Tag Archives: immigration

Buycott Chobani

While I was reading the Pezullo document about buycotts and boycotts, I started to wonder what products I had been supporting for the good. So I went to my fridge and looked around–it didn’t take long since my fridge looks like it belongs in a college dorm or a bachelor pad–and I pulled out the most common thing in my fridge: Chobani Greek Yogurt.

I dusted off my old friend the Buycott App (admittedly I haven’t used it for a while) and scanned the barcode. Low and behold, Chobani is on my buycott list as a company that I should support!

While I have generally trusted the buycott app for guidance, I have been burned a few times by misrepresented facts and stories. So I took to the Googlescape and did my research to see what was up with Chobani.

Buycott told me that I should support Chobani because they had somehow defended civil rights. So I wanted to verify that and get the whole story. And here it is:

Chobani’s founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, has taken heat and some bad press for supposedly making statements about wanting to, “Drown the United States in Muslims,” or for attempting to “import labor” or exploit refugees as cheap labor. What I found in researching the issue us that the once immigrant leader of Chobani seems to sincerely be trying to help refugees find work and make a home and a life here.

The U.S. has been up and down on refugee admissions over the years and the topic has long been a contentious debate amongst Americans. People worry about the security of letting refugees in, they worry about the cost and the supposed drain on the economy.

Chobani and other companies like them set out to give refugees gainful employment and make them a valuable addition to our economy. Giving them hope and opportunity. 

It seems to me that this sort of opportunity might dissuade would-be terrorists. If a refugee comes here and finds hope for a future, why would they attack? On the other hand, when they face hatred and mistrust, aren’t able to find work and support themselves … well, that seems like a breeding ground for anger and violence.

I just happened to be in Boise, Idaho, a few weeks ago, which is near the Chobani factory in Twin Falls, Idaho. While I was there I noted a concerning lack of diversity. So in a couple of instances, I asked, as politely as I could, “what’s up with that?” The citizens of Boise immediately, and proudly, defend their diversity by telling me they have accepted more refugees than New York City, or Los Angeles. I spent the whole time we were there wondering where the heck these refugees were. Now it seems I have found them, they are all in Twin Falls working for Chobani!

To be clear, I am sure they aren’t all in Twin Falls, and I know there are other factors of diversity in Boise, like the Basque community for example. But I just happened across this Chobani story so soon after my visit there that I found it timely and a bit amusing for the coincidence of it.

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Do I look like an immigrant to you?

Dinner time with some wonderful ladies. I couldn't ask for better friends!

A post shared by Sophia (@sophiamdst) on

Being from an Asian background, I can definitely tell you that even I have gotten that “look” or your typical Asian stereotype questions asked to me. Even in my relationship, my fiancé is Caucasian (specifically Russian) and people assume that I am the immigrant when honestly, I am born and raised in the United States and he is the one who came from Russia. But that’s just the way it is and my fiancé and I don’t mind it at all. We understand that not everyone is culturally understanding of different diversities and we are rarely offended.

This isn’t the case for everyone though. Even in this world now, as a person of color, you are most likely judged and subjugated to a certain way of how people view you as in their personal experiences or views. I know I said that it doesn’t bother me, but one of the things that do bother me are articles like this, Metro Transit investigation of officer’s immigration query. It isn’t right to be asked about your immigration or citizen status just because of your accent, what you wear, or the color of your skin. No one should feel less of a person just because they are of a different race even if they were a citizen here or not. It’s sad that people these days don’t just support one another and must label and assume the worst in everyone. I have been asked many times if I am from here or not and about my citizenship status in the United States, I respectfully say “yes”. Even though I know that it doesn’t matter where I am from.  My friends whom are from various diversities experience this also and I just dislike the way immigrants, or not, are viewed as negative here when really, all should be welcome.

So, remember when you are asked by law enforcement or anyone who you feel uncomfortable talking to regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have the right to remain silent and that you have constitutional rights. In those moments, you may feel vulnerable but don’t forget to stay calm and that you have rights like everyone else. For more information, check out this website by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Thank you,
Sophia