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First They Killed My Father

For a Monopoly assignment, I watched the Netflix original movie First They Killed My Father. My big brother’s girlfriend Tara is Cambodian, and actually plays a fairly prominent role in the show. She is one of the child soldier trainers.

The movie takes place in Cambodia during the massive genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime. If you don’t know this part of world history, the basic premise is that the dictator Khmer Rouge led a massacre between 1975 and 1979 that killed anywhere from one and a half to three million people. The regime targeted anyone with an education, artistic ability, wealth, and free thinking in general. The idea was to create a race fully dependent on the government, so that there would be ultimate control without an uprising. There were, of course, those who came through, Tara’s parents included.

The movie was a terrifying (fictional) account of a wealthy family and their experience in the war, with an emphasis on a young girl. You watch the horrible living conditions, blood, betrayal, and small miracles unfold and emotions run high. The whole movie is in Khmer (the native language of Cambodia), but with English subtitles, and was directed by Angelina Jolie. It is an eye-opening film about one of the most recent and horrific genocides to have ever taken place, that almost no one in my generation knows about. It’s educational, emotional, and inspiring, and I highly recommend giving it a watch.

February 18, 2018   No Comments

Post 4

One thing that I have noticed thus far being in this class is my own conscious incompetence for other cultures. This class has been a good reminder to me that I get so caught up in my own culture that I often compare other cultures to my own. I think it is really easy to be a victim of this when you don’t really know any better. I know I am not the best at it, but I am making an attempt to change this. My standpoint, this far in my life, has contributed to seeing the world through my own particular scope and sometimes I don’t realize my own privilege within my own social construct. Listening to Adonica speak made me realize how much potential I actually have. I often feel like the world is out to get me and I have it pretty hard, but listening to what this woman went through made me realize that is she can do it, considering all of her struggles, then I can certainly do it too. I was inspired by Adonica’s desire to change her life around and It just seemed like every time she got dealt a bad hand, she managed to make the best of it.  That was really really  admirable to me. To have the support that others typically do not have, makes me feel incredibly grateful. I’ll definitely think twice about taking my privileges for granted. 

February 18, 2018   No Comments

Post 4

I believe the biggest thing that has stuck out to me thus far in the semester is how us, at white Americans, “other” everything that is different to us. I never noticed I did this until beginning this class, but it is definitely prevalent. In chapter 1, we talked about the different kinds of diversity. We identified a few as age, language, religion, family background, and socioeconomic background. These are all ways we can “other” people. I identify most with people who are my age, are working towards the same goal as me, those that speak English, people that are like me. When someone is not like me, when they are older or younger than me, or if they are a different ethnicity than me, I tend to “other” them. As I have taken this class, I have tried to stop “othering” those people that are different than me because it is nor fair. I actually could have a lot in common or get along really well with these people but I shut them down quickly because they are different than me.

I believe this ties to Adonica Limon’s because before she started her education, she othered those that were in school. They were different than her. They were younger, smarter, more determined than her, so she was worried about being around different people than her all the time. When she started her education, she herself was othered! She was referred to the multicultural center because she was not the typical young, white student.  I was inspired by her story because she never gave up and has become very successful, despite her “differences”. I think we all need to be aware of othering and not let it get in the way of our impressions of people.

February 18, 2018   No Comments

Post 4

Something that has stood out to me this semester so far is how important it is to study cultures and communication within them and between different ones. The textbook started with a section of the first chapter on why it is important to study this. One thing that was highlighted in that section was that we all are going to encounter someone from a different culture, even if we never leave our state or country. Within our own class we have diversity, and many people who grew up differently from one another. I am very interested in people and cultures and how they differ from my own. I love learning about the people and their culture.

Another thing that has stood out to me this semester and has been one of my favorite things about this class so far is everything that we are learning can be connected back to our lives. One of my favorite things about communication is that I have no doubt that I am going to use what I am learning in my classes. In every single class, we have had students have shared personal experiences that relate to what we are talking about. When I sit in class I can think back to different times in my life where I used or could have used something we are learning about. I think that this proves once again that classes and subjects like this need to be studied because it is something that everyone can use every single day.

The number one thing that stood out to me from Adonica Limon’s video is that even though culture and background are a huge part of our makeup, it does not define who we are and what we can be. It is unfair to people to assume who they are and what they can be based on their background. That should not be a deciding factor on who can go to school, be a doctor, politician, and many other factors. At one point in the video, she said that many people said to her that she should pick a different career choice other than a doctor. I can’t imagine how devastating that would be to hear. She had a choice to follow into those stereotypes of her culture and not do anything to change. She had to work harder than most because she had to prove to some people that she can do anything that she sets her mind to. Because she believed in herself and others believed in her she has been able to accomplish many things and sounds like she is going to continue to do that. So many people’s lives are going to change for the better because of all of her hard work. 

When she discussed how many people would describe a terrorist as a man who looks like he is from the Middle East. This reminded me of an encounter with a person. We were in a group and he was describing what this person looked like. Instead of describing him, he just said “a terrorist looking guy”. I stopped him and asked him what he meant by that statement. He looked at me a little shocked, and then repeated the sentence again, and finally went on to describe a man who he assumed to be Middle Eastern. I then informed him (nicely) that he should try to stay away from using the stereotype definition of a terrorist to describe an innocent man he saw. I am not close to this person so I have no idea whether this is a common thing or just an example of unconscious competence that we’ve read and talked about in class.

February 18, 2018   No Comments

What I am Learning

So far this semester, I have been realizing how important it is to be aware. It’s important to be aware of the cultures that we are apart of and the cultures that are among us. It’s important to be respectful and aware of issues that different cultures may face. I believe the more aware we, the more empathic and understanding we can become. I feel we are more likely to learn, grow and progress if we are aware. This is only effectively however, if we can act once we are aware. Thoughts and intentions are good first steps but then there needs to be action especially when it comes to communicating inter-culturally. 

Listening to Adonica Limon was powerful. Having gone through so much through her life growing up it is amazing that she is so successful. She has overcome a lot. She also brought up struggles and issues that are faced by those that are in poverty, single parents, first generation college students and of multiple races. Here are the take away points that impacted me:

  • Find your passion
  • Be congruent (do what you said you would)
  • Ask questions
  • Live with abundance and gratitude
  • Pray in whatever way you choose
  • Love wholeheartedly even when it hurts (something you can control. You can always love)
  • Color with integrity (show up and get your 100%)

I’m grateful for Adonica’s example and willingness to share her story. To be able to better understand and communicate inter-culturally we need to share and listen to our stories. 

February 18, 2018   No Comments

Diversity Not Ignorance – Education and Service

For this blog post I have been asked to write about what has stood out to me most this semester and also what stood out to me from Adonica Limon’s video.  I hope I can write about both of these topics without sounding like a rambling loon. I think this is my favorite class this semester. So much has stood out to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Adonica share her story. I wish I could have been there – I have so many questions I would love to ask her. 

Probably what has stood out to me the most so far this semester is the presentation given by the group who spoke about Ebonics. Because others have judged me in the past for my poor vocabulary, or my poor use of grammar, I have been lead to believe that the proper use of grammar and a large vocabulary are signs of intelligence. This of course would mean the inverse is also true – improper use of  grammar and a limited vocabulary are a sign of ignorance. However, this class has helped me to  begin to realize my former beliefs are false. I am embarrassed to admit that I was a bit judgmental as I listened to Elijah Miles speak at the MLK Commemoration. I felt the university should be more responsible in finding keynote speakers – if someone is going to speak at a university, they should be educated enough to use proper grammar. How ironic that the very next class we had a presentation on Ebonics and Culture in Conversation. By the end of the class I realized I was the ignorant one. I am so grateful for this class. I am grateful to learn about speech codes and code switching. A person should not be judged by their conversation if you have not taken the time to find out about their background and the community they come from. Do they have a limited vocabulary because they are not very educated? Or is English their second language, and given the opportunity to express themselves in their native tongue, the would come across extremely eloquent and intelligent? Is someone uneducated in the proper use of grammar, or are they simply using the speech code of their community and background? The Ebonics presentation and chapter 5 helped me to recognize that culture in conversation does not represent ignorance, but instead represents diversity! 

Adonica Limon is an extremely impressive woman. I would love to meet her. I feel like she would be a kindred spirit. She is passionate about two of the same things I am passionate about – education and service. I could relate to her on so many levels. I love how she knew she wanted a college education, but had no idea what how to begin. I love how she asked questions, asked for help, sought out resources. I also wanted an education, but had a negative story playing in my head that kept me from perusing a degree for many years – It’s too late, I’m too old now, how would I pay for it, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I’ve missed my chance, I should have done this years ago…            It is so intimidating to walk into a university as a non-traditional student and start the process. I am grateful for the many resources on campus that help me navigate this process that was not modeled for me growing up. Adonica is a perfect example of no excuses. Anyone can make a list of reasons why pursuing a degree is not possible. But those reasons are only excuses. Adonica overcame so many obstacles and did not make up excuses for herself. I am so impressed how Adonica was motivated to get an education to be able to serve others. Yes, she knew an education would help create a better life for her sons, and allow her to earn a better living. But she chose a path that would give her opportunities to help and serve others. I also wanted to come back to school because I felt I have been under employed for so many years. However, money and wealth should not be the only motivation. Using education to better yourself and in turn serve and better the lives of those around you is a much better motivator. 

February 17, 2018   No Comments

Post 4

I really like studying intercultural communication and learning about different cultures. It just reminds me there is a world behind my own. I think the thing that has stuck out to me the most so far this semester is the babakueryia video. It really just showed me a different perspective on what others perspectives on the world could be like. Being white I found it interesting to consider the roles of black supremacy and whites reversed so that the blacks were all in power and the whites weren’t. 

On thing that really stuck out to me from Adonica’s video was when she was talking about her experience of first starting college. How she didn’t know what she was doing. How she took lots of credits because she didn’t know how many was full time. How she thought 40 credits was full time because full time work is 40 hours. I really connected with that. Even though I have struggled with that specifically I have had similar feeling experiences where I didn’t know how to navigate a new experience or understand what was expected of me. And as a result I ended up doing more or things way different than what I needed to.

I think this connects to the idea of habitus that we talked about in class. Adonica didn’t understand what it was like to be a college student but she still had a set of ideas about how that world worked and how she fit (or in her case, didn’t fit) in it. And as Adonica went on she realized what was really expected and adapted to that, which I think led to her feeling more comfortable with college since she has gone on and accomplished so much she since then.

February 17, 2018   No Comments

Post 4 – Adonica Limon

I have learned a lot so far in the semester and certain concepts have stood out to me. I really enjoyed learning about black language, and different words around the U.S. I found it really interesting how little I knew about black language. It can be hard sometimes to think outside of your culture and realize that there are so many other languages and things going on in others. I thought the game was fun where we heard a word from black language and had to figure out what it meant. That, and the video we watched where people said what they called certain objects. I have really liked learning about different cultures and how we just need to be respectful and appreciative of them!

Adonica Limon’s story was incredible and inspiring and I really enjoyed the video. When she said she went to UVU and was told to the multi-cultural center, she was confused at first because she didn’t consider herself multi-cultural. I think it is interesting that we don’t really consider ourselves as the ones that are “different” until something points it out. I don’t feel different and even when I travel to foreign countries I sometimes still feel like they are the “different” ones. Yet to other cultures, I am the one that is different. Her story really opened my eyes to the blessings we receive being here in the U.S. and at a University. It was even more incredible to hear about what kind of culture she grew up in and how she didn’t really know anything about college. She thought full time was 40 credits. She was frustrated with herself because she could only do 18 at a time while working full time. She even did 30 at one point! Because she didn’t know any different she pushed herself and was able to pull it off.  She earned two Bachelor degrees a Masters and now earning her Doctorate.

I also got to thinking about different cultural dimensions and how it applied to Adonica’s story. Time and physical space are going to be different in Adonica’s culture than they are in mine and each is going to feel different to the other person. At the end she talked about her culture back home in Hawaii and how she has over 200 first cousins, and that in her culture everyone is considered a cousin, aunt or brother and sister even if they aren’t. Last night I went to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and there were probably 15-20 of a Polynesian family sitting at a table and my husband asked them if they were having a family reunion and they said they weren’t they were just hanging out. I just realized how different cultures can be. They were all so friendly and talkative and just having a good time with so many people. Im not sure I can think of a time I went to dinner with 20 friends and family members and it wasn’t for a special occasion. 

I really enjoyed listening to Adonica and her journey to where she is today and I love using concepts and discussions from the class to notice more culture in my everyday life.

February 17, 2018   No Comments

Post 4 Adonica Limon

One of the largest things that has stood out to me this semester, probably because I am white and male, is the concept of privilege. I know we haven’t actually gotten to the chapter about this yet but I feel like it’s been talked about a lot already. I don’t think privilege of any kind can really be quantified because it’s so massive and relates to every aspect of life. Which is why it’s hard to understand but you can see a little more clearly how it affects certain aspects of life. For instance, I’ve had people tell me, you seem like a future CEO, or you seem like you could be do well in business. As I think back to those moments a portion of those comments was related to my being white and male. Some part of me wanted to give the credit to my personality or my work ethic and although I think those contributed, I think I’ve discounted how much my race, ethnicity, gender, or social class played a role. I think it would have been more difficult for someone to say that to a Hispanic, or African American or even a woman of any race/ethnicity that had the same charisma or personality or work ethic that I do. All that being said, I am not claiming to be exceptional in any way, I am just making the point that my life experiences have been laced with bias and in a subtle way I looked past it sometimes knowingly and other times unknowingly.

One other concept that we’ve covered that has stuck out to me this semester is the idea of code switching. Code switching is interesting because it happens seamlessly and I hadn’t previously associated it with learning a new language. When we learn how to code switch, and I would be bold enough to say most of us at some degree code switch daily, we end up learning new words or seeing words we already knew differently. We learn to associate how the meaning of certain words changes based on context, and even geographical location. Even though we may all be speaking the same language you have to constantly be changing your use of that language to be appropriate in the situation at hand.

Adonica Limon’s speech was really hard for me to watch, but at the same time incredibly inspiring and eye opening. It was hard to watch because my heart ached as she talked about how difficult her life has been. I honestly have never been in her shoes in almost any context. It was hard for me to relate as a white, male from Orem Utah to a half white, half Hawaiian female who wasn’t accepted in either culture very well. I don’t feel I can relate because I am a member of the dominant race, ethnicity, and religion for my area. I have never had to wonder if people accepted me, the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. So it was eye opening to think about those people who are partially white and partially another race and how they feel about being trapped between two races and subsequent cultures.

Throughout the speech you could feel the love and appreciation she had for UVU and some of the wonderful people in her life that helped her and guided her to become who she is today. I appreciated what she said about the resources that are available to students who are first time college kids from their families or are from difficult circumstances and how they can get help.

I did think it was interesting that she mentioned she looked at successful people that she knew and wanted to do what they did. It reminded me of the concepts from this semester about how culture affects our view of power, status, and success. Ultimately we measure what is happening good and bad around us based on cultural values and norms. Adonica saw that those who were going to college and receiving degrees were more successful. She compared peoples home sizes and life opportunities and came to the conclusion that she needed to go to school. It’s funny because she wasn’t taught that, she had to learn it on her own. That’s something that I take for granted. My parents taught me how to be successful in life which has really given me a leg up on someone like Adonica. From foster care to marrying young to an abusive husband, to sleeping in a homeless shelter with her children Adonica really had a tough road getting to where she is today. She’s emerged as a winner despite her circumstances which is the note I’d like to conclude with. Adonica is an inspiration because not only did she come through hard times and figure out how to rise above the difficulty, she is now succeeding at a high level working on her doctorate and making huge strides in the medical world.

I appreciated her life story and it’s helped give me more perspective on life and what hardship is.



February 16, 2018   No Comments

Everyone has a story to tell.

Something that has stood out to me this semester is the importance of understanding that everyone has a story to tell. Our background affects the future and our human experience can be enriched as we try to understand one another.  We can understand so much about the world around us because of other peoples past experience. I recently started a job which requires me to communicate with individuals all around the world. This class helps me to understand how I can better communicate with them and have a greater understanding for these people!

I really enjoyed watching the lecture from Adonica Limon. I think that as I have gone through this class and also watching this video helped me realize that there is a lot more injustice that happens all the time with all people of inter-racial groups. For some reason in my head I didn’t realize how much interaction there is between all different inter-cultures. I think that there are many people who feel similar to Adonica because they are not sure where they belong. Watching this lea cute made me even more grateful for my upbringing and circumstances. I have so much to be grateful for, and I often don’t remember how blessed I really am. Her determination is so inspiring. There is so much that we can learn from different cultures and we can completely change our lives because of individuals around us.

February 15, 2018   No Comments