The Parker Edison Project / March 10, 2021
PHOTO COURTESY OF Parker Edison
Customs. If you're from a faraway place, it's quite possible a school teacher could be your first real guide into this new country. For someone moving to a new city, teachers can really shape their first impressions of a new culture. In this episode, we hear from an educator taking a holistic approach to teaching a special demographic. Then we stop for a cup of coffee to take note of the ways customs even play a part in what our minds imagine.
* Dan Harumi - the coffee beat
* Tres ‘Sojourn’ Hodgens - 2nd wind
* Oranje Space - Zoom
San Diego Refugee Tutoring: sdrefugeetutoring.com
James 'Opoetik' Stewart
The Get to Know Me Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/g2km-podcast/id1436863437
Show credits: Parker Edison (Host), Kurt Kohnen (Co-creator), Chris Reyes (Head Editor) and Tres ”Sojourn” Hodgens (Music Supervisor)
My name is...
So how are you?
...I see what you mean.
Yeah, I mean, you could to a wine or anything, you know.
This is the Parker Edison Project where we look at the tenets of culture and what really makes America great. This episode is about customs, how they shape us and our perception of people outside of our culture. For someone moving to a new country or even a city, their teachers can really shape their first impressions of this new culture. You start in City Heights, where a team of tutors are taking a holistic approach to educating a unique demographic. We'll speak to Robert, an educator facing the challenges of weaving American teaching practices and cultural understanding while welcoming an often overlooked population.
Oh, go ahead.
Sorry, who are you and what is SDRT?
My name is Robert Lee. I'm on the board of directors for San Diego Refugee Tutoring. It's a organization that supports students in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. The refugee, international population and our students, we support them and address educational and social injustice through holistic academic support.
Do you know what inspired the conception? What spawned it?
San Diego is one of the largest city in California that resettles refugees more than San Francisco, more than L.A. or than Sacramento.And it has this very rich history of supporting the international refugee community. Yet that story, that narrative oftentimes is unnoticed among those who live in San Diego and those who kind of call it their home. And now we reach out to more than one hundred students and we have tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday for these students throughout the school year.
Wow. Impressive. Really it is. Is there something important about students? Like is there a special part City Heights Place?
Yes, actually, I'm I'm from Chicago. And so I moved here about 12 years ago. And when I came to San Diego, I really didn't know the history of San Diego, the history of the different neighborhoods of San Diego. And when I got connected with this organization the first year that it was accepted, I realized that City Heights is it's different. It's so rich. You just walk down the street and you see 10 different languages being spoken.You see people wearing hijabs, keeping people wearing different ethnic wardrobes.
You hear different. I hear karaoke sung in Vietnamese down the street. It's so rich culturally. I kind of didn't know what that history. Where does it come from? One of the largest communities of refugees do resettle here in San Diego. And one of the reasons kind of traces back to the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s when a large number of Vietnamese refugees were brought into the California San Diego area. And the first neighborhoods that they started resettling in were several neighborhoods, including City Heights. And that started the foundation of support groups, refugee resettlement organizations and resources being anchored in that neighborhood to support initially the Vietnamese community. But each generation, every couple of years, you start to see resettlement groups of different ethnicities, different cultures. It kind of follows what civil war is going on in another part of the world. One area is suffering from genocide and and war and and discrimination. And that's kind of how the neighborhood evolves.
The first thing that makes me excited right there, when you're dealing with that type of variety with so many different cultures, what are some of the techniques that are used in the program to kind of unify the learning process?
It's a challenge. And we really do have to factor in a child's national, cultural and even family history of trauma that have really tragically kind of occurred with a lot of these students and these families. And that trauma follows the students into the classroom. And that mental health aspect is an even more complex component. Some of the students haven't gone to school prior to coming to the States. Have we have to ask the question constantly, how do we navigate through that to enhance their educational experience and then help them thrive educationally, which is ultimately our goal?
Absolutely. What's the average success rate for refugee students in the city right now?
pause. Between you and me, that was a loaded question. I know what the numbers are and they're bleak. City Heights has a very high poverty rate. Nearly 40 percent of its residents are living below. The poverty line is nearly a 30 percent dropout rate for refugee students. Look around the room you're in. However many people are in there, subtract a third. That's what's happening regularly to classrooms with refugee students.
I think success is probably a very, very relative term as far as our goals. And I think success is creating a place where the students can come and feel safe and protected and love and having them come back to see us. I think that's the biggest success. There's something really special about these students. We actually really try not to use the term refugee because it categorizes these students so much more than refugees, their bundles of joy. They are students and kids and children who are witty, who love to laugh, who desire friendship and who desire a relationship. It just melts your heart. And at least for me, that's what happened. Sounds like you invest in the students, they invest in you, and then that's the biggest priority. And then from that, you can add education in any subject. Yes, exactly. We really we realize that if a student meets a different tutor every week, there's that awkwardness and timidness and intimidation maybe of working with a different person and not knowing them. And so those are barriers as well with a student really be able to feel comfortable and let down their guards and really be able to focus on their on their school and their learning.
Are there other organizations that are offering these similar services?
There are, and they're absolutely wonderful. I kind of mentioned some of the resettlement organizations in the community in the area, for example, the ICRC, the the International Rescue Committee. And there are a lot of other wonderful organizations. I just met somebody from a new organization. They've been around for a year and a half called A New Vision. Urban Impact. City Heights Runners is a group that really focuses on high schoolers. Urban Life Ministries is a faith based organization that kind of pours into teens. Star Pals is an organization sponsored by the San Diego Police Department. All these organizations are kind of part of a team effort and but the needs are great and the workers are few. So we're definitely open.
How do you help to encourage or maintain the cultures among students?
That's a great question. We want to respect each student and family and share with them how valued they are as individuals and as people.
I've seen what you guys do, and it's this was an awesome opportunity to get to hear more about it. So I'm super excited to put this down. Thanks so much.
I heard you went to Hoover for a little while to just down the street from here. I do.
I did. I was only there for I think I did maybe half like a half semester of 10th grade and then I did continuation school.
So, you know, you know the area. And so, you know what what's what it's what it looks like and how it feels and defy that. And it's just really cool and such an honor that for you to allow us to just talk about it.
The term culture shock refers to the difficulty students can have fitting in as humans. We depend on customers to define who we are and without them we get lost. So if you're from a faraway place, it's quite possible school teacher could be your first real guide into this new country. By creating an environment of inclusion, educators not only provide new citizens with the space to thrive, they set a standard of understanding that ultimately reinforces the idea that all are truly welcome. As always, I'm interested in your feedback, send me your thoughts and insights at parker Edison on Twitter. That's PRKREdison . Also, if you'd like to volunteer or learn more about San Diego refugee tutoring, send them an email at San Diego refugee tutoring, dotcom. There's a link in the show's description and hang out. I'm going to grab a cup of coffee and I'll be right back to demonstrate how customs even play a part in our imaginations. Stay tuned. I love you.
I think I always will. Even now, I'm reeling from the effect that you have on the rest of my life. I'm different now. As badly as I want to feel the heat between us, I know exactly how this is going to end. Now streaming it platform collection Dotcom is the new filmshort 'Run Ric!' , a who's who of San Diego Talent, brought to you by the good people at Platform Collection.
You are now listening to the and Edison Project Project.
So, yeah, what was happening?
Welcome the black coffee. Can i take your order.
Yeah, let me get a let me let me get an Americano with two ice cubes.
Can I have your name, please, Jack. All right. We'll have your order in a little bit.
Hello. How are you doing? Hi, how are you? Oh, I. Welcome to Black Coffee. Can I take your order?
I would like a large ice mocha with an extra whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
Uh, would you like a gluten free sweet potato pie muffin to go with that?
Uh, no, thank you. Sure. All right. And have your name, please?
All right. We'll have your order in a second. Have a good day. Thank you.
Next. All right. Let me see. what is this? How about you let me get the peppermint mocha flat latte. Can I get that with, like, soy milk?
yeah. And can I have your name?
Yeah, it's Casj.
all right. Sounds good. Have you ordered a little bit.
all right. can I take your order? We have a long line.
Yes, you can. Can I get a chai tea latte on the ice, please?
All right. Have your name, Dahflow.
All right. Sounds good. Well, we'll get your order and see you in a second.
Let's try an experiment. I'm going to play back to drink orders, I want you to picture the scene from what you see in your head. so would you imagine. And gestures. Hairstyles. our minds make movies of the things we hear, we usually use customs to fill in the missing details this year where our customers are from and find out just how close the mental picture was to real life.
My name is Casey, but I go back to. I'm originally from Dallas to Georgia, currently in San Diego, California, im Op from Baltimore, Maryland and California.
So my name is Casj and I am originally from Washington, D.C. via England and Greece and some other places.
And then right on back, my name is Adolfo from New York City. My mother and father were born and raised in the Dominican Republic.
For the record, they're all black. I'll let the flow break it down for you.
I'm putting this segment together because this big discussion about custom and culture and the terms like black and African-American when it comes to those. How do you describe yourself black? I would describe myself as a black white history, my history, the history of my people, my culture, what was done to us, how African-Americans think doesn't ring with me. Why just the terminology? And I don't know, just it just feels weird when you're an African-American, it's like black.
I don't know. To me, there's a statement to it. I agree. That's a term that White used to make them feel at ease, because I believe to them that word black has a deep, deep history that they don't want to back up on. So African-American is the easier way for it to roll off their tongue without having to do like any mental research to what we really are, is complex term
African-American doesn't acknowledge all the places slaves were traffic from. Whether accidental or not, this hinders descendants of slaves from connecting with their roots. It also lets early trafficker's gloss over some rather nasty past actions. I think these days, black is less of physical description and more emotional..'Black' as in blackout, a condition that affects the memory characterized by a sense of loss. It impairs your ability to form new memories. I think that's the 'black' Dahflow is using and the stigma that the term African-American skirts.
It just dawned on me it's like it's a racist word to them and they know it.
There's a stigma attached to the word black African American. Not much of a stigma. There's something to that. I never even thought that to be like that's a that's an easier umbrella to kind of fit everybody in. It's a it's a safe, which is like kind of ignorant to me because you've got to ask yourself, OK, well, where did they come from and how did they get there? We're not all Americans. I'm sorry that that's factual.
And we're not all African. We don't all come from Africa. Maybe that's part of it, too. Exactly.
And that goes back to your original question. Are you black or you African American?
We have regional habits like the way we dress or speak and they become customs. You get a bunch of customs and those become a culture that we pass on for decades. Sometimes centuries is a tangent, but numbers are in order by their value. The number two is between one and three because there's no other way to get from one to three letters. We just think of in that order the song we sing, the ABCs two was written in the eighteen hundreds. Two hundred years ago, somebody was able to remember the alphabet in that order and we've been teaching it that way ever since. That's how quickly customs are created and how long they can last. Speaking of customs here at the Park Service project, it's customary to feature a new musical guest. We'll listen. So we got musician and podcast host Bizzy Balboa talking with Oranje Space about his recent foray into music. Apparently, it started with a speech therapist recommended singing as a tool man interested. Check out this clip.
Thanks for listening in to the Parker Edison Project. This is a Bizzy Balboa of the Get to Know Me podcast. And we're joined today with Oranje Space recording artist out of San Diego, California. Hi, guys.
Yes, my name is on MySpace. I'm originally from Imperial Valley California. I've been living here for two and a half years now. I'm twenty two for a long time. I went by Rickie Garcia, which is just my real name. The reason for this to be on Oranje Space was I'm a very visual person and I kind of put myself in a very creative and a visual mind space when I'm making music and it's always very like a colorful kind of kind of experience. And my favorite color is that look at that time, the my songs and everything that I was doing, the mood that I was in was all kind of in an orange tone and an orange like feel. And I couldn't really explain it, but I knew that that was the that was the direction that I was going in.
When did you realize that music is something that you wanted to pursue?
I've been playing instruments and so at that since the fourth grade, I didn't know that I wanted to pursue it until I was six, 16.I was always doing music in the background and it was something that I was doing, like it was for fun. And I realized that doing music was. A. It was like the only it was one of the only things that made me feel like I had some kind of potential like value.
In what ways did the speech therapy help you with the singing?
It was something that I wouldn't say, like it necessarily, like, took it away, obviously.It definitely helped me understand why I stuttered. And it definitely helped me understand. Like how. How it works and so on when it comes to music, I think I was like when I was in high school and my speech therapist, she had said, like, you know, to say these sentences in the form of a song, of a song. And so that's when she was like, so you realize that when you're singing or you're talking is completely different, even though I'm using my voice, the speech side of it is from the left side of their brain and the music is on the right side of the brain. And they're totally, totally work. They totally work. Differently, I think now. I guess I would say still very much do us studder, but now I've learned kind of small ways to get around it. And so, yeah.
Could you tell us a little bit about the song that we're about to hear and you know the story behind it?
Yeah. So this song is called, the song is called Zoom, and it came out in October. It's something that kind of just reflects on my life in the past two to a year and a half. So, yeah.
Where can we find you? My Instagram is always based. Oranje Space. That's my Instagram. That's my Twitter. You can find me on Spotify under the same name Apple. Apple also. Everything's going to be under Oranje Space.
You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen, Oranje Space.
the Parker Edison Project is produced and hosted by yours truly, Parker Edison and the good people at Platform Collection.
Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts if you have any comments or questions.
Visit the Parker Edison Project dot com or on IG at the project. This program has been made possible in part by the KPBS's Explore Local Content Fund Kurt Kohnen is audio production manager Kinsee Morlen, is podcast coordinator, the amazing Lisa Jane Morrisette, said his operations manager and John Decker is director of programing.
This episode goes out to Marcus KutFather Tufono, Zev Love X, King Geedorah, Victor Vaughn and Metalface the motherf****n supervillain. Salute.
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The Parker Edison Project
What comes to mind when you think of American culture? The Parker Edison Project works to expand the cliché answer to that question. It's a podcast that zooms way in on what really makes a culture — food, music, style, sex, fashion and more. Join host and co-creator Parker Edison for insightful conversations about creativity and community, all through the lens of Black America. This is the Parker Edison Project, a sonic exploration of what's considered American, where each episode starts with a thought-provoking talk and ends with a musical bang.