NPR/Ted Talk Presentation

After the LGBTQ panel came to our class last Friday, I knew that I wanted to further my understanding on gender issues within our culture. I viewed a TedTalk given by a woman named Geena Rocero. It’s called “Why I Must Come Out.” In the talk, Geena spoke about her life as a model and beauty pageant queen. She stated that she remembered looking at a blown up photograph of herself in a bikini and thinking “I have arrived.” Now this may come across as odd to see yourself in a bikini and think that, but to her it was everything. Geena Rocero was born with the gender assignment of “male.” But from a young age, Geena had always self identified as a girl. Geena loved things that most girls love to do: playing with her Barbie dolls and sewing clothes for them. “I always knew I felt something different,” she said. She was five years old the day she vividly remembers letting her mother know that the way the world perceived her—as a boy—was not how she felt inside. As she walked around with a T-shirt on her head, the cloth trailing behind her, she proclaimed: “This is my hair. I am a girl.” Her mother simply responded, “OK.” At age eight, she recalls watching a transgender beauty pageant in their town. In the Philippines, this was not an unusual event. The transgender community has a lengthy cultural history in the Phillippines. “I can be a woman, and I want to be that kind of woman—beautiful, confident, celebrated,” she remembers thinking while watching the women walk by.
Geena considered herself extremely lucky to have such supportive parents. Both her mother and father encouraged her to take hormones and go through the gender reassignment process to pursue her career as a model in the United States.
In the TedTalk, Geena touched on a couple of very important things: she says that “Gender has always been considered a fact. Immutable. But we now know its actually more fluid, complex and mysterious.” In the article: “Between the Gender Lines,” Katherine Wu states that: “Science tells us that gender is certainly not binary; it may not even be a linear spectrum. Like many other facets of identity, it can operate on a broad range of levels and operate outside of many definitions. And it also appears that gender may not be as static as we assume. At the forefront of this, transgender identity is complex – it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to attribute it to one neat, contained set of causes, and there is still much to be learned. But we know now that several of those causes are biological. These individuals are not suffering a mental illness, or capriciously “choosing” a different identity. The transgender identity is multi-dimensional – but it deserves no less recognition or respect than any other facet of humankind,” (Wu, pg 4).
My second article by the American Psychological Association reports that despite the “signs of more acceptance for transgender people, many studies show that they still face significant challenges. rejection of the transgender community is significantly harsher than the attitudes toward to LGB community. Transgender people usually have extremely high rates of suicide, self harm, anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol addictions. Most of this stems from the feeling like they can never fully and truly be themselves or accepted in to a community,” (pg 2).
As a community, we can do several things to empower the transgender and LGBTQ community. We can become an ally, respect the terminology a transgender person uses to describe their identity, be patient with a person who is questioning or exploring their gender identity, listen, and be inclusive.

Between the (Gender) Lines: the Science of Transgender … (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2017, from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender-lines-science-transgender-identity/

Transgender youth at risk for depression, suicide. (2015, January 14). Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/transgender-youth-at- risk-for-depression-suicide/

post 8

I thought our class discussion today was very interesting and informative. When the group discussion started, I was really hesitant to speak or ask questions because I do lack knowledge of the LGBTQ community and did not want to offend or be insensitive to anyone/their feelings. I loved the sense of intimacy and kindness that Karen brought to the classroom today. She was very knowledgable, and was patient with each and every one of us as we asked our questions. I also really appreciated Janet speaking at the end of class about the vulnerability that was brought to the classroom today. It reminded me of this hashtag floating around on the internet right now: #themagicofvulnerability. The creator of that hashtag wanted to create a safe space on the internet for strangers to share what they are vulnerable about and to create a sense of community. I think that is what happened in our classroom today: the magic of vulnerability. Our class today allowed us to try to understand and empathize with different co-cultures that we might not be very knowledgable of or interact with on a day to day basis.

post 7

Since we have been discussing privilege these past couple of weeks, I have become much more aware of the privileges I do have and where I fit in society. At first, learning about my privilege made me feel a sense of shame: how can I have so many opportunities in life, when others do not? I think it’s important to recognize my privilege, so I can recognize others’ disadvantages and advocate for equality/equal opportunities. I think a good question to ask ourselves is: You have this privilege, now what good are you going to do with it?

The activity on Monday showed me the reality of privilege and power. After picking our tokens from the paper bag, I was put into the lowest group. At first I didn’t really care because I was really happy with the tokens that I did have and the people I was surrounded by. But then, people in other groups began to move up and up, their token numbers doubling, while mine barely increased. The people in the top group established the rules, which benefited them greatly but didn’t help us at all. This activity was interesting to see the comparison of classes, opportunities, and privilege. The rich keep getting richer, while people in lower and middle classes are struggling just to stay above water. I always want to find a solution or a way to make things better for those who struggle, but I wonder how we can do that in the society we are in today. The gaps between classes keeps getting bigger and bigger.

post six

This last week, we further discussed privilege and racism.  I found class to be very interesting because a lot of my classmates offered some very insightful comments.  One of my peers suggested that it starts with us: we can lead by example and ensure equality for all.  We can raise our children to be better, kinder, more inclusive.  Throughout these discussions, it was interesting to hear the reactions and ideas people had to address and put a stop to racism/racist remarks.  I am curious to see what Janet say this next week about what she thinks we can do.  

 

I thought the activity about privilege was really interesting.  We all had the opportunity to throw a paper ball into a trashcan, however because of where we seated it was more difficult for most of us to make it.  In fact, I think only two or three students made it.  This activity is a good way to understand privilege.  Because of privilege some people are able to be successful, while others are at a disadvantage.  I took an excerpt from one of my favorite authors Jodi Picoult, from her book Small Great Things that I think describes white privilege: “Did you ever think our misfortune is directly related to your good fortune? Maybe the house your parents bought was on the market because the sellers didn’t want my mama in the neighborhood. Maybe the good grades that eventually led you to law school were possible because your mama didn’t have to work eighteen hours a day, and was there to read to you at night, or make sure you did your homework. How often do you remind yourself how lucky you are that you own your house, because you were able to build up equity through generations in a way families of color can’t? How often do you open your mouth at work and think how awesome it is that no one’s thinking you’re speaking for everyone with the same skin color you have? How hard is it for you to find the greeting card for your baby’s birthday with a picture of a child that has the same color skin as her? How many times have you seen a painting of Jesus that looks like you? Prejudice goes both ways, you know. There are people who suffer from it, and there are people who profit from it.” 

privilege

This past week in class has been very interesting to me because I have been able to take a closer look at the privileges I have.  I feel very fortunate to live where I live, have clean drinking water, a job, and a college education.  I think there are times when people become embarrassed about the privilege they have, but I think it is important to accept and acknowledge privilege, and then think about ways to help everyone receive social justice and equality.  I hope we can all one day live in a society where everyone feels safe, and equal.

I really enjoyed listening to Patience speak on Friday.  He spoke about the history of apartheid, his background and accomplishments, and his personal stories.  At the end of class, Patience told us about a time where he went to a bar on Provo Center Street and they told him to leave because “black people weren’t allowed.”  When he told us this, my mouth dropped open because I could not believe the blatant racism.  I was talking to my husband about what it would be like to be kicked out of a restaurant because of the color of my skin.  I have never experienced racism before, and it makes me sick to think that Patience has been prejudiced against because of his skin color.  However, I am glad that Patience shared this experience because it makes me motivated to be a social activist and stand up for others and their rights.

cultural self-assessment

Abby Bridges

October 8, 2017

COMM 319G

Cultural Self Assessment

My name is Abigail Kristine Bridges and I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I spent my first 16 years of life there and then later moved to Alpine, Utah with my family when my dad’s job relocated us.  I am a caucasian woman from a middle class American family.  Most of my immediate and extended family has a deeply rooted Christian faith background.  Since I am from Las Vegas, many of my friends come from different race, class, and status backgrounds.  In my neighborhood cul-de-sac, I lived next to an African American family, a Thai family, a Jewish family, Armenians, Yugosloavians, a Chinese family, and Hawaiians.  My neighborhood and high school was extremely diverse and middle-class.  I was always surrounded by people from all walks of life: and I loved it.  Going to high school in Las Vegas was a great experience for me.  I learned a lot about the real world and was exposed to the hardships people face every single day. 

When I moved to Utah it felt like everything changed.  My family fit the stereotypical “Utah” model.  We were LDS, white, lived in a nice neighborhood, and had good jobs.  The move was actually very hard to me because everyone felt the exact same.  There is not a lot of diversity, especially in Alpine, Utah.  In the summer of 2012, my little sister broke her foot and shattered every single bone in her foot.  Obviously a broken bone is terrible in general, but what made this more terrible is the fact that our family did not have insurance at the time.  My dad had just lost his job and we were immediately forced into debt (it cost upwards of $100,000).  The following years were absolute hell.  My parents kept getting behind on their payments, and things began slowly spiraling out of control.  Here we were, a middle class family living in a beautiful home in Alpine, Utah, but barely being able to put food on the table.  Our phones, water, and gas were all shut off multiple times. I ended up taking a semester off of school to help my parents get back on their feet.  I paid the bills that I could afford, and tried to help out as much as I could.  We looked like your normal Utah family, but we were on food stamps and struggling to keep our head above water.  I remember one time at the grocery store, a cashier was extremely condescending once my mom handed over the EBT card.  I’m sure she thought we were freeloading off the government because we didn’t fit the “stereotypical food stamps family.”  While these 4 years of my life were stressful and horrendous, I wouldn’t take them back for a second.  I recognize and understand my privilege because of my skin color and background.  I get it.  But I also get what it’s like to be so poor you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.  I understand.  Those 4 years taught me how to work extremely hard and become more empathetic towards all humans.  In Las Vegas, there were homeless people at my high school but I never understood their reality until I came home one day to an eviction notice on our front door. 

Living in an area where most people were wealthy was very difficult.  Most kids that went to my high school are extremely wealthy and I think don’t understand the “real world.”  Most of the people I knew from high school never struggled with money.  Lone Peak High School became a place synonymous with “wealth, success, and status.”  For me, it was hard to be surrounded by so many that had no idea what was happening out in the real world.  When I hear that Utah is a “bubble,” I think this is what they mean. 

Luckily for us, things got better after those four days and we began to get out of our hole.  I had a taste of what the rest of the world is facing every. single. day.  Yet I will never fully understand other culture’s realities.  I will never know what it is like to be prejudiced against because of my skin color or the way I speak or the way I dress myself.

My husband and I were walking around Chinatown in Seattle a couple of weekends ago when a black man approached us on the street.  He asked us if we would participate in an experiment with us.  He stated that earlier that day, he walked in to a sushi restaurant and received many harsh looks and comments.  He said it was strictly because of the color of his skin, and that if we came in with him, that nothing would happen.  So we did, and no one said anything or looked our way.  I have never been fearful or hesitant to enter a store before, because I have never been mistreated because of my skin color.  But here is this man, who walked in by himself and was instantly prejudiced against.  This experience really hit home for me.  I have never been afraid of a police man before.  I have never had anyone turn me away because of the way I look.  Yet there are African Americans out there being prejudiced against every single day.  In an article titled, “My White Friend Asked me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege.  I decided to be Honest,”  Lori Hutcherson states, “As to you “being part of the problem,” trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. Just like nobody should be mad at me for being black. Or female. Or whatever. But what IS being asked of you is to acknowledge that white privilege DOES exist and not only to treat people of races that differ from yours “with respect and humor,” but also to stand up for fair treatment and justice, not to let “jokes” or “off-color” comments by friends, co-workers, or family slide by without challenge, and to continually make an effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so we may all cherish and respect our unique and special contributions to society as much as we do our common ground.”

I chose to focus on economic status and race in this paper because I think both of these characteristics affect the experiences that you will have.  I was raised and taught to treat everyone equally and with respect.  I was also raised to understand that not everyone will be able to have equal opportunities.  My understanding of these two groups is solely from my upbringing in both Utah and Las Vegas.  I believe that I saw both sides of the spectrum of race and economic status.  How can we ensure that everyone has an equal shot and opportunity in this life?  How do we address racism?  Can we end racism? 

I enjoy this class so much because it makes me think and become uncomfortable.  I want to continue to learn and be uncomfortable because I think it will give me the tools to stand up for others and what I believe in.  I believe that we should all try to be more empathetic, understanding and loving individuals.  I think this class has helped me understand the privilege and power that I have.  And while I wish that everyone was equal, and believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities, I understand that it is my responsibility to stand up for those who are minorities and don’t necessarily have the same privileges and opportunities that I do.    

Post 3- English Laws

 I think that as our country is becoming more and more diverse, it would be absolutely crazy to implement “English only” laws.  Not only would those laws divide and demean other cultures, the laws would go against what America is.  America is a nation of immigrants.  We are a nation that embraces freedom, equality, and acceptance, so to implement these laws would neglect the rich diversity in which our country has been blessed with.  

For my service learning project, I will be working with Ella on her project with “Because He First Loved Us.”  She came up with the idea of a self-love and self-portrait project: we will be taking pictures of the children and creating and decorating frames to place the pictures in.  This activity will help the children have self confidence and self love. I think this service project is such a beautiful idea! 

Chapter 3: I really liked reading about the variables that influence intercultural communication competence.  The variables included: cognitive complexity, ethnocentrism, empathy, interaction involvement, motivation, and positive global attitude.  When my group presents our project in class, we will be focusing on empathy.  Empathy is the “ability to put yourself in someone else’s proverbial shoes and experience the thoughts and emotions from that person’s perspective,” (page 53). 

Chapter 4:  I thought photo 4.1 and the caption was very interesting to read.  The caption says “Do you remember when you were not aware of cultural expectations?  Newborns come into the world without culture.  Yet, even at this young age, gender and class identities are being constructed through a blue bath mat, indoor plumbing and expensive toys.”   

Babakieuria video: I came ten minutes late to class so I had no idea what was going on in the Babakieuria.  I was extremely confused trying to figure out whether this was serious or satire, but once I heard the name “Babkieuria” things began to click for me.  The short film was a take on racial stereotypes between aboriginal Australians and Australians from European descent.  I thought it was very interesting to see the roles reversed. 

Hello!

My name is Abby Bridges Nielson.  I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Alpine, Utah my junior year of high school.  I went to Utah State for a couple of years before transferring down to Utah Valley University.. I love it here!  After switching my major three times, I can finally say that I LOVE what I am doing now- Speech Communications.  This is my senior year.  After I graduate, my husband and I have plans to move to Hawaii and maybe spend summers in Bali, Indonesia.  I am a yoga instructor and love living a holistic lifestyle.  I am very excited to take this class because I love learning about other cultures and am on the path to becoming the most compassionate and loving world citizen that I can be! 

In chapter one, the text touched on diversity.  Growing up in Las Vegas, I was surrounded by all different types of people.  My friends taught me a lot about their culture, and I am extremely grateful for it!  My next door neighbor was from Thailand and she taught me how they pray and worship.  At first I thought it was odd because it was so different from what I was accustomed to, but it helped me realize that everyone is different, and that’s what makes us human and so special.  My dad also introduced me to a lot of different cultures – through food.  When we lived in Las Vegas, I was about six years old when my dad and I started doing weekly date nights where we went and tried a new type of food from a different culture.  We had Ethiopian (that we ate with our hands and sat on the ground) and we ate a Vietnamese speciality, pho, where I first learned how to use chopsticks.  We ate Mexican cow tongue street tacos, buttered croissants from a local french bakery, curries that were so spicy I would cry, and countless bowls of Japanese ramen.  I truly believe that my weekly date nights with my dad opened my eyes to the world.  At six years old, through food, I was able to recognize how diverse this world truly is, and how fun it is to truly embrace all culture!

In chapter two, the idea of going into a country without any background knowledge was addressed.  Last summer, my sister and I spent a month in Bali, Indonesia.  While Bali has become fairly westernized, most of the surrounding areas are not.  One weekend, we took a little weekend trip over to the island Lombok, and had to learn a very hard lesson.  After spending most of the day walking around the island in little bikinis, and receiving many dirty glances, we did some research.  It turns out that Lombok is predominately Muslim, so our exposed bodies were extremely offensive and rude to the community.  We felt so terrible that we didn’t do research; our intent wasn’t to insult the community.  However, after this experience I have learned to do my research before entering a country that is foreign to me.