When speaking about the Iu-Mien people, I feel that they are the most under-represented group amongst the Southeast Asian community. They are usually compared to the Hmong, but every community is entitled to their uniqueness. But there is one main similarity and that is they both do not have a main country specifically catered to them. I am not saying they do not have a homeland because their homeland primarily consists of areas within Laos, Thailand and various other places in Southeast Asia. Iu-Mien people certainly deserve more representation, and the only way that could happen is if we see more Iu-Mien folks in higher education, and I do see some, I just want to see more.
After watching the documentary Kelly Loves Tony, I felt that Tony is straight up ignorant. He keeps using “in Mien culture…” in his defense for anything. He is obviously using his life experiences with his own family and applying it to his family with Kelly, but his parents were in Southeast Asia, not America. His opinions are not applicable because our generation is the generation that goes to school in order to fulfill the American dream for our parents. We are not supposed to create families early in our teen years and ruin the lives of our generation due to teen pregnancy. As most Southeast Asian parents would say, “Study hard, go to college, and get your degree.” Tony has no input about the future at all, while Kelly is obviously thinking about a better future for the family. I feel bad that Tony dragged Kelly into a bad relationship where her education is not cared for. This type of stuff is what keeps dragging the Southeast Asian communities down. I know we are the bridging gap for our refugee parents, to continue our culture, but Tony did it in a wrong way.
I know it is bad to clump together all the Southeast Asians, but it is a good way for unity. Unity for the refugee experience our parents of our generation faced. Southeast Asians fled Indochina due to political issues, war, communism, etc.