Interview with an Asian American Woman
The Long Journey Towards The American Dream
The Vietnam War ended in 1975, which caused many Vietnamese people to be driven out of their homes and immigrate to America, seeking a safe life away from the affects of war and political turmoil (Ojeda-Kimbrough Lecture June 7, 2012). My family was a part of these refugees searching for a way out. I interviewed my mother, Huong Carter who was born and raised in Vietnam and came to the U.S. with the second wave of immigrants after the war had ended. The second wave of immigrants, including my family, could not speak English very well and traveled by boat, which was one of the most dangerous ways of travel during this time (Ojeda-Kimbrough Lecture June 7, 2012). With the threat of pirates, theft, illness, and drowning, my family faced these dangers in order to gain their freedom.
Analysis of interview
My mother felt frustrated throughout the interview, trying to get her point across but maybe couldn’t find the right words. She wanted to make sure that I knew everything that happened was because of how brave my grandfather had been to leave absolutely everything he had worked his whole life for behind just to keep my mother and her siblings safe and provide a brighter and safer future for them. I was trying to focus on how she felt during these times, and how she felt about being Asian in a predominantly White culture in America. The issues that we had learned in lectures did come up, but she didn’t want to focus on that. She wanted to focus on how hard her father had worked, and how hard each of them had to work, in school and in their jobs so that they could succeed in America where they had freedom and were safe from war. They saw coming to America as a great escape from the dangers of the political turmoil in Vietnam and worked hard every single day to obtain better jobs, more money, and a decent and safe future for their children. The interview gave me a better insight of how the “boat people” traveled and what kinds of dangers they faced, as well as the challenges faced absorbing life in America without fully understanding the language and culture. Early Life
For some people, life was easy and comfortable in Vietnam. Huong was brought up in a wealthy family with four other siblings and had a maid and a chauffeur. As kids they didn’t have to do too much to help around the house and usually got what they wanted. Her father was a business man, and owned his own business. They lived in a big house an hour outside of Saigon in South Vietnam. Huong and her four siblings went to a nice public school in the area, and attended private lessons in Math and English.
However the war brought on hardships for everyone. The effects of the war and the bombings happening all around where Huong’s family lived made her father decide it was time to leave. With it being much safer to live in the city, Saigon was their first choice, and the whole family made the move into Saigon.
The Long Journey to America
After the war, the communists took over Vietnam. In my mother’s words they “brain washed” children into believing in their way of communist life. The government started recruiting children to test out the mine fields from the war for any remaining mines. Huong’s oldest sibling ended up on this list, and it was at this time when their father decided it was time to leave Vietnam. He did not believe in the communist theory and wanted his children to grow up in a safe, free environment. Of course he knew that this meant he would have to give up everything he had worked for in Vietnam, and he knew the difficulties involved in moving to America, but after the communists won the war, their normal way of living was over. Huong’s family started their travels to America with the second wave of immigrants or the “boat people” (Ojeda-Kimbrough Lecture June 7, 2012). Her father had decided to give up everything they had in Vietnam to move to a safer...
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