Posts Tagged By VIET THANH NGUYEN

Opinion | Could Asian-Americans Turn Orange County Blue? – By Viet Thanh Nguyen – NYT

Viet Thanh Nguyen

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

Mr. Nguyen is a contributing opinion writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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South Vietnamese and American flags flying at the an annual Vietnamese boat people ceremony at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, Calif., in April.CreditCreditLeonard Ortiz/Orange County Register, via Getty Images

“When I was a freshman at the University of California, Riverside, in 1988, I drove a carload of excited fellow Vietnamese students to nearby Orange County. It was only 13 years after the end of the Vietnam War, but already there was a Vietnamese American Dream, symbolized by our destination, the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster. To the strains of Vietnamese pop music, we ate Vietnamese food, browsed Vietnamese goods, and sat in the balcony of the American-style mall, sipping Vietnamese iced coffee while we watched Vietnamese people.

The mall was the heart of the Little Saigon in Orange County. By 1988, Little Saigon was already firmly established, with multitudes of Vietnamese shops, restaurants and businesses lining Bolsa Avenue. This community was populated with Vietnamese and ethnic Chinese refugees who had fled the end of the war. It was deeply anti-Communist. Orange County as a whole was also anti-Communist and quite conservative, but it was also very white at the time. The arrival of so many refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and 1980s was not welcomed by everyone in Westminster and Orange County.

Thirty years later, Westminster has a Vietnamese-American mayor, and Orange County has elected several Vietnamese-American politicians. Most have been Republicans, and vocally anti-Communist. But Communism is no longer the national issue it once was, and while the older generation of Vietnamese-Americans tends to be Republican and conservative, the younger generation has largely abandoned the Republican Party, either to become Democrats or independents. These shifts point toward larger changes in the once staunchly Republican Orange County, which is today leaning more Democratic and independent. The political changes are at least partly due to demographics in a county that is now one-fifth Asian and one-third Latino, whereas in 1980 four out of five residents were non-Latino white.

This mix of demographics and ideology in Orange County may be one of the prime reasons the Republican Party is committed to an anti-immigration agenda that seeks to turn America back to before 1965. It was then that a new law, the Immigration and Naturalization Act, created a more equitable immigration policy. For decades before, the United States had kept people out who came from Africa, Asia or Latin America, beginning with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. If you hail from one of those continents, the 1965 Immigration Act has mostly been a success. But for the Republican Party, whose base has beenmostly white for years, the prospect of a majority-minority country that has arisen after 1965 might spell political decline.”

Source: Opinion | Could Asian-Americans Turn Orange County Blue? – The New York Times

Posted in: North America, Politics and Economics

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Our Vietnam War Never Ended, By VIET THANH NGUYEN, APRIL 24, 2015 – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — THURSDAY, the last day of April, is the 40th anniversary of the end of my war. Americans call it the Vietnam War, and the victorious Vietnamese call it the American War. In fact, both of these names are misnomers, since the war was also fought, to great devastation, in Laos and Cambodia, a fact that Americans and Vietnamese would both rather forget.

In any case, for anyone who has lived through a war, that war needs no name. It is always and only “the war,” which is what my family and I call it. Anniversaries are the time for war stories to be told, and the stories of my family and other refugees are war stories, too. This is important, for when Americans think of war, they tend to think of men fighting “over there.” The tendency to separate war stories from immigrant stories means that most Americans don’t understand how many of the immigrants and refugees in the United States have fled from wars — many of which this country has had a hand in.

Although my family and other refugees brought our war stories with us to America, they remain largely unheard and unread, except by people like us. Compared with many of the four million Vietnamese in the diaspora, my family has been lucky. None of my relatives can be counted among the three million who died during the war, or the hundreds of thousands who disappeared at sea trying to escape by boat. But our experiences in coming to America were difficult.”

Source: Our Vietnam War Never Ended – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnamese in the US, Vietnamese Literature

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