What makes you special? | Mariana Atencio | TEDxUniversityofNevada

What makes you special? | Mariana Atencio | TEDxUniversityofNevada

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 371

Number of words: 2633

Number of symbols: 11362

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:08
thank you so much I am a journalist my job is to talk to people from all walks of life all over the world today I want to tell you why I decided to do this with my life and what I've learned my story begins in Caracas Venezuela in South America where I grew up a place that to me was and always will be filled with magic and Wonder from a very young age my parents wanted me to have a wider view of the world I
00:42
remember one time when I was around 7 years old my dad came up to me and said Mariana I'm gonna send you and your little sister who was 6 at the time to a place where nobody speaks Spanish I want you to experience different cultures he went on and on about the benefits of spending an entire summer in this summer camp in the United States stressing a little phrase that I didn't pay too much attention to at the time you never know what the future holds
01:14
meanwhile in my seven-year-old mind I was thinking we were going to get to summer camp in Miami maybe it was going to be even better and we were going to go a little further north to Orlando where Mickey Mouse lived I got really excited my dad however had a slightly different plan from Caracas he sent us to Brainerd Minnesota Mickey Mouse was not up there and with no cell phone no
01:46
snapchat or Instagram I couldn't look up any information we get there and one of the first things I noticed was that the other kid's hair was several shades of blonde and most of them had blue eyes meanwhile this is what we looked like the first night camp director gather everyone around the campfire and said kids we have a very international camp this year the offense feels our here from Venezuela the other kids
02:16
looked at us as if we are from another planet they would ask us things like do you know what a hamburger is or do you go to school in a donkey or canoe I would try to answer in my broken English and they would just laugh and I know they were not trying to be mean they were just trying to understand who we were and make a correlation with the world they knew we could either be like them or like characters out of a book filled with adventures like Aladdin or the Jungle Book we certainly didn't look
02:48
like them we didn't speak their language we were different and when you're 7 years old that hurts but I had my little sister to take care of she cried every day at summer camp so I decided to put on a brave face and embrace everything I could about the American Way of life we later Day what we called the summer camp experiment for 8 years in different cities that many Americans haven't even heard of but I remember most about these moments was when I
03:19
finally clicked with someone making a friend was a special reward everybody wants to feel valued and accepted and we think it should happen spontaneously but it doesn't when you're different you have to work at belonging you have to be either really helpful smart funny anything to be cool for the crowd you want to hang out with later on when I was in high school my dad expanded on his summer plan and from Caracas he sent
03:51
me to Wallingford Connecticut for senior year of high school this time I remember daydreaming on the plane about the American high school experience with a locker it was going to be perfect just like in my favorite TV show Saved by the Bell I get there and they tell me that my assigned roommate is eagerly waiting I opened the door and there she was sitting on the bed with a headscarf her name was Fatima and she was Muslim
04:24
from Bahrain and she was not what I expected she probably sensed my disappointment when I looked at her because I didn't do too much to hide it she has a teenager I wanted to fit in even more I wanted to be popular and maybe have a boyfriend for prom and I felt that fatima just got in the way with her shyness and her strict dress code I didn't realize that I was making her feel like the kids at summer camp made me feel this was the
04:55
high school equivalent of asking her do you know what a hamburger is I was consumed by my own selfishness and unable to put myself in her shoes I have to be honest with you we only lasted a couple of months together because she was later sent to live with a counselor instead of other students and I remember thinking ah she'll be okay she's just different you see when we label someone as different it dehumanizes them in a
05:25
way they become the other they're not worthy of our time not our problem and in fact they the other are probably because of our problems so how do we recognize our blind spots it begins by understanding what makes you different by embracing those traits only then can you begin to appreciate what makes other special and I remember when this hit me it was a couple months after that I had
05:57
found that boyfriend for prom and made a group of friends and practically forgotten about Fatimah until everybody signed on to participate in this talent show for charity you needed to offer a talent for auction and it seemed like everybody had something special to offer some kids were going to play the violin others were going to recite a theater monologue and I remember thinking we don't practice talent sight these back home but I was determined to find something of value so the day of
06:28
the talent show comes and I get up on stage with my little boom box I put it on the side and I press play and a song by my favorite emerging artist Chiquita comes up and I go whenever wherever we're meant to be together and I said my name is Mariana and I'm gonna auction a dance class and it seemed like the whole school raised their hand to bid my dance class really stood out from like the tenth violin class offer that day and
06:58
going back to my dorm room I didn't feel different I felt really special and that's when I started thinking about Fatima a person that I had failed to see a special when I first met her she was from the Middle East just like chiquititas family was from the Middle East she could have probably taught me a thing or two about belly dancing had I been open to it now I want you all to take that sticker that was given to you at the beginning of our session today where you wrote down what makes you special and I want you to look
07:31
at it if you're watching at home take a piece of paper and write down what makes you different you may feel guarded when you look at it maybe even a little ashamed maybe even proud but you need to begin to embrace it remember it is the first step in appreciating what makes other special when I went back home to Venezuela I began to understand how these experiences were changing me being able to speak different languages to navigate
08:03
all these different people and places it gave me a unique Sensibility I was finally beginning to understand the importance putting myself in other people's shoes and that is a big part of the reason why I decided to become a journalist especially being from part of the world that is often labeled the backyard the illegal aliens third-world the others I wanted to do something to change that those right around the time however when the Venezuelan government
08:36
shut down the biggest television station in our country censorship was growing and my dad came up to me once again and said how are you gonna be a journalist here you have to leave and that's when it hit me that's what he had been preparing me for that is what the future held for me so in 2008 I packed my bags and I came to the United States without a return ticket this time I was painfully aware
09:07
at a 24 years old I was becoming a refugee of sorts an immigrant the other once again and now for good I was able to come on a scholarship to study journalism I mean I remember when they gave me my first assignment to cover the historic election of President Barack Obama and I felt so lucky so hopeful I was like yes this is it I've come to post-racial America where the notion of us and then is being
09:40
eroded and will probably be eradicated in my lifetime boy was I wrong right why didn't Barack Obama's presidency alleviate racial tensions in our country why do some people still feel threatened by immigrants LGBTQ and minority groups who are just trying to find a space in this United States that should be for all of us I didn't have the answers back then but on November 8th 2016 when
10:11
Donald Trump became our president it became clear that a large part of the electorate sees them as the others some see people coming to take their jobs or potential terrorists who speak a different language meanwhile minority groups oftentimes just see hatred intolerance and narrow mindedness on the other side it's like we're stuck in these bubbles that nobody wants to burst and the only way to do it the only way to get out of it is to realize that
10:43
being different also means thinking differently it takes courage to show respect in the words of Voltaire I may not agree with what you have to say but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it failing to see anything good on the other side makes a dialogue impossible without a dialogue we will keep repeating the same mistakes because we will not learn anything note I covered
11:13
the 2016 election for NBC News it was my first big assignment in this mainstream network where I had crossed over from Spanish television and I wanted to do something different I watched election results with undocumented families few thought of sharing that moment with people who weren't citizens but actually stood the most to lose that night when it became apparent that Donald Trump was winning this eight-year-old girl named
11:46
Angelina rushed up to me in tears she saw as she asked me if her mom was going to be deported now I hugged her back and I said it's going to be okay but I really didn't know this was the photo that we took that night forever ingrained in my heart here was this little girl who was around the same age I was when I went to camp and brayner she already knows she is the other she walks home from school and fear every day her mom can be taken away so how do
12:20
we put ourselves in Angelina's shoes how do we make her understand she is special and not simply unworthy of having her family together by giving camera time to her and families like hers I tried to make people see them as human beings and not simply illegal aliens yes they broke along and they should pay a penalty for it but they've also given everything for this country like many other immigrants
12:50
before them have I've already told you how my path to personal growth started to end I want to tell you how I hit the worst bump in the road yet one that shook me to my very core the day April 10 2014 I was driving to the studio and I got a call from my parents are you on the air they asked I immediately knew something was wrong what happened I said it's your sister
13:21
she's been in a car accident It was as if my heart stopped my hands gripped to the steering wheel and I remember hearing the words it is unlikely she will ever walk again they say your life can change in a split second mine did at that moment my sister went from being my successful other half only a year apart in age to not being able to move her legs sit up or get
13:55
dressed by herself and this wasn't like summer camp where I could magically make it better this was terrifying throughout the course of two years my sister underwent 15 surgeries and she spent most of that time in a wheelchair but that wasn't even the worst of it the worst was something so painful it's hard to put into words even now it was the way people looked at her looked at us
14:25
changed people were unable to see a successful lawyer or a millennial with sharp wits and a kind heart everywhere we went I realized that people just saw poor girl in a wheelchair they were unable to see anything beyond that after fighting like a warrior I can thankfully tell you that today my sister is walking and has recovered
14:55
beyond anyone's expectations thank you but during that traumatic ordeal I learned there are differences that simply suck and it's hard to find positive in them my sister's not better off because of what happened but she taught me you can't let those differences define you being able to reimagine yourself beyond what other people see that is the
15:28
toughest task of all but it's also the most beautiful you see we all come to this world in a body people with physical or neurological difficulties environmentally impacted communities immigrants boys girls boys who want to dress as girls girls with veils women who've been sexually assaulted athletes who bend their knee as a sign of protest black white Asian Native American my
15:59
sister you or me we all want what everyone wants to dream and to achieve but sometimes Society tells us and we tell ourselves we don't fit the mold well if you look at my story from being born somewhere different to belly dancing in high school to telling stories you wouldn't normally see on TV what makes me different is what has made me stand out and be successful I have
16:32
traveled the world and talked to people from all walks of life and you know what I've learned the single thing every one of us has in common is being human so take a stand to defend your race the human race let's appeal to it let's be humanists before and after everything else to end I want you to take that sticker that piece of paper where you wrote down what makes you different and
17:03
I want you to celebrate it today and every day shout it from the rooftops I also encourage you to be curious and ask what is on other people's pieces of paper what makes them different let's celebrate those imperfections that make us special I hope that it teaches you that nobody has a claim on the word normal we are all different we are all quirky and unique and that is what makes
17:33
us wonderfully human thank you so much [Applause]

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: