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Asian American studies
AAS 312
Jennifer Doane

Operation Babylift Who: Coordinated by organizations such as Holt International, Friends of Children of Viet Nam, Catholic  Relief Service, Pear S Buck Foundation, International Social Services, etc. • Announced by President Gerald Ford who allocated $2 million for 30 planned flights When: April 1975 Where: What: Children from orphanages would be evacuated via military and private airlifts. The first flight, C­ 5A Galaxy plane crashed due to mechanical failure and of the 330 on board, 176 lived and 154 died.  Volunteers service member and young children died. Not enough oxygen masks and landed into rice  paddy (difficult to help reach). • Children of those with lost parents, were mixed race (US GI fathers and Vietnamese mothers)  sick and disabled Significance: Controversial because of inaccurate paperwork/documentation and especially because not  all children were “orphans”. Some parents reclaimed children later. Vietnamese experiences As the result of the Vietnam War and the US supporting South Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism, the US got heavily involved in the war overseas and as more and more Hmong killed, US uses air tactics and drops more than 2 million tons of bombs on Laos to destroy the Ho Chi Minh trail. This also led to Operation Babylift. Prior to 1975, about 15,000 Vietnamese living in the US (exchange students, military wives). The Vietnam war leads to migration cut out of Vietnam and with the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975, it paved the way for more Vietnamese immigrants that came over. The first wave came in 1975 but were primarily people affiliated with the war. The second wave came to be known as the Boat People, who endured treacherous seas with pirates to neighboring countries with refugee camps. They lacked resources of 1W, (rural areas less formal education, fewer US marketable job skills) and encountered more obstacles to get to refugee camps, resettlement more difficult. This also included ethnically chinese refugees Refugees, do not leave country voluntarily unlike immigrants. Leave due to life- threatening circumstances or are forcibly expelled, exiled political refugees. They had less choice in settlement location. There were differences in preparation affecting adaptation and survival (language abilities, capital, planning, contacts in new country, feelings of loss, depression, survivor’s guilt). To try and accommodate, they formed ethnic enclaves and formed little Saigon to make a community for these lost refugees. Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 Federal government reimbursed state government for cash assistance, medical, and social services for refugees. Department of Health, Education and Welfare gave grants to agencies to provide refugees with English training, employment, and health services. Basic needs were given through government funds but direct settlement handled by local charity organizations. Assistance reduced in early 1980s Indochinese Parole Program, 1976-77, US AG authorized admission of limited number of refugees 1978-80, and was a mass exodus of refugees, fled by boats (many small and ill-equipped to handle number of occupants). What resulted was then a drastic Vietnamese population increase. Linda Trinh Vo “the Vietnamese American experience” Boat people Who: The second wave of refugees from Vietnam When: around 1975 Where: What: They were generally poorer, less educated, less urbanized, more ethnically diverse, fewer  Catholics and more Buddhists and animists. They encountered more difficulties in escape (mostly  young males and some women and children) and for many were of ill health, inadequate  nutrition, psychological traumas by time reached camps Significance: Refugees able to leave Vietnam after Saigon fell due to the Indochina Migration  and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975. Weren’t able to adapt and survive (language abilities,  capital, feeling of loss, survivals guilt, depression, etc). This also relates to Robert Park’s Race relations cycle and when he talks about the 4 stagin  process of ethnic assimilation.  Model minority myth Who: Chinese Americans When: 1966 Where: What: Started from articles published in US News and World Report Article in 1966 during the  height of Civil Rights Movement when groups were fighting for their rights. It singled out  Chinese Americans as a successful minority group based on characteristics such valuing  education, strict discipline, strict parental supervision, and minor crime and delinquencies.  Known as the “silent minority” due to mistrust in government and apprehension to accept  welfare, etc. after internment Significance: Significant because it put minorities against each other and made Asian as the  “model minority” in Cold War context and/or “tokens”. People claiming that if Asians can  achieve so much with so little, other racial minorities could also succeed if they tried harder and  if they failed, it is their fault. It scolded local minorities and commends ability of Asians to  assimilate to larger, mainstream culture and generalizes Asian American population into one  group under the same stereotype, but all had very different experiences (Personal failure vs.  Structural inequalities) Other related terms: Also relevant is the brain drain, where an influx of highly educated  professionals in medical and scientific fields entered the US, especially in the STEM fields in the  early 1970’s. This historically grounds the “model minority” image. Frank chin and Maxine hong Kingston Maxine Hong Kingston was a Chinese American author born in 1940 in Stockton, CA. Attended UC Berkeley and wrote “The Woman Warrior” which was one of the best known works of Asian American literature. It won the national book critics circle award for best book of nonfiction published in 1976. Chinese americans critique its authenticity, autobiographical status, representations of chinese culture, and thus her integrity as an author. It pushes boundaries of traditional genres and serves as a autobiography and memoir. Known as empowerment through “talk-story” where the mother tells daughter empowering folklore stories of female heroine and silence as a form of punishment. Hyper Masculinity During the Asian American Movement was evident through Frank Chin, also born in 1940 went to UC Berkeley as well was considered to some as a pioneer Asian American writer and involved with theater and also activist. Published in 1974, he wrote “Aiieee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers”. It was claimed to be an anthology insisted on “authentic” expressions of traditional Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, experiences versus Asian American works that were accepted by mainstream culture. He was very critical of writers like Kingston and said that the reaction to Asian American pieces that have been accepted by white mainstream cutlure was not real Chinese culture. In contrast to Kingston, he was concerned with “authentic” or “real” chinese writing and Confucian traditions. Frank Chin’s characteristics are said to be hyper masculine, non-effeminate, manhood, sexist, patriarchal, homophobic. He assertes a particular vision of Asian American identity (not just Asian or American) that is critical of white influence, critical of asian americans who marry outside their race, and heavily critiques other Asian American writers for reasserting stereotypes, telling folklore or traditional stories inauthenticaly, and writing mother daughter memoirs. Chin is criticized in many waysas well from saying he is unfair to kingston, fair, and that it is overall complicated situation. San Francisco state student strike (on strike doc as example) Longest student strike in history, 5 months long from Nov 1968­March 1969. Led by the Third  World Liberation Front (group of minority campus groups) that made demands for more ethnic studies  classes to be offered and redefinition of education system.  SFSU president S.I. Hayakawa, a Asian Canadian, was against the student strike and demands.  The students, rooted in resistance, drew their inspiration from international 3rd world leaders and  revolutions and raised demand thru mass mobilization and militant/direct action.  Part of the “bad” phase of 1960s movements that “degenerated” into violence, as seen in the On  Strike documentary. Redefined AsAms by showing that as ordinary people (not just elites) can be active  participants in making history and promote political change/consciousness. Resulted in the development  of ethnic studies, educational policy changes.  Most important to not is that this San Francisco strike and Asian American movement was part of  larger, global social movements inspired by third world movements.  Not focused only seeking legitimacy and representation within US society but liberation at large,  oppression and power. Using slogans such as “that's how we make changes, we unite” and in the 1960’s  and 1970’s the generation slogans were similar, with things such as Malcom x “by any means necessary”  or Mao’s “serve the people”.  Hmong experiences Hmong were generally people without a homeland/country of own and who have an oral history  of traditio
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