The chapters we read for week one focused primarily on the narrative the U.S. has created on the Vietnam War and how the post-war generation of the war has had to create their own history by taking what has been told to them and what is being taught to them in their dominant culture. This narrative focuses on making the U.S. seem like heroes rescuing refugees who are unable to save themselves. The post-war generation children have had to struggle with balancing two very different cultures through assimilation and acculturation to the dominant American culture while still pleasing their parents and other family members who have differing values. I believe these chapters reflect on the major issue in the Southeast Asian community of trying to understand our identity. As I have gotten older, I realized I am not fluent and can't read or write in Vietnamese. I have felt a cultural disconnect and struggled with wanting to know more, but not knowing how to go about that. As I have spoken to other people my age in the SEA community, I realized I was not alone in these feelings at all. There are also a lot of others who are feeling a cultural disconnect and it makes me worry about how future generations will be if we do not preserve our culture.
Our theme this week being, "Our Past is Our Present", these chapters relate to it because the U.S. has no let go of the Vietnam War as a way of speaking on and describing Vietnam as a whole. Even though it has been so many years since the war and the current generation has no recollection of it because we were not even alive. Somehow it is a huge part of what we learn about ourselves in our history books and education. This war is still attached to us, to a generation that only vaguely understands its true history. The reading for this week connects and relates a lot to what has been and what is currently going on in the Middle East. The poor excuses the U.S. has used to invade Iraq, Iran, etc. were to instill fear in the public that they are an imminent threat to us (similar to how the U.S. has made the public fear communism around the time of the war). Just like the U.S. has no business being in the Middle East, it had no business being in Vietnam either. Yet, it continues to repeatedly use military force to promote violence and destabilize communities within these countries. Lastly, what psychological toll has assuaging grief had on the post-war generation?
Source for image: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pjv01