Many times I have found my thoughts and questions nagging me after class. We have been studying Asian Americans and for some reason this group has weighed on my brain quite heavily. I went to highschool with a variety of different races and ethnicities. Because I was an Honor Student, my group was separated from the pack in a very sheltered sort of way. I am white but there were only a few of us in the group. Most were from China, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines. There was never a feeling, at least on my part, that we were so different. At home the feeling was the same. My father is a Vietnam veteran but never expressed any negativity about the Vietnamese people. In fact, he seemed sad for them. This course I am taking now, really opens my eyes to the issues Asian Americans face and encouraged my quest to look for answers.
I can’t say in any recent amount of time that I have had much exposure to many Asians in way of a conversation. The opportunity has just not presented itself. There is no one I can directly speak with who is Asian, that I can get a perspective of. Therefore, my quest led me to opinion and fact on the internet. I found an interesting site : www.asian-nation.org. There is a huge amount of information ranging from Asians in the movies to assimilation and ethnic identity. This a site is run by C.N. Le who is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He uses “…census data to analyze and compare socioeconomic and demographic outcomes of assimilation among Asian Americans.” I trust he uses dependable resources so I stayed on this site and searched around a bit. I found that this site covers many issues that I had questions on. One being, “What happened to the South Vietnamese after the war?” The answer was sad of course but I will let you read that for yourselves.
I always thought it impolite in highschool to ask my friends from Laos and Vietnam a lot of questions. I didn’t want them to feel I was being nosy about why their families were here in the United States. I suppose with our lesson in class about war bringing people to our country from areas our military occupied, sparked my interests once again. All of these children were the same age as I was and spoke English and their mother tongue. I just assumed their parents came over after the war in 1973 and my peer group was second generation. However, the questions we don’t ask, even in being polite, can leave us looking for answers for a very long time. It could be that this politeness, however proper it may seem to us, may be what keep us from truly knowing each other.