In Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora by Chia Youyee Vang, Vang discusses the experiences of Hmong refugees resettling in the United States. In the process, Vang reveals that multiple social structures that the community constructs in order to recreate the experiences and cultural lifestyles of the homeland.
I cannot speak for the Hmong community and I will not do so, but I do see a number of connections to the Vietnamese refugee experience. For one, the Vietnamese diaspora constructs ethnic enclaves, community organizations, and political advocacy groups in order to improve the lives of the Vietnamese American community. While these actions are often conducted in order to ease the transition to the United States, these activities are strongly influenced by the experiences of a community in diaspora. The decisions and activities of the Vietnamese American community are continually informed by the memory of the homeland and the homeland drives the innovations of the community. It is a beautiful process where one concept informs the other.
Michel Laguerre theorizes about the concept of the Minoritized Space to demonstrate the experiences of communities of color stratified in a racialized space. This theory explains how and why Vietnamese American communities choose to organize in ethnic enclaves. We should be aware of the structural forces of racism and how diasporic experiences continue to inform community actions.
Discussion Question: How do the double influences of homeland and U.S. racialization affect the Vietnamese American community?