverse friend group, and still do to this day.

            After spending my childhood in poverty my father’s business finally took off when I was entering high school which brought us to the middle class. Having been raised in poverty, I always wondered what it would be like to a part of the upper class. I always just assumed that their lives would be less stressful and all around more enjoyable just because they were well-off. I have learned some things about the upper class now that I have friends and family that are part of it. From what I have gathered is that there is no reduction in stress and no real correlation to happiness. I have learned that it still depends on the individual and that we are all just people at the end of the day.

            Another idea that I have had was that people of certain races had varying levels of hygiene and cleanliness standards. I think this impression came from my youth when I was surrounded with other races of people but all of them were quite poor. In hind sight I think that their socioeconomic class had more to do with their hygiene than anything. Never the less this was something I believed about certain races. The more I was around teammates of varying races the more I began to realize that I had been a victim of stereotyping an entire race by just a few individual that I had known.

            Like I have previously stated most of my knowledge on these two different groups came from the circumstances in which I grew up. Being poor at a young age helped me to be more understand of the lower class now that I am an adult. And being an athlete has helped me to remove stereo types from how I view certain races. So most of my knowledge is based on personal experiences. The media hasn’t played that large of a role in my knowledge and learning. I have never put too much value in what the media has to say. If anything the media is just a reminder of the ignorance that is out there.

            I would like to be able to experience what its like to be the racial minority for once in my life. I think it would be eye opening to be able to experience what its like. Just like was talked about in class, you never know what minorities are really going through until you have experienced it yourself. I think this would help me to be as culturally mindful as possible. I also would like to be more confident and willing to share my own experiences with others with different backgrounds and cultures than me. I think I have a tendency to want to keep to myself and blend in with the crowd because it is so easy to do so. It would awesome to be able to help other by sharing my unique experiences because we all are different in our own ways. Finally, I would like to learn to be more understanding of all people and not judge so quickly. My first judgments of people often can be harsh. I think if I would realize that I don’t want to be judged so harshly, then I would be more understanding of people and my first impressions of them. I am excited to see how much more growth I can experience with my new knowledge of intercultural communication.

Post 4

So far what has stuck out to me the most is simply cultural awareness. I did not realize the amount of ignorance exists in this country and in this world. It really made sense to me when Professor Colvin had mentioned that you don’t realize what people minorities are experiencing until you are a minority yourself. I have been more aware of this ever since that day in class. 

The video of Adonica Limon’s story was sad but inspiring. To see how she overcame all of the different challenges that she faced gave me a new resolution to overcome the challenges in my own life. It was awesome to see her come out on top after experiencing abuse. I am not sure how I would handle a situation like that, she was truly inspiring. 

Post #3

I like where we are at right now as a country where we do accommodate some languages depending on the state and demographic. We should continue to use other languages in a minimal manner because english is the main language but we are the melting pot of the world so I feel it is only right to use other languages to a small extent. I do feel like english should be used in about 90% of what we do but for things like signs on roads or bathrooms we could use multiple languages to help foreigners out.  

My service learning has been going good so far I was able to help out with Because He First Loved Us over the weekend and it was a blast. I don’t want to share too much because I am going to have a whole other post of the things that we did with the refugees.

Bell Hooks

I had the opportunity to be in attendance when Bell Hooks came and spoke here at UVU. It was an interesting opportunity to say the least. She spoke a lot about white supremacy and feminism which I will share some quotes about. I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the things I heard while she was speaking but I did like how she wasn’t just speaking at the audience and it was more of a conversation.                 

Some of what I did not like was how she firmly believed that the more that women “rise” the more wars there are. Not sure where she got this info from but it seems like an opinion at best. Most of her dialogue revolved around white supremacy and had potential to be really offensive if I was the type to take offense. She was asked how she felt about animal cruelty and was immediately back to speaking about how we shouldn’t be focusing on animals when whites treat people of color so poorly. One of her statements was that “white people say that black people stink but kiss their dog after it licks its own shit.”

I was honestly not impressed at what I had heard and was quite surprised that she had people there that wanted to hear her speak.