Ted Talk Refugees

Helping Refugees with Success

After working with refugees for the past couple months, I have become more interested in refugees not only in the United States but around the entire world. There are millions of refugees around the world and they need help in many ways. They need their countries to stop fighting, food, immunizations, and much more. I want to focus on education and Syrian refugees.

I watched a Ted Talk by Melissa Flemming called “Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive.” The experiences that Melissa shares are sad, scary, and some are touching. Some of the questions she asks refugees when she meets them are: who bombed your house? Who killed your son? Did the rest of your family make it out alive?

The most revealing question of them all is: “What did you take with you when you fled from your home?” This question is important because it shows what people truly care about most in their life. I would grab something that helps me with memories I have had with my family and friends. For a teenage boy in Syria, he decided to grab his high school diploma. His answer as to why he grabbed that was “my life depended on it” (Flemming, 2014). This boy would dodge snipers to get to school and sometimes the classroom would shake because of bombs being dropped and other fighting. This is a great example of how important education is to some people in that small village. Out of all the things he could have grabbed, the first thing he took with him to Lebanon was his diploma.

Lebanon has more refugees than any other country standing at 1 million. They only have 4 million citizens in Lebanon. There isn’t a single village, town, or city that does not host refugees. If the U.S. were to host the same percentage of refugees as Lebanon, they would accept all of Germany fleeing here in a period of 3 years (Flemming, 2014).

Out of the many refugee children in Lebanon, only 20% are enrolled in school. School is the most important part of their life because it allows them to think about their future and forget the violent past. The majority of all refugees want to return back to their homes but they wait an average of 17 years in exile (Flemming, 2014).

What can we do to help refugee children have success while waiting in exile? An important answer to that is education and youth groups. Melissa Flemming shared an inspiring story about how education helped a young refugee man have success in the U.S. He was from Sudan, whole family killed in one day when he was just 7 years old. He was chased by wild animals and gangs for 7 months until he found a refugee camp. He was there for 7 years then came to the U.S. In the camp he was able to go to school so he had some good education. When he was in the U.S. he lived with a great foster family, went to school pursing his PHD in public health. He was able to use this degree and raise money for people to travel to his village and help with immunizations. (Flemming, 2014).

I feel like education is something that can help refugees thrive rather than just survive in the United States and all other refugee camps. Since the U.S. doesn’t host very many refugees and we, as well as many other countries, need to do something about the education for young refugees. If going to a university is a luxury to a refugee, we definitely need to help them when they are younger so it is not a luxury.

In Nigeria because of all the issues going on in other countries, there are a lot of refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Because of this there are a lot of different challenges and struggles in each community. Nigeria believes education for these people is extremely important. “Education is a vital tool for individual, community, and national development,” (Obashoro-John & Oni, 2017). The main reasons for Nigeria to help refugees and IDPs with education is to help them build up their communities in the future. Melissa Flemming said “not investing in refugees is a huge missed opportunity, refugees can help stop the violence cycle.” That is what Nigeria is doing by helping with education for refugees.

In the article “Sudanese refugee youth and educational success: The role of church and youth group in supporting cultural and academic adjustment and schooling achievement,” it talks a lot about how young refugee students need to be involved in after school activities because it will help with their academic performance.

Participating in diverse extracurricular activities increases students’ engagement with schooling, aspirations and participation (Wilkinson, Santoro, & Major, 2017). This is important because they are investing in refugees. Helping refugees have success is extremely important. When we invest in these great people we will help them prepare to rebuild their homes, villages, hospitals, etc. They can be the generation that helps their country develop and have more success.











Flemming, M. (2014, October). Melissa Flemming: Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/melissa_fleming_let_s_help_refugees_thrive_not_just_survive

Obashoro-John, O.A. & Oni, G.J. (2017). Refugee Education: The State of Nigeria’s Preparedness. Universal Journal of Education Research, 5(6), 989-994.

Wilkinson, J., Santoro, N., & Major, J. (2017). Sudanese refugee youth and educational success: The role of church and youth group in supporting cultural and academic adjustment and schooling achievement. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 210. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2017.04.003

Post 8 Interracial Relationship and Cocultural Presentation

I decided to interview my cousin who recently got married. His name is Zach and his wife’s name is Brenda. Zach is half white and half black. Brenda is 100% Vietnamese. They dated for over 4 years before they got married. For the most part they both told me that they didn’t have any problems with being a couple because both of them are considered minorities, especially in Utah. Zach said it was tough on his parents though. He learned from their relationship and is applying the differences to his relationship. Brenda said the only issue that arose from her family/friends was her dad wanted her to marry someone more involved and integrated in their Vietnamese culture. After getting to know Zach he did not care anymore because he respected Zach and saw the love he had for his daughter. The only issues Zach’s family had was his mother. She wanted him to find a Mormon girl but Zach hasn’t been part of the LDS faith for a long time.

None of Zach’s or Brenda’s friends had issues with accepting them as a couple. I never really thought of them as an interracial couple because he is my cousin and I’ve known Brenda for a long time now. At first I just noticed that she was Asian, then I found out she was Vietnamese and since then I never paid attention to the fact that they are different races.

I enjoyed the group that presented on Friday. It was cool to hear that Tyler was an international student in England. He was always referred to as the American rather than Tyler and a friend. Even when he went back to visit later on they still referred to him as the American. I feel like that happens here all the time. Many people that have mostly their race in a group if any other person joins the group that is different, they label him/her something different. An example would be the fat friend of a group. People will notice that he/she is fat and so they will refer to that person as the fat friend. One that I have seen before was when I hung out with some friends from a different high school. They were mostly white kids at the school and in their group of friends. They had one friend that was black and so everyone would call him their black friend rather than just friend. They didn’t use it in a negative way but that was just an example. That kid was probably used to it but I bet he would prefer not to be known as the black friend. 




Movie 2- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This movie takes place during World War 2 in Germany. A family moves near a concentration camp because the father is now in charge of the camp. Bruno, the 8 year old son of the commander becomes friends with a young Jewish boy that lives at the camp. He meets this boy by wandering off when he is lonely and unhappy. He sees the boy on the other side of the fence wearing uniform that was for the Jews at the camp. Bruno thought they looked like Pajamas.

Bruno has no idea what is going on at the concentration camp. He does not know that Jewish people are being killed at that camp. One day Bruno decides to go into the camp with the Jewish boy Shmuel. He helps Shmuel look for his parents because they get separated. They both enter this small building. Searching and searching, next thing you know they are killed by being burnt to death.

Bruno’s mother and father find out about this and are terrified of what happened. The mother wasn’t a fan of what her husband was doing. She didn’t want to move from Berlin and the killing was awful.

The movie is really sad but part of it seems like karma to me. The father was such an evil and bad person the whole time showing no mercy. Then his son is killed the way he killed many innocent people.

Intercultural Movie- Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda was an amazing movie. It was extremely sad but a great story during extremely difficult circumstances. It takes place in Rwanda, Africa. In Rwanda there are two tribes, Hutu and Tutsi. A large group of military men that belong to the Hutu start an uproar. With time they end up going on a killing spree against the minority group of Tutsi. They called it an “ethnic cleansing.” The Tutsi don’t have a military, the government in that area is most of the help they get.

The main character is a man named Paul, he is a Hutu married to a Tutsi and they have three children. He is not like the extreme military Hutu’s, he is peaceful and he treats Tutsis as if they were Hutus. With time the killings get worse and they get closer to his home. While working as a manager at a hotel he makes the decision to let everyone that is being effected by this genocide stay at the hotel as a place of refuge. This hotel has many people from the United States staying there and they are freaking out too. What stood out to me is when one of the Americans asks two African friends what tribes they are part of. One is Tutsi and the other is Hutu. He says “you look like you could be sisters.” No one can tell the difference just by looking at them.

Another crazy part is that all the Americans leave on a bus and are protected by military men but the others had to stay at the hotel. Paul and a lot of people there almost get killed. After a long time they finally get help and escape.

Post 7

My views have changed somewhat about privilege. It just depends on what kind of privilege you are talking about. The activity definitely made things more clear about money. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

When you think about our government pretty much every person that helps laws pass like senators and other political groups have a lot of money. Senators are usually pretty well off so they want to keep as much money as they can. A lot of rich people and organizations will help campaigns by donating millions of dollars to help because they want to keep making more money.

In class I noticed the people in the lowest group pretty much stayed there the whole time. No one really moved up and they couldn’t move down. I was in the highest group and I stayed there the whole time. Everyone else that was in the top group stayed there the entire time except for a few people. I almost dropped to the middle bracket but when we were able to make the rules, I was set in the highest bracket. The “rich” people made the rules and got away with what we wanted.

Post 6

Learning about privilege and racism this week was interesting. As I stated before when I first talked about white privilege with someone I tried to defend myself thinking that that person was calling me racist but that is not true. It is becoming more comfortable for me now.

I liked the activity about how to handle racism. When one of the students said she called out a guy at a concert about it I thought that was really cool of her. I also think just talking about it and dropping knowledge on someone is a good way to handle it. Racism will always be a problem and we need to actually start to talk about it even though it is a topic that is very uncomfortable for almost everyone. I have little conversations about it with friends and family. It is interesting to hear their insights and thoughts because they are different than mine.

Post 5- Privilege

There are a lot of different types of privilege. Privilege affects me in multiple ways both good and bad. The first thing about privilege that I want to talk about is white privilege. This has been a huge topic for the past few years and at first I felt like I was being attacked. When someone would say that I have white privilege I would automatically assume they were calling me racist or that I thought I was better than others with different skin color than me. As I have learned more about it it has nothing to do with me being racist. When you look at the facts I do have white privilege. I have learned that I can use my white privilege to help those that do not have it. An example is a story they I read about a year ago. This older black woman was grocery shopping with her white friend. They stood together in line even though the black woman was there first. Keep in mind that this woman had shopped there for years and years while the white woman only shops there once in a while. The cashier spoke to the black woman rudely and then said that the white woman was their first. The white woman then called out the cashier and said how her friend was their first and how the cashier was being rude to the black woman. The white woman used her privilege to help others realize what was happening to her. The black woman is the one that told the story and it helped me realize that I can do good things with my white privilege instead of negative things.

Patience was a really cool guy. I liked his stories and how he has traveled all over the world. One of the things that really stood out to me was how racist they were and still are. I know racism was bad here in the U.S. but South Africa was really bad. What stood out to me the most was when he told us a story about when he was teaching in Africa at a university. He was one of the few black professors there. The school wanted to bring on a special professor that was black and he was going to be paid a lot of money. A few of the white professors said he shouldn’t get paid that amount because of his skin color. I liked how Patience basically told them off knowing he would get fired. I respect him a lot for that.

Cultural Self-Assessment

Every single one of us is part of culture. In fact, we all belong to different cultures at certain points of our lives. Culture affects each one of us in a big way. It influences our everyday decisions and plays a role on how we feel about ourselves and those around us. I identify as a white male and I am a middle class man. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I grew up with both of my parents and they were both very active in my life, three brothers and one sister. Everyone in my family and all my friend’s speak English as a first language. Many of us speak a second language as well. I am from Taylorsville, Utah just a few miles south of Salt Lake City. Taylorsville is a middle class area with a lot of people. My high school was always 5A in sports which is the schools with the most amount of students.

As a child I usually hung out with other children from my neighborhood, sports team and church. Most of my friends when I was younger were also white and middle class. Some were LDS and some were not. When I was older I started having more friends that had very different backgrounds than mine. This I started to notice more in high school because I could drive and met more people. For some weird reason most of my friends that were not LDS or white I didn’t know as well. I met them in high school so I never knew them growing up so it was a little bit different. I was pretty much always comfortable around my friend’s and their families but a few times I felt shy or different. I now realize it was because I was the minority. That never happened to me before in a private place like this situation. I then realized that a lot of my friends feel that more than me so I better make sure they are comfortable and taken care of.

After high school I went on a mission for my church. I traveled to Pennsylvania and New Jersey speaking the Spanish language for two years. I was instantly out of my comfort zone the first day I was in Pennsylvania. I saw maybe one or two white people the first couple days I was there. I guess I didn’t meet as many people that were different from me culturally like I thought I did when I was younger.

Since I am a white male, I will choose to focus on a Latin American female. I was usually pretty comfortable around girls growing up. Of course I was shy of the cute ones and got nervous on dates and so forth. I learned that females are obviously different from males but in many ways they are the same, they just think a little differently. It is even more different when the woman is from a different culture.

I served a mission in Pennsylvania and New Jersey speaking the Spanish language. I met people from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Spain, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia and a few other places.

I have two close female friends that are Latin American and I have dated some in the past. Each of them are different like everyone else and they have taught me a lot about their culture. White males tend to have more privilege than anyone else in the USA. First off, women are just as smart if not, smarter than men. Latin American women from what I learned on my mission and from the women I know are smarter in different ways than white men. White men tend to know more about business and finances while the women in the Latin American culture know more about the medical field. Latin American’s have similar values like treating others the way you want to be treated. They are stricter when it comes to respecting your elders. If a child is out of line the woman that is present for it can be the one to punish the child. Even if the child is their grandson or niece. It is okay for them to do that in a lot of Latin American families. In white culture you don’t see that as much now because domestic violence cases. Latin Americans will pull out a belt and just whip them with it. I have seen this in person.

From what I see Latin American women are definitely more attractive than a white male.

Latin Americans tend to be more religious than white males. Especially the women. They go to church more and strive to get everyone to go with them. A lot of white males that go to church are there just because they are told that is where they should be. Latin American women want to be there with their family.

The women in the Latin American culture are definitely more humble than the average white male. Latin American women are more involved in all phases of life. Latin American women tend to be “old fashioned” in today’s society. Women do all of  the cooking and cleaning while the males work long hours then come home to be with the family. White males like myself don’t do as much around the house as the women do.

Growing up you always hear parents, teachers, and other adults say that everyone is equal and you need to treat everyone the same. My family has come into contact with people to be able and put those beliefs into practice. When I was just a kid my family was in California on vacation. My dad was in line getting food. He could hear a young man trying to communicate something in broken English to an American. The American was a jerk so my dad helped the guy out even though he was different. My dad is like that with everyone regardless of race, gender, etc.

I have learned a lot about the Latin American culture over the past six years. On my mission is where I learned the most but I still continue to learn more and more. It will be a continual process for the rest of my life. The teachers that I used for my Latin American culture were people I stay in Contact with from my mission. I also have two female friends that live here so they helped me out a lot with both female and Latin American cultures. My sister and my mom helped me a little bit with the gender part as well. I also have experiences in my life that helped me with that. For the white male I learned a lot of it from my life but my family as well.

The media puts out a lot of good and bad stuff regarding race, gender, equality etc. A lot of negative things are put out by the media about everything I studied. The media says negative things about immigrants specifically Latin Americans because a lot of them are “illegal aliens” which is something I hate saying. I try to ignore that stuff because it is everywhere.

I would love to be able to just dive deep into a specific culture group foreign to me and know more details about that group. Knowing the ins and outs of a random culture would be really cool. I really want to continue learning about different cultures because it is great to see the differences in all of us but get along and become friends.

What are some ways that I can get involved in a career involving intercultural communication? It is one of the best classes I’ve taken at UVU.


Post 4

What has stuck out to me the most is realizing that I have a lot of biases. I never really thought of myself as being a bias person. I still don’t think I am. But I do know that I have biases in my life. When I first think about bias I think that it is something negative. But as I read more it isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it definitely can lead to discrimination and other problems. This ties in to some of the reading we’ve had about generalization, prejudice, etc.

Adonica’s life has been very difficult. I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up the way she did. She deserves to not have anymore tragedies happen in her life. The part that stood out to me the most with Adonica was she was so dedicated in her schoolwork, being a mother, and working. I could not believe she said she was taking 30 credit hours at school, working full time, and being a mother. That is such a tough life. Last year in school I worked two part time jobs and was only at 12 credit hours and it was still tough to come up with enough money to pay for my car, rent, groceries, etc. 



Post 3- English Only Laws

There are many different countries in the world that are bilingual or multilingual. The United States is made up from people all over the world which means there are a lot of people that speak languages other than English. I do not believe we should have English only laws. That seems racist or prejudice to me. Yes I do think every person in the U.S. should at least try to speak the language since that is the main language here but only English is a horrible idea. I know some people that have been here for 20+ years and don’t speak any English. They still work, obey the laws, and contribute to society.

People that don’t speak English already are at a huge disadvantage. It is a lot harder to find work if you don’t speak English or if your English is broken. But that is already an incentive for people to learn English. I do understand where people are coming from because it can for sure be frustrating if you are trying to communicate something with someone that lives here but doesn’t speak English very well. I personal think every elementary-high school in the country should offer a second language class. Spanish and Chinese I feel like are two very important languages that many people speak in the U.S. Why not learn enough to communicate or at least understand one another? It will help with learning skills in the future, job offers, and even when you go on vacation!

I am currently volunteering for “Because He First Loved Us.” I help coach a 5th and 6th grade boys basketball team. So far it has been a lot of fun! A couple of the kids think I look like Kevin Love from the NBA! The head coach is a guy named Lamar, he’s a seven foot tall former Center for SLCC. I started going to practice on Tuesday the 19th and I kept trying to figure each kid’s name but struggled. On Saturday the 23rd we had a basketball game and I was able to get down almost all of their names. I will continue to coach every Tuesday night and go to basketball games every Saturday. I might help out with some Halloween stuff in the future.