NPR article

NPR Talk Assignment
How many times do we assume things about people because of their race? How many times do we rely on our initial perceptions of others? The Ted Talk I watched was entitled “What does my headscarf mean to you?” This was presented by a Muslim lady named Yassmin Abdel-Magied who has done many unexpected things in her life because she immigrated from Sudan to Australia when she was two. Throughout the talk she kept referring to unconscious bias. Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. Essentially, unconscious bias is innocently stereotyping what we see on the outside.

Throughout the talk, Yassmin changed her outfit many times. First, she wore a head scarf symbolizing her religion. Next, she wore an orange construction suit to show that she managed an oil rig in Australia. She asked what we all thought of when they saw her in her head scarf and what we thought when we saw her in the construction suit. The response from the audience was that we expected her to have Muslim habits and lifestyle when we saw the headscarf and we were confused when we saw her wearing construction gear because we didn’t know what she could possibly do with it. It’s not because we are being racist, but rather it’s because everyone assumes things about people the see, based on stereotypes.

Yassmin continued to tell a story about stereotypes. In the 70s and 80s, men were the most common gender to play in professional Orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra and supposedly were better at playing instruments than females. Once they started blind auditions, and told the ladies to remove the shoes, they ended up with an equal guy to girl ratio. What happened here? The unconscious bias did not take place based on if they saw a guy or girl. They mainly focused on the skill or talent of what they heard. So I conclude the same thing as Yassmin. Unconscious bias needs to be identified, acknowledged, and mitigated against.

After reading the article Emotion Expression and Intergroup Bias Reduction Between Muslims and Christians, I came to the conclusion that long term inter-group interactions increase positivity and lower initial bias when you share similarities. This experiment took groups of Muslim and Christian students and had them chat online. One group (Dual Identity Electronic Contact) focused on integrating interfaith information (common beliefs) and inter-group contact verse a control group that chatted about differences or within-faith between their religions. The results were that “These findings highlight the significant role that structured Internet interactions can play in creating positive and long-lasting inter-group relations” (White, 2015, p. 1). When we find similarities with someone that looks, acts, believes, or talks different than ourselves, the unconscious bias may not change, but will change is our knowledge of how similar they our to ourselves. We realize that people different from us are other people.

Now that we have seen positive emotions and decrease in bias in long term inter-group contact between two different types of groups, what happens when we decrease the amount of contact? The article Cultural Diversity, Racialisation and the Experience of Racism in Rural Australia: the South Australian Case studies interaction between Anglo (white people in Australia) vs. Non-Anglo (British/Irish and Muslim/African immigrants) people. The results were that Anglos living in the rural areas were less tolerant of Non-Anglo type of people living in their area, and the Anglos in the metropolitan areas had a high tolerance for Non-Anglos living in their area because they are used to diversity. Because of the race and common religion, Anglos were typically more tolerant to British and Irish immigrants than they were to Muslims or Africans.The article explains that although tolerance levels varied, racist behavior levels were very low in both areas: “While rural South Australians may be less tolerant than people living in metropolitan Adelaide..there were lower levels of experience of racist behavior by ethnic minority group members than the analysis of attitudes might have suggested” (Forrest, 2013, p. 8).

In conclusion, it is very hard to not have a stereotype or any sort of bias when you see someone different from you. It is even harder when you do not interact with them or find any similarity. I don’t really have a way to try and solve the tolerance levels in Australia, but I can conclude that if the races interacted, tolerance levels would increase. They need to learn from the Christian and Muslim experience of sharing similarities over a long period of time. In order to lower prejudice, stereotypes, and try to be “equal” with people different from us, we need to communicate. Communication is key.

References
Abdel-Magied, Y. (2014). What does my headscarf mean to you? Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/yassmin_abdel_magied_what_does_my_headscarf_mean_to_you
Forrest, J., & Dunn, K. (2013). Cultural diversity, racialisation and the experience of racism in rural Australia: the South Australian case. Journal Of Rural Studies, 301-9. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2012.11.002
White, F. A., Abu-Rayya, H. M., Bliuc, A., & Faulkner, N. (2015). Emotion expression and intergroup bias reduction between muslims and christians: Long-term internet contact. Computers In Human Behavior, 53435-442. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.04.074

Post 9

Does popular media influence our culture, or does our culture influence popular media? After reflecting on this question in class, I have decided that the answer to both of these questions is yes. Our culture influences popular media to an extent, and the media influences our culture to an extent.

One of the most popular topics in the media and in our American culture is body image. I can’t tell you how may things I have seen lately on social media, that either conform to the typical “perfect body” stereotype or are super against it. There is no in between stance when it comes to body image. I saw a post on Facebook recently. I can’t remember who posted it so unfortunately I don’t have the link, but it showed a model size 16 named Ashley, and it’s her story about accepting her body image. Ashley wanted to be a model, and she knew that all the models in the media were super skinny and hardly had any body fat. Skinny with make up is portrayed as the most attractive and beautiful style right now in the media, and many people in our culture are losing a dangerous amount of weight. Ashley said she remembers working out 4 hours a day and eating very little, and getting from her bodies natural body size (size 16) to a size 2. Confidently, she walked into a photo shoot, and they told her that she wasn’t skinny enough. They told her she had to be a size zero before they would shoot photos. She says while she was able to get to a size zero, she remembers being miserable, and she finally realized that the media’s “perfect body” image was making her feel this way. Just like Ashley, many girls want to be exceptionally pretty in our culture. This has meant for years that if you are more attractive, you will:
1)Get more dates
2)Get job promotions
3)Marry a rich, attractive man
4)Be an overall successful person
This is the case because we have let the media influence us to this extent. Ashley finally realized that she never thought about accepting her body for how it naturally was. She still works out and is very in shape, but lets her body eat healthy, even if it is naturally a size 16. What I learned from this story, is that we can influence popular media, but so often we let popular media influence us, to the point where it is not only unhealthy physically, but can be emotionally and mentally draining too. People need to realize how the popular media influences their life.

Post 8

For this assignment, I spoke to someone who is in an interracial relationship. My best friend’s brother, Jonathan, married someone from China. Her brother learned Chinese before he met his wife. After he learned Chinese for two years in California, he moved to China to teach English and met his wife there. They eventually fell in love and got married and moved to the United States.

They said that the most difficult thing that they have had to experience is the language barrier between each of their families. Since Jonathan knows Chinese, his wife Serena, has decided to learn English since she is planning on living in the United States with him and raising their future family here. The only difficulty is that Serena needs to rely on Jonathan a lot to translate for her. She lives with Jonathan and his family right now in Spanish Fork, so the only opportunity she has to speak Chinese is when she skypes her family, or when she talks to Jonathan. While Serena is learning English and the cultural barrier is being significantly less thick because of this, she is creating stronger relationships with each of her in-laws and any friends she makes along the way. The language barrier and adjustment to culture is harder for Serena because she is out of China for most of her life now, but for Jonathan, it is not as hard of an adjustment since this is where he grew up.

Despite cultural differences, Serena and Jonathan and both of their families have decided to celebrate cultural differences. For example, Jonathan’s parents flew out to China for a Chinese wedding celebration, and prior to the celebration, Jonathan put together an two hour long video of pictures of them. In China, it is customary to have an average of 5 hour long slide shows with pictures and music for a wedding celebration. This way, Jonathan showed respect and empathy by doing something that he knew would make Serena happy and feel important. For their wedding invitations they had one side in the Chinese language, and the other side was English. I think it was really important for Jonathan and his family to incorporate Serena’s cultural traditions into the wedding ceremony to show her and her family that despite any racial differences, they respected them and their culture.

Post 7

I don’t think my view on privilege has changed a lot from before the class until now. I already knew I was privileged being a middle class white woman in America. If I have learned anything, it is that I don’t realize how privileged I am because I have never been on the other side. I’ve never been a different race other than white. I’ve never had someone unfriend me because of my heterosexual orientation. I’ve never been a man. I’ve never had another language as my primary language. I’ve never been an immigrant. I’ve never grown up in a family that has struggled financially. I’ve never had to drop out of school so I can work and be able to help my family live. These things that I have taken for granted all of my life, is something that people struggle with every day.

Although I know that people struggle with things which I have never had to worry about and I feel sympathy for them, I have come to realize through this course that I will never have empathy. To me, one of the privileges that I can not have with my race, gender, and socio-economic standing is the ability to rewind time and experience what it would be like to literally be somebody with a different race, gender, socio-economic standing, or sexual orientation. The list can go on, but I know that because I have been given a different life story, I will never know what the unprivileged or the minority experiences.

The unfortunate thing is that for the most part, they don’t choose for these circumstances to occur. Life just happens and they are thrown into this world, and they will be stereotyped and judged. Their whole life will mostly depend on what cards they have received at the start of the game or what circumstances they have been given since they day they were born. While this is true, people struggle to believe that privilege is something you choose to have. It may not be easy to stay in school, help support your family financially, or be a minority when it’s unpopular, but it will definitely be worth it. The hard experiences in life will be worth it if you decide you want to be privileged: privilege can be earned.

Racism and Privilege

This weeks activities and readings really tried my patience but got me thinking about privilege and racism.

The activity on Tuesday was really fun, and it made me learn a few things about socio-economic class specifically. It was really strange to me how I was the “wealthiest” person in the class as soon as the game started. I didn’t have to do anything to get up to the top. I traded a couple of times, but I just had a lot of chips or “money” to begin with. At first, I didn’t realize that I was in the 2% population of the class that had a really lucky draw, but as I started to see all of the points on the board by the first round, I realized that I was very lucky. Before I knew I was in good hands, I was trading with people and trying to get as many points possible. In one of the drawings, I actually lost a few points. The next time around, I learned my lesson. I received another really lucky draw surprisingly, and I refused to trade with anyone. I remained the person in the class with the highest points. I was wondering what I did to get luck on my side, but for some reason it was, and I became very selfish and proud of how far ahead I was in the class. Later on, I realized I didn’t even care to play the game or help others win and lose points because I knew I had what I wanted. That is when the life lesson hit me. Sometimes, we don’t realize how lucky we really are in how much money we have. This affects how we act around others, and it even affects our priorities in life. Since I was so wealthy, I didn’t care about all the people in the middle and lower class working so hard to get where I was. I thought, “Why would that concern me?” I’m a nice person, but I realized that it is in my human nature to care about my self, and once I’m taken care of, I simply do not care about others. That is a scary thought, but at least I know I’m not alone.

Thursday’s lesson on racism at first made me uncomfortable until one of the people in the group said something like “racism can initially be an awkward topic because we don’t like to talk about it, but we really should be open about serious topics in our history like this.” That is another important lesson that I have learned throughout this class. It does not matter how uncomfortable a topic is. When it comes to understanding each other through communication, we have to be willing to talk about the uncomfortable because the more we don’t address topics like racism or socio-economic differences, the more uncomfortable we become with the topic.
Watching the sneetches video made me recognize how silly racism is. It really does not matter what color of skin we are, but I learned why people in history have decided to discriminate based on skin color. I noticed that the sneetches really liked to be apart of a group. They felt like they belonged somewhere, and sometimes they were proud of it, and sometimes they were not, but they all had a common goal and a mutual interest whether they were star bellies or not. What they really got into was the competitive factor of who was better and why. Personally, I think competition and wanting to live the best way possible is in the nature of man. How do we compete without opposition? And who do we compete against a group without support? Watching the sneetches video helped me rethink racism on a whole different perspective.

How Privileged Am I Really?

I have never been in a class that I have been able to talk so openly about something my culture never talks about. In other words, I have never been in a setting that talks so openly about the reality of the dissapointments around the world that include race, religion, and gender discrimination as well as the effects of poverty in education. It has been really refreshing and eye opening to discuss some of the most sensitive subjects freely where we all look at each other’s perspectives and opinions with respect, even if we may not agree.

Privilege is one of these sensitive topics that includes subjects addressed above: race, religion, gender, and wealth. Being a middle class white woman, I have grown up naturally privileged. When we had a privilege realization activity in my class, I looked around at the people who were further behind me – or in other words, the less privilege people – to my surprise, most of them were not white. Growing up a white person in America, I never have had real problems or confrontations with race. When Janet started saying things like “If you have ever been a victim of violence because of your race, take a step back,” or “If you have at least 50 books in your house, take a step forward,” or “If you have ever not got a job because of your race, take a step back,” I realized that these are real problems that I never have had to think about personally. I knew they were problems, but I didn’t realize how much they still affect my classmates and friends.

So what is privilege? Privilege is power. That is why so many people crave it. Who does not want power to survive in this world? Privilege is a way of living that society has created as “perfect” or “ideal.” Because of our world history, whites (European originated people) still have dominant power or privilege, even though for the most part, we are still striving to reach that “utalitarian society” throughout the world. It didn’t really hit me until I took this class, that unfortunately, people with any color darker than white, most likely grow up in less than “well off” circumstances, and because of this, it is hard for them to get an efficient education, which makes it hard to have a successful job with lots of money. Luckily for me, I have not experienced these difficulties. I consider myself privileged.

Joseph Ostraff and New Perspectives

I think that Joseph Ostraff’s speeches were really interesting! I always love going to speeches with professors that know how to take your direct way of thinking and they expand the way you think. That’s what Joseph did for me.

When he talked about the Parthenon being kept in England and the British refusing to give it back to Greece (the place of origin), my first thought was “How rude! Why don’t they just give it back to them? It belongs to them! No one asked for them to go retrieve the Parthenon and take it out of their country,” so accordingly, I commented with what I thought. After several comments, we were starting to give England the benefit of the doubt, and it kind of made me change my mind. Why not preserve a priceless piece of world history when we know that Greece has terrible economic conditions and maybe not a sufficient security to protect the Parthenon? Although some may be upset that they don’t have the Parthenon in Greece, I think some people in Greece are grateful that England is protecting and preserving the Parthenon better than Greece could.

I also thought learning about the various greetings of all the cultures was really interesting. I loved learning about the bows, handshakes, cheek kisses, and the Maori embrace. It seemed to me that although it would be initially awkward for Asians or Americans to kiss, hug, or embrace each other, we would probably be a lot more friendly and a warm type of people. I love how learning about other cultures through different perspectives broadens my respect for the other cultures.

Cultural Self Assessment

Cultural Self Assessment
If I had to describe myself in regards to this paper’s agenda, I would say that I am a White middle class female. I have lived in Spanish Fork, Utah my whole life. This is a relatively small town located about fifteen minutes south of Utah Valley University. Most of the people in my city are White and of some European descent and the other population in the town (for the most part) are Latins. I would consider myself what all the proud Spanish Forkers call “a long time Spanish Forker.” This is a simple phrase, but it means that you have had family who has lived here for generations.
I am a sixth generation Spanish Forker. I know my family came mainly from England and Denmark before they were in Spanish Fork, but I do not connect with my European heritage nearly as much as I connect with my American heritage. The biggest impact that European culture has had on me is that English is my primary language. There are a few reasons that I feel like I connect more with my American geographic region compared to my European geographic decent.
One of the biggest reasons comes from the influence of my religion. Utah people are generally known by the rest of America as “the Mormons.” I guess I can call myself that, but I think I can speak for most of the Mormon culture when I say, we would rather be called the name which is taken from the name of our church: “LDS (latter day saint).” The reason for this being that the word “Mormon” has had a negative connotation since the 1800s when the church was began. To sum it up, many people did not like the Mormons because they thought that what we believed was exotic and strange, so because of this, Mormons suffered lots of persecution which kept pushing them west and eventually lead them to a dessert area called the Salt Lake Valley. The prophet of the church, President Brigham Young, had the Saints start settlements and cities around the Salt Lake Valley. Spanish Fork was one of those cities.
My ancestors were part of that bunch that helped settle Spanish Fork, and through the generations, for the most part, we have all stayed predominantly LDS. Many people that I have grown up with are LDS, and although this is a religion, religion can always influence a culture in good ways and bad ways. I have seen this culture develop over the last 20 years I have lived in Spanish Fork.
One of our biggest religious practices that has influenced culture, is serving a mission or teaching people about our church all over the world. To serve a mission, a guy has to at least be eighteen and serves for two years, while a girl has to be at least nineteen. Although we don’t preach this, it is a common misconception that whether you are a guy or girl, if you don’t serve a mission, you have not led much of an impressive life as those who have. Occasionally, those who don’t serve missions are seen on a lower level in the social scale among the LDS community. You can probably guess how some who are not LDS are seen on a different social scale. Sometimes kids grow up and will only hang out with those who are LDS and not necessarily exclude others, but they will not include them. It is heart breaking and something that I have never done or plan to ever do, but it is something that everyone has noticed if they have lived in Spanish Fork.
Growing up in Spanish Fork, I have seen this socioeconomic scale develop over time. When I was a kid, Spanish Fork was still really small and had an estimated populated of about 20,000. It has doubled since then. The additional people are either Spanish Fork kids who have grown up and decided to start families while continuing to live in Spanish Fork, or they are Latins who have moved here and settled in over the past ten years. It was really interesting to see the diversity grow and see how people reacted to it.
Most people residing in Spanish Fork, like myself are White, Mormon, and have a middle class standing in the socioeconomic scale. I would like to talk about the difference between Whites and Latins and how the difference between race and culture influence the socioeconomic scale. Some of this paper will still be referring Spanish Fork because regardless of what I have heard in the media about the rest of the world, my whole life has been Spanish Fork, and I have definitely seen an influence on the socioeconomic scale in Whites and Latins.
When the Latins who were mostly from Mexico started populating Spanish Fork, things changed. On the good side, we had lots of additional Mexican restaurants. Nobody was frustrated about that! On the down side, we saw an unspoken segregation take place. For the most part, the Latins would only talk to each other at school, work, or even church settings. When I was old enough to realize what was going on, I was initially offended and confused as to why they did not seem to talk with the “Spanish Forkers.” I thought that maybe they don’t care about talking to us, so I hardly ever talked to them. After taking this class and having some additional experience, I understand why they stick to themselves and people of their culture, dominant language, and religion. I put myself in their shoes and I realized if I was trying so desperately to get in America to have a better life for me and my kids, and the one place I settled had a dominantly completely different language, religion, and culture, I would feel inferior because I would look like the strange one. I would feel as if I was always being watched. I think all minorities feel this way at some point regardless of their personality or circumstance.
For once, I put myself in the shoes of the minority, and I began to understand why it is so hard for them. I did this in high school when I noticed the unspoken segregation taking place. I noticed how long time Spanish Forkers and Latins looked like they wanted to interact, but mostly did not because they were afraid of what the other culture or their own would think of them. They were afraid of how it would define them, and in high school, social status was everything in the group that you were in. They also did not know how to interact with the other culture because they never did growing up, and they did not want to make a fool of themselves and change the norm.
That was probably my least favorite part of high school; however, in the community outside of school, I have noticed that is much easier for a Latin and a White person to communicate and get along with each other. Although Spanish Fork has had its obstacles when it has come to multiple cultures connecting, I think we are doing a lot better than we were at communicating interculturally in comparison to ten years ago. I think it is because we understand each other and our cultures more.
Not only in Spanish Fork, but in additional areas all around the United States, Latins tend to have the blue collar jobs that the middle class people don’t want. Some may say this is because of the education level that varies between Latins and Whites in knowing English and having graduated from high school or college. While to an extent, education does influence our career choices, it has taken a long time for the Whites to realize that the Latins value their culture and their family more than anything.
Again, I”ll put things in perspective. These Latins that come from Mexico or elsewhere in Central and South America, usually come here to escape poverty and to give their child a life without hunger and a chance to be educated. They come here to give their kids and sometimes even themselves, the opportunity to achieve more than they could elsewhere. They want to give themselves the opportunity for a better life here in America. Most of the time, Latins know that it is not going to be everything that they thought. They have heard the stories from the media about racism and how hard it is for immigrants (illegal or not) to have an income of a typical middle-class White American male. It usually does not happen nine out of ten times, but even though they are aware the reality, they will do anything it takes to have a semi-better life in America. This means they will take the blue collar jobs that nobody wants or they will go to the school that is more affordable, and sometimes a little more dangerous of an environment. For the most part, they are totally okay with being the underdog on the social scale, if it means that they have a job, their family won’t starve, and they can work there way up to becoming something great in America.
Whites sometimes forget where the Latins have come from. We get frustrated because they change the dynamics of this nation. This includes health insurance, taxes, national debt, etc. While these are all valid points, White people need to realize where these people are coming from and be proud that our nation can help them. We shouldn’t complain when an immigrant takes a blue collar job that we would never look into. I’ve accepted that more than half the time I go to a fast food venue, the worker is going to usually be a Latina mom who is just happy to have a job. Although I don’t like to admit it, since I am a White female who was a born a citizen of the United States, I already am going to have so many more privilege and automatic opportunities in education and career choice than an illegal Latina. And even though Latins are so flexible and accommodating in the academic and financial world, they would take more opportunities to learn and grow, if their lifestyles would allow them to do so.
Growing up I had always been taught that no matter what I see around me, everyone is equal and I should treat everyone the same. My parents had grilled that into my brain. I was taught that we were all children of God and no matter what are race, socioeconomic class, or gender, we were all seen as equal. Although Spanish Fork did not have a lot of diversity when I was young, it had enough for me to see how my parents, family, and friends interacted with those were racially different or had less money than them. There was a family in my neighborhood that was not LDS and never went to church. Fortunately my parents were not weird and let my brother hang out with one of their boys, and allowed me to go on dates with the other. On multiple occasions, our friend’s mom would confront my mom with various challenges in being a different religion than others. For example, my mom would always tell her that she should not have to go through seeing her kids get rejected in friendships and relationships at school, and that people should be nicer. To that she would reply “I know, but that’s just how it is.” This taught me a lesson. Unfortunately, we all have to deal with the fact that conflict in many different kinds of cultures is not fair but that is how it is. No matter what the social norms are among race, religion, and culture, we all know that we should treat each other equally. I am grateful I had parents that lived by that philosophy.
Although I am culturally informed through the media, I mostly am informed through what I have experienced just being alive. The only time I have really studied a culture in a classroom setting would be this semester. I have never talked so openly and matter-of-factly about the differences in race, gender, and socioeconomics in cultures. My intercultural communication class has definitely increased my awareness of the variety in cultures and the various demographics and customs that make a culture.
The latest talk in the media regarding Latins has been the building of a wall as a consequence of Donald Trump being President of the United States. Many Americans are frustrated about this wall being built, and the media has really taken advantage of this. They are displaying videos of families that tell the press things like “I don’t think I will see my mommy anymore if Donald Trump becomes president.” The videos that liberal sided news comes out with, shows the Latin kids who are already in poverty or a lower class socioeconomically, and the struggle they are having with Trump building the wall because they don’t know how long they will be with their families. Some Americans believe that Trump will tear families apart as consequence of building the wall. The point of the wall is to prevent additional illegal immigration. While the United States is accepting of immigrants, most citizens prefer that immigrants migrate legally.
We can see how the media has taken a crisis like the wall being built and has easily provoked the already tender emotions of a group of people. They provoke emotions in all groups of sensitive people. That is their audience. When people get the sources strictly from the media that sides with their opinion, they will believe all the lies that the media tells them because it makes them feel justified in their emotions. Although emotions and being satisfied that the media is on your side is nice, it is a dangerous path that leads to more discrimination in sub-cultures of gender, race, and socioeconomic class. Different news outlets in the United States make lots of money because they will choose to write stories that will target a group of politics and will attract a lot of people in that specific political group because the things they write about (regardless of the truthfulness about them) match that group’s overall opinion.
This class has been so interesting and has really opened my mind and broadened my perspective about the world in which I live. I am anxious to learn more about different cultures. I want to talk about why so many cultures keep traditions even though it does not keep up with the new technology and the way the world is developing. I would also like to address Middle Eastern culture. All I really know about the Middle East is that the United States has fought over there. Since we have a native Hawaiian in the class, my interest for Hawaii has perked, and I want to know how similar it is to the United States. It seems like a complete different country to me.
Reflecting on my topic comparing Latins and Whites and how that influences both of those groups socioeconomically, I would like to know the whys. I wonder if, collectively, Latin Americas truly do not want to make more money than is necessary for survival or if they just know that is impossible to do because they are Latin. I would also like to study how the difference in race in socioeconomic class affects students in a high school setting. I know there will always be separation, but I feel like over the past ten years especially, we have come a long way in interaction regarding these two sub-cultures. Lastly, I would like to know why cultures who live in isolation are okay with living in isolation instead of moving to America (or another capitalist society) where they can learn the current technologies, philosophies, and excitements of the modern world.

Post 3

I think making an English only law is good in some ways but not good in others. It is smart to have a dominant language in a country, but I don’t think any culture should only allow one language to be spoken in their country. In this country we have English as the dominant language, but we have many other cultures that bring a variety of languages into our country.

The second most popular language in the United States is Spanish. Because of this, many places have made a bilingual description of products, events, or advertisements. I think it is smart for the United States to acknowledge and accommodate other languages, with the growing population of the minorities in our country. However, if the minorities eventually became the dominant population in the United States, we would hardly have a reason to still declare English as the dominant language. If we have a high tolerance for immigrants and we don’t ever encourage them to learn English, then the intercultural communication barrier would be harder to achieve, and the country would feel a little chaotic without language organization. The whole point for immigrants learning English is so we can communicate and we can understand each other on a better level. Yes, there are translators who can help achieve that for us, but multi-lingual people are few and further between. For this reason, I think it is very important to have a dominant language be the law, but I think it is a terrible idea if we would only allow English to be spoken. I think that would make us a sort of Fascist government honestly.

My service hours have been very fun so far! I have secretly been dreading my service hours because I was not really into the idea of taking 20 hours of my time this semester away from free time that I have, but it turns out that I love volunteering to serve our refugees! I knew that I already liked serving people, but with how busy I am this semester, I thought there would be no way that one more thing to do for my class would be good for me at all, but like I said, I have completely changed my mentality!

Yesterday, I volunteered to help with an event that “Because He First Loved Us” was hosting. They had a dinner and a show (with refugee kids providing the entertainment) for the audience who contributed 15$ each for money to go toward helping the refugee kids. It was so fun to see the kids dance and represent their own cultures, as well as hear a speech from a Somalian teenage girl describing what each of the letters in “refugee” mean to her and her feelings of the good and bad things about coming to the United States. I enjoyed this performance and interacting with the kids! It was fun to see how similar they were to us despite their origin, race, and religion.

Babakieuria Blew My Mind

Watching Babakieuria was a really interesting experience for me. Overall, it was surprising to notice how I was so used to seeing those with darker skin be persecuted against, that when I saw the same punishment come on my own people who are white, it really scared me. Something clicked in my brain when I saw the black government “oh so nobly inviting the white people to participate in holidays” or when they took away the daughter from her family so that she could be educated but told the family “it was for the best.” How many times do the United States force our own values on others? How often do cultures understand that we are actually trying to help them, and is that what the government is really trying to do?

One of the hardest parts of the movie was seeing the black people come over, take over Babakieruria, and then eventually relocate the white people to a desert and claimed that it would be “good for them” to build a new home and learn to live off the land. How heartless is this? There is no logical reason that they can do that and justify their reason for kicking them out of their home land. It was not long before I realized that my very own people did that to the Native Americans not too long ago. All of the sudden, instead of feeling bad for the white people in this movie, I felt a whole other level of empathy for my Native American brothers and sisters. I’m glad I could watch this movie because it made me realize that I was more prejudice than I thought, and now I know how I can work through that prejudice.

I feel like me watching Babakieuria relates to Chapter 3 where it talks about developing intercultural communication competence. It tells us to engage with different worldviews, practice role-taking behavior, practice active listening, and seeking regular feedback. Just by watching this movie, I feel like I definitely practiced role-taking behavior by literally putting myself as a white person in all of the minorities shoes. Once I was able to accomplish this, I felt so much more competent in exposing myself to different worldview traditions and cultures, and I was able to discuss with and listen to my classmates on what they thought or felt about this show. If you put yourself in someone’s shoes first, you can start developing intercultural communication competence a lot easier and deeper than you thought you could do. That’s what Babakieuria did for me.