The following paper will discuss Vietnamese Americans and their journey to America. I will talk about how these incredible and resilient people fought to succeed it a world that seemed to hold the odds against them. The culture, beliefs, and challenges of Vietnamese people are a precise paradigm of their strength and perseverance.
Unfortunately, Vietnamese Americans make up only a small percent of the total American Population today. There are many stereotypes associated with the Vietnamese, but the truth is, we really know very little about their culture. After the Viet Nam War, many Vietnamese citizens immigrated to the United States to escape political Prosecution and poverty. Faced with a variety of obstacles and challenges, true to Vietnamese culture, Vietnamese Americans persevered and soared above any tribulations they were faced with. Today, children are integrating smoothly within the United States public school system while still holding on strongly to their native culture.
Prior Knowledge of Vietnamese Americans
Prior to my research, I did not know much about the Vietnamese people or their culture. I learned about the Viet Nam War, and about how many innocent people were persecuted. I was familiar with the stereotype that all Asian children excel in school and are great musicians. I have experienced that many of the local nail salons here in Florida are owned and operated by Vietnamese people. I have also heard that Vietnamese gangs are of the most violent. I have not been in contact with many Vietnamese people in my life, but I am looking forward to learning more about them.
The Vietnam War ended in 1975. It was then, subsequent of the Fall of Saigon, when the first wave of Vietnamese Immigrants traveled to the United States. Fearful for their safety in their own country, many Vietnamese natives were apprehensive that members of the communist party would retaliate against them for working with American soldiers. In the spring of 1975, 125,000 Vietnamese citizens were then transferred to the United States government bases in Guam, Wake Island, Philippines, Hawaii, and Thailand. It was then that "Operation New Life" began. From April 23rd through October 16th 1975, these 125,000 evacuees were then transferred to the following refugee centers; Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. Although many Americans did not support the arrival of the Vietnamese, Gerald Ford signed the Indochina Migration Refugee Act of 1975, thus, raising awareness throughout America. This Act established a program of domestic resettlement assistance for refugees who fled from Cambodia and Vietnam. As a result of the communist regime, in 1977, the second wave of Vietnamese Immigration began. The communist party began it's "reeducation" of Vietnamese citizens, including the following; "torture of former South Vietnamese military personnel and those presumed friendly to the South Vietnamese cause, the closing of businesses owned by ethnic Chinese Vietnamese, the seizing of farmland and redistributing it, and the mass forced relocation of citizens from urban to rural areas that were previously uncultivated or ruined during the war" (Povel 2005). Basically, the Vietnamese people were being robbed of their own possessions and forced out of their country by their own people. The result was massive fleeing. Those fleeing seeking refuge during this period became known as "boat people." The "boat people" escaped to asylum camps in neighboring Islands, and awaited acceptance by foreign countries. In 1980, Jimmy Carter passed the Refuge Act of 1980, further reducing restrictions on entry to American Soil, by raising the number of Vietnamese refugees permitted to enter the United States to 50,000 people per year. The act also eased the pressure for refugees by allowing a Vietnamese refuge...