"Whadja Say?" Glossary

On this page, you will find a collection of all of the words and phrases that make up the "Whadja Say?" component of each episode of Feel Like You Belong. Items on this page are listed in alphabetical order. In the future a link will be provided to a specific moment where they were used in an episode.



50% Latino

half of 40-man team roster is Spanish speaking

a calling

a job that one is meant to do, a natural fit

a good fit

a good match, paired well together

a handful

a few (only as many as can fit in one hand)


insisting, having a strong opinion

Anglo kids

English-speaking children

Art Prize


at the end of the day 

in the final analysis, the bottom line

Atlanta Braves

MLB team in Atlanta, GA

au contraire

just the opposite


a root vegetable

behind the scenes

unseen activity, done away from view (like the backstage preparation behind a theater performance)


possessions, things you own

big deal

very important, significant

big-C culture

obvious aspects of culture: literature, art, architecture, music

blares out

comes out loudly, forcefully

body work

fixing the bodies of cars

by the same token

on the other hand; but we should also consider [this]

can make it

can succeed

career in jeopardy

risk hurting or losing your career

Caseville, MI (in the Thumb)

city on the tip of Michigan’s peninsula that looks like the thumb of a mitten: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caseville,_Michigan 

Cesar Chavez, legacy of 

(lasting history of) the Mexican American who organized migrant farm workers and pressed farmers and legislators for better working conditions 

charged with doing

have the responsibility of doing

cheerleading and matchmaking

saying loud, encouraging things and promoting relationships

circle of friends

group of people who surround you with friendship


tired, old sayings that are said reactively, without thinking


building for the team’s players to dress, eat, meet, and relax


mixing, being together (with people from different cultures and backgrounds)

cohesive family 

family that is very close, that sticks together

come into its own

fully develop its own identity and strengths

commensurate with

equal or corresponding to

Committee to Honor César E. Chávez


CRC Commission on Race Relations


credit history

showing a record of having paid one’s debts


Spanish for “Cuban person”


In Bing’s church, these are congregation members who are elected to make spiritual leadership decisions.  In some Christian denominations, they may be called elders.  Depending on the denomination, they might be appointed from the congregation or may have spiritual training and official status (below a priest).

defected (from Cuba) 

to escape a country without government permission

discriminated against

received unfair treatment


having something taken away from you

Don’t create waves.

not making a fuss, problems, unwanted attention   (Allusion to sailing: Don’t rock the boat.)

drafted me

chose me (through the selection process for new professional players) to play with their team

Dutch colony

territory under the political control of the Netherlands (as opposed to local control)

economic development

promoting (existing and new) businesses in the area

ended up

resulted without plan or guidance


must welcome creative business solutions

ethnic make-up

composition of people’s racial backgrounds

ethnically Chinese

Chinese by race (and maybe upbringing) but not by birthplace

Everything else is history.

The rest of the story is well known.

fabric of our country

basic nature, foundation of our country

Fidel Castro 

Communist leader of Cuba from 1959-2008

filling station

gas station (where people fill their tanks)

flat world

the view that the world is a level playing surface for global commerce (cf. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman)

flip a switch

suddenly turn something on (or off)

get to know

take time and begin to learn about someone (or something)

getting to know you

becoming better acquainted, learning about you

Go to the office!

Leave the classroom (to be punished in the school office).

gone so far as

have even done something like [this]

grassroots organizer

person who organizes everyday people to take action in their community (the roots of the grass implies from the ground up, not from the top down)

had declared itself

had announced what it would be


coincidence, something occurring by chance

higher learning

must have great universities


grand public attention and ceremony

Hugo Chavez

President of Venezuela from 1999-2013


making someone feel low, embarrassed, unimportant

immigration quotas

set limits on immigration numbers

in-thing to do

popular (or trendy) thing to do


support services and space for small start-up businesses


unkind, cruel, uncaring, mean

Institutes for Healing Racism


International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence

ICEE: www.thegoeicenter/icee 

International Pavilion

building which houses social and business support systems for international students, workers, and visitors

is all about

concerns, pertains to, relates to


employee responsible for maintenance and cleaning of a building

jumped through all the hoops

Bing’s dad jumped through all the hoops.  He thought all his retraining was a normal part of the U.S. educational system. In the circus, animals are trained to perform tricks, including jumping through hoops, sometimes ones that are lit on fire.  The tricks are not logical, but the animals have to do what the circus master tells them to do.


paid (but financially unjustified) trips to nice destinations


Kindergarten through 6th grade (elementary school)

Kansas City Royals

MLB team in Kansas City, MO

Kauffman Foundation


kept to ourselves

didn’t go with other groups, stayed with Mexican Americans

key selling point

important point of attraction, making people want to commit

La Raza / the Micah Center

largest Hispanic rights group in the U.S. (http://www.nclr.org/index.php/about_us)/ Christian group for social justice (http://www.themicahcenter.org)


short for “legitimate” (true, official, trustworthy)

Let’s step back.

Let’s stop and return to an earlier point in the story.

literally crossed the railroad tracks 

cities are sometimes divided by a railroad track, with poor people on one side and rich people on the other (this has become an idiom in English, so Lupe wanted us to know that there was really an actual railroad track dividing the Latinos and the Anglos in her hometown)

little-c culture

unseen aspects of culture: beliefs, values, attitudes

Lo and behold!

“Lo and behold, you ended up in West Michigan!”  This is an old-fashioned expression.  It means something surprising or amazing happened.  It was surprising that this Chinese family having lived in Indonesia and the Netherlands had suddenly come to non-diverse West Michigan.

logistical location

practical, functional location

lugs of cherries 

a lug is a container holding freshly picked produce 

make fun of each other 

teasing, joking with each other

Mex-Tex food 

cooking style from the Texas-Mexico border region

migrant worker

worker who travels from one work site to another


speaking just one language

municipal leadership

leaders of cities, towns, and counties

Native American

people from the tribal cultures of North America before the Europeans arrived

not a stroll

not a long, slow walk

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

border city in northeast Mexico: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuevo_Laredo 


carefully assisting, helping to grow

off the field

in public, away from the stadium, in real life

Old Mission Peninsula

region of northwest Michigan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Mission_Peninsula_AVA 

on the roster 

official list of team members

open yourself to

be ready to accept (new things)

opened their arms 

welcomed warmly

our worst nightmare

our worst fear, imagining something terribly wrong

over the long haul

long term (related to long-distance freight)

parent-teacher conferences

scheduled meetings where parents go to the school to meet teachers and talk about the progress of their children

Partners for Racism-Free Community


pay back

return good deeds when you have received good deeds

peer out

look out (onto uncertain scene)

people of color 

non-white citizens

picking produce 

harvesting fruit and vegetables 

poignant story

moving, sad, or touching story

poll tax 

a tax created by some states to discourage poor people from voting

President Sukarno

President of Indonesia after independence from the Netherlands


a person’s total mindset, soul, and personality

real estate brokers

specially licensed agents to buy and sell property

recruit and retain

When looking to hire new people into jobs, HR officers have to attract workers to come live in the area (recruitment).  If the new workers do not feel welcome, they will move away.  It is equally important for leaders of companies and communities to make the new workers and their families feel like they belong (retention).

Rep. Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford represented West Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949-1973.  He was named Vice President and later President of the U.S. when scandals forced the resignations of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon.


able to recover from setbacks or problems


something that sounds right


cautious, shy, reluctant to join in


mocked, made fun of, laughed at

roll up the sleeves

get ready to work hard


lucky result, happening without intention


brothers and sisters

slipped away

left secretly, without anyone noticing

some exotic locale

an interesting faraway place

speaks for itself

is obvious or clear, without need for explanation


leading (the head of a spear goes through the air first)


person who is chosen to represent the group by speaking for them

State Board of Education

group that makes educational policy for the state of Michigan (http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5373---,00.html) 

stay on the sidelines

not be involved, just watching the action from the side

still have goosebumps

excitement when the hairs on your skin stand up


condition or requirement set for an agreement


trying to hide your emotion, not to show everyone that you are suffering

sure enough

certainly, as predicted, that’s what happened


Dutch colony on northeast coast of South America


living and working well together

synod (CRC)

As a denomination, the CRC has 300,000 members across the U.S. and Canada.  A synod is an umbrella advisory council within a denomination.

tackle that

deal with that, handle it

take me for granted

assume I will be available and happy (without receiving any attention)

take nothing for granted 

don’t relax or assume everything will be easy

take things for granted

relax, don’t work hard, and assume everything will be easy

That’s how come… 

That’s why…

the Big League

Major League Baseball (MLB)

the Creator

Lupe refers to God (who in her religion created the earth and all its people)

the drive-in

type of restaurant where you are served in your car

the other way around

the opposite way, vice versa

The rest is history.

After this, we all know how the story developed.

think tank

organization providing research and advocacy work for policy and strategy around issues as education, culture, politics, business, military, or technology

took me under his wings

mentored me, guided me with care

track record

proven history of performance

trade mission

governmental trip to encourage new business between the visiting and hosting representatives


someone who is disloyal to his/her country

treating us

paying for our [meal, ticket, beverage, etc.]

turn their back on me

ignore me, forget I exist, disown me


publicly showing, uncovering, or revealing for the first time

upper Midwest

U.S. states which include North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan

Venezuela, Dominican (Republic), Cuba, Curaçao

Caribbean countries with MLB players


the other way around (Americans understanding Cuban jokes)

vouch for them

speak on their behalf, guarantee their worthiness

We were nine.

There were nine of us.

welcoming community 

must include everyone, not allow discrimination or segregation of any groups

West Michigan Asian American Association


You know what?

I am about to tell you something surprising or important.