Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Not Everyone Can or Should Live in Utah

That's just a fact. Many people have said it. And I agree, not everyone belongs here. This is the place for those who can hold their own. For self starters, high esteem holders and pioneers. It's a place for the tough, the ground breakers and those who have learned to endure.
What I dislike about Utah, is the lack of diversity. It's also what I like about Utah. I live in Utah because if diverse people keep moving because of the lack of diversity, it will never be diverse. I like being a pioneer in that sense. I like paving the way for future generations and challenging people to stretch their minds and open them a little further than they would have.

Each day Utah is growing with different cultures and beliefs. I think it was my visit to the Farmers Market this summer that made me realize what a microcosm Salt Lake City is.

Quite a few people out there think of utah as the land of the Omish & Quackers, and a state full of Polygamized Laura Ingalls in true little house on the prairie fashion. The know there's alot of Mormons here and the myths they carry about the mormon determines their beliefs about the state of Utah:

Myth: Mormons can't watch TV, Listen to the Radio, use computers or have any of the modern convenineces.

Sorry folks this is untrue. Not only can enjoy those things just as the rest of the world, Utah remains on the cutting egdge of technology and technological findings. As a matter of fact the TV was invented by a mormon. To take things a step further, so was the word processor, cd/dvd, radio, video games and many other things enjoyed in the modern world. in less than a 20 mile radious from where I type this are the businesses of Intel, E-bay, Verizon, Discover Card,Oracle. Also about 40 minutes south is Novell and Corell aka Word Perfect.

Myth: Mormons can't drink soda/pop.
Sorry, wrong again. We can and do drink sodas. Some of us even make our own rootbeer and sarsparilla soda. We are encouraged to stay away from anything that may have an addictive element, such as caffiene

Myth: Mormons Can't eat meat
That's just crazy. We eat meat. The first KFC restaurant is in SLC, I pass it quite often. Many of the men enjoy the hunting of elk, and deer as well as fishing. Some people even raise their own. Me? I personally go to the store and purchase mine just as most of the world does.
Back in the day when meat was hard to come across the pioneers would focus on vegitables, fruits and grains in the spring and summertime when they were plentiful to grow, and then would save meat for winter time when fruits, vegitables and grains weren't so easy to come across. When you think of it that way, it practially logical, yeah?

Myth: Utah is full of religious fanatical farmers.
There is some farming. I see more of it in Michigan, my home state actually in terms of big farms anyway. Residences have small gardens, which is again common sense in the money department and organic department.
Even our church leaders are Doctors' Lawyers, Scientists, Editors and such. We really are in a state of industry, Literally. The beehive is the perfect symbol for Utah.

Myth: Utah is full of nothing but mormons.

That's true. This state is full of Mormons, Jack-mormons, non-mormons, less active mormons, dry mormons, fundamentalist mormons... you name it everyone here is some kind of mormon. Dont tell The Seventh-Day Adventist, Catholics, Greek and Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Baptist, Protestant, Penticostal people down the street. They might get upset about it because they will testify to you that they are indeed NOT mormons and they are indeed here in Utah.

Myth: It's against the law to drink or smoke in Utah and they don't have clubs.

Really? Because I've had enough smoke puffin drunks come up to me in the club asking for a dance. Yes there are clubs, bars, pubs and all the stuff you'd find anyplace else. The law that just passed is no smoking allowed indoor anymore. I LOVE IT! That means we can go to the clubs dancing and not smell like smoke!

Oh and the mythe about mormons not being allowed to sing or dance also false. Have you see the Mormons on "American Idol" and "So you think you can dance?" Utah produces some pretty talented people.

Back to my blog Title:not everyone can or should live in Utah. I believe that wholeheartidly. Utah is not the place for the average Joe. It is thriving and cutting edge in so many ways. However it is lacking in others. And so are many other states. I've heard Utah called the Whitest State in the Country. It's almost as though the media plays it out that way because of the Mormon Population.
The states with the least amount of black people in order are as follows:
North Dakota
South Dakota
New Hampshire

Utah is further up on the list than I thought. Utah is a prime location for anyone who has the spirit of pioneering and educating. It is prime for anyone who admires MLK, Malcom X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman or anyone else who welcomed the chance to make changes needed in this world. The best thing about it is... there is less resistance and an desire to learn and diversify. Not many people can handle that. I welcome the opportunity to make changes for the better and to be a force in the growing of this place. I like being involved on ground floor and first hand events and programs that help Diversity Utah. And I like that my daughter can relate some of her experiences to those of the civil right era in terms of seeing and being a part of some firsts for the State of Utah.
The first black student body president of BYU is a friend of ours. He was elected only 2 years after ole' Miss elected their first student body president. And ole miss is FILLED with the black population.

The first black female Student body president of My daughter's high school refer to me as Aunt Karyn and are my daughter,s best friends (since 3rd grade)My Daughter chose not to run as part of the student body because she wanted to focus on being her Laurel Class president which meant even more to her and made just as much progress as far as church was concerned. They are making history in their own way. I'm not so sure they'd have the opportunity someplace else. It's good for them, for their self esteem and it's good knowing they are making a difference not only in their community, but in the world.
Not everyone can be a Rosa or Malcom. Some people can't stand the heat and should stay out of the kitchen.

Another thing I like about Utah are the hometown and family values. Monday nights all over the state are riddled with family discounts and encourage family togetherness. I like that the whole state practially shuts down on Sunday, the Lord's day. Encouraging worship and rest from every day labors. Remembering the Sabbath day, and to keep it holy. I like the community of sharing and caring. I know that if I'm out shoveling my driveway, one of the neigbor guys will come out in a hurry and help.
I like living in a place where we make quilts for the homeless and have food drives for the community food banks and you can actually trust most strangers. It's your friends you have to look out for! (just kiddin!)
So there in an old time neigborly feeling with ice cream socials and dances at the local Churches and gymnasiums on Saturdays. I like friends who get together on a monthly basis to strengthen ties and bond. And I like knowing that if I'm sick or become bed restricted for whatever reason that my whole neigborhood practically has my back. I can't get that in typical anywhere USA. And let's face it, neither can you. There are some who are that fortunate. But most of my friends outside of Utah aren't that fortunate. And that's ok, some don't want to be. But I do. In a way, Utah has spoiled me: Good Values, Good recreation, Good Health Standards, Good Work Ethic, Good job opportunities. There's plenty of bad, just like anyplace else. But the Good here out weights ALOT of the good other places I've lived.
Not everyone can or should live in Utah. BUT I CAN!


Shankar said...

Great post. I wanted to move to Utah a few years ago (to go to BYU), but the fates had other plans for me (more European and Asian adventures). I am determined to move there at some point in my life, even if it is only for a short spell. There is so much good there of which I want to partake.

ShaBANG said...

Thanks! Utah has much to learn, BUT Alot of people can learn from Utah as well. It really is a fascinating place to live.

Lucy said...

What a great post! I love Utah. It is 'home' for me more than any other state. Does it have it's problems? Sure. But what state doesn't. I would love to move back there. I don't think that's going to happen.

Kristin said...

Great post! I love being back home in Utah. I love the David can go to school and not have everyone's boobs shoved in his face. I love that people are so friendly and that most places are clean. I like that there aren't abandoned buildings everywhere. (You can see my post on Texas vs. Utah for more of what I love and miss.) Thanks for adding a little diversity. I miss seeing you every Sunday.

P.S. I didn't know you knew the Ojukas. We've known them since they first immigrated to the U.S. Their dad (sad story) went to BYU with my dad.

Further The Kingdom said...

Here’s a million dollar question – If you were to die right now, would you qualify for the celestial kingdom? If you’re like many Mormons, you’re not sure. You try hard to be as good as possible, but you still don’t know if you’ve done enough. If the Book of Mormon is really scripture, this hope will always elude you. Alma 11:37 says God cannot save you in your sins. Are all of your sins forgiven? Moroni 10:32 says you must be perfected in Christ, which can only be done by denying yourself of “all ungodliness”. Have you done that? Do you repent on a regular basis? Is so, then it is clear that you sin on a regular basis, since only those who break the commandments need to repent. 1 Nephi 3:7 states that you are able to keep His commandments. In fact according to D&C 25:15, you are required to keep them continually! Since you haven’t done this so far, why assume you will in the future? Of course, we should all try to be holy; but if you think that sinning less will qualify you to live in God’s presence, you are mistaken (Gal 3:1-11). The assumption that good works are required for forgiveness only cheapens Christ’s atonement, making it nothing more than a partial payment. God chooses to justify us by faith. Jesus alone does the “perfecting” (Heb 10:14). God gives peace to those who trust in Him alone. If you don’t have this peace, it’s probably because at least a part of you trusts in yourself. Questions? Visit us at www.gotforgiveness.com

ShaBANG said...

*sigh*. You know for the most part I leave up all comments because I'd for people to know I'm open minded and willing to accept other people have other beliefs. But I HATE spam: Religious, health, business related or otherwise. If someone wants to have a discussion, a real one and not just drop some pre copied and pasted message they put on every other blog I welcome it. BUt this crap in the above comment, not even related to the conversation at hand, I don't put up with it for the most part. Since it's a personal blog, I expect people to get personal and not general advertising. To me, it's coward's move. And for the record I left them a comment as well.

Lucy said...

i got one of his 'spams' on my blog also. I'm not as kind as you are since it really ticked me off. But with these people, it does no good to argue so I just deleted him. But I also ratted on him with Blogger and with whoever runs Mormon Blogs where he gets his addresses. Probably didn't do any good. These people are nuts.

ShaBANG said...

Meh, "Let them worship, how, where or what they may..." ;) He can only bruise heels as far as I'm concerned.

John Pack Lambert said...

A Swahili branch was just organized in the Salt Lake City area. Utah is not as diverse as some places, but the level of diversity in Utah is growing. I knew more African-Americans at BYU than I did in high school.
However, that is partly due to the fact I just knew more people at BYU, and partly due to the extremely racially polarized nature of Metro Detroit until quite recently.
I will say unequivocably there were no African-Americans in my elementary school until I was in thrid grade, and then there was one in the entire school. Up to that point the only African-Americans I had known were the Edwards family who were members of our ward. Then they created a seperate branch in Detroit, and there were no more African-Americans in my ward.
Yet, I was schooled in a diverse environment. Over 40% of the students at my high school had native languages other than English. In descending order from highest to lowest the languages spoken were Chaldean, Arabic, Albanian, Macedonian, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Serbian, Romanina and Tagalog.
Most of the people in my high school did not consider themselves "white". The Italians did not accept that moniker, and I think even the people of Polish ancestry were not unanimous in accepting it. On the other hand I knew someone whose father was from Hungary, was fully accepting of himself as "white" and accused the Assitant Principal who was Albanian (a native of Montenegro, whose brother had been at one point detained by the Yugoslavian authorities for having been involved in a pro-Kosovo independence protest in the United States, but that is another sotry) of being "racist against white people".
Of course then there were the racial imperialists, like one of our school counselers who would try to brow-beat the Macedonians, Chaldeans, Albanians, Greeks, Egyptians and just about everyone else into marking "white" on standardized test forms.
While my brother's marking "Utah Ethnic Mormon" as his race seemed a bit extreme, I have to plead guilty of having marked my self Native American on the 2000 Census since I can show that one of my ancestors in the generation that I have 1.024 ancestors was Native American.
Since President Hinckley and I share that ancestor, he is probably more Native American than me (I assume since he is 70 years older than me he probably is closer to that ancestor, but it does not always work that way) so I definantly do not agree with forced identity.
I personally if asked would encorage anyone who has any question whether they are "white" to not mark that item on the census, or at least mark any other racial item they feel like.
I have to admit the day I got the most frustrated at the census was when I learned that they misrepresent the data collected. People marked "other" for their race and wrote in "Arabic" or "Lebanese" are counted as "white".
Thus, at least in Metro-Detroit, and probably in other locations the census reports on the percentage of "non-Hispanic whites" masks more than it reveals.
Sorry this was so long, but I am constantly trying to undermine the binary view of race.

Anonymous said...

They are not "Omish" and Quackers" it is Amish and Quakers. don't be disrespectful by calling other religious groups improper names.

ShaBANG said...

Chill! That was a product of my many typo's, not disrespect. Don't be so quick so assume others are being disrespectful. Were I trying to be disrespectful to the Amish and Quakers I have way better ways of doing so then misspelling their names.

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Sarah C. said...

I know this is an old blog, butt I enjoyed it so much. I've returned to Utah after a two decade absence. I love what you say about being a pioneer. That goes beyond race as well. If a neighborhood is cliquey, you change it by being inclusive and kind to all. If a neighborhood seems materialistic you can stand your ground and live an affordable lifestyle and be content and so forth. You've expressed your beautiful spirit beautifully. Thank you.

danna said...

great post and worth to read. keep posting blogs on this nature cause i believe this would be an enlightenment for all of us.


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westcosta. said...

Different strokes for different folks. If u know the history of the area and your in touch with your blackness. Don't know how you could live there or be apart of a organization that don't like blacks and is considered a cult. All the other western States with exception of Wyoming & Montana are better for blacks.

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