Vietnamese American Successful Transition to United States
The Vietnam War is popularly known in the world history due to its complexity and duration. It is considered the longest war which spanned between mid of 1950s to 1970s. This war was civil, irregular, conventional, and interstate war that characterized by various actors during its time. More specifically, it was a composite war comprised of many successive wars. The Vietnam War started as a result of Japanese occupation of Vietnam which triggered resistance from majority of the residing communist insurgents. Following the Vietnam liberation, this war turned into an anticolonial dimension against the French. The war went for some period and ended in a stalemate which saw division of the country. The Northern part of Vietnam became a communist territory whereas the South shifted towards anticommunism direction like the West. This division was followed by massive migration where the southern communists moved to the North and vice versa. The development and infrastructure in the South were left intact in spite of that repressive wave.
In this respect, the southern communists who migrated to the North mounted an insurgent against the south. This insurgency was attributed to the organized infrastructure left behind. In addition to this, also the past insurgencies memories as well as the failed repression to edge out communism enhanced this insurgency. This mixed reaction coupled with selective violence enabled the insurgents to dominate a substantial southern part disrupting its control. As of 1965, the South was collapsing but was saved by the massive intervention from the West. In turn, this contributed to the war intensifying into a classic insurgency combined of civil, interstate war that was conventional and irregular. This clash included the Northern insurgents and troops, southern soldiers and American troops as well. The American mounted a contemporary counterinsurgency campaign aimed at taking control from the northern insurgents. The induced urbanization based on population displacement from the south and Vietcong defections weakened the insurgency. However, the high cost of the war triggered the US withdrawing from the war. As a result, the Northern conventional invasion towards the south returned again leading to Vietnam reunification under the communist regime.
This impact triggered migration of anticommunist Vietnamese to America (Phan, p. 58). Prior to 1975, there were little people of Vietnam origin` in America but this year witnessed entrance of refugees from Vietnam, 125, 000 into the United States (Bryan, p. 12). These refugees were mainly from the South Vietnam which neared closer ties with the United States. Majority of these refugees were skilled professionals (Bryan, p. 12). Two years later, the number of refugees migrating declined. With the second wave of migration, the number of refugees rose maintaining a constant of 24, 000 refugees annually from 1980. Because of this immigration, the United States formulated a program known as the Orderly Departure. This program allowed immigration of the Vietnamese interviewed and approved by the US. As earlier mentioned, instability emanating with the Vietnam War was the primary cause of immigration. After the withdrawal of United States in the Vietnam War, the southern government was not prepared for the encounter with the Northern insurgents. For this reason, majority of southern Vietnamese opted for migration to avoid oppression and killings. On the other hand, the second wave of immigration was attributed to the harsh political and economic circumstances facing Vietnam. Unlike the Vietnamese immigrants of the first wave, these second wave immigrants were made of people with little or no education. Majority of these people were from rural backgrounds that were mainly unskilled (Povell, para. 2). Moreover, the Vietnam invasion of Cambodia triggered a war between Vietnam and China which further enhanced immigration to US (Rubin, and Jeffrey, p. 223).
The United States accepted and supported the Vietnam refugees from South unlike other countries who openly rejected them (Phan, p. 58). In this regard, The US government created camps, living quarters and assisted in resettling these refugees. More to this, the refugees were given proper medical attention and assigned sponsors to take care of them. Apart from the closer ties with the US, its greater political, social and economic stability was the other main attraction for Vietnam refugees to US. This is because in such an environment, they would get more freedom as well as opportunities like employment.
Relative to settlements, the Vietnamese immigrants settled mainly in the warm regions of US. The most popular destination for Vietnamese refugees was California and Texas (Bryan, p. 15). As of 1984, close to over 40 per cent of the Vietnam refugees stayed in California whereas 7.2 per cent were in Texas (Bankston III, para. 55). This was attributed to the fact that these were the location where most immigrants from other regions were found. This shows that there was a particular significance attached to living near other immigrants. Aside from the above two places, Vietnamese refugees also lived in Washington, Virginia, Florida, and New York amongst other areas.
As far as representation of Vietnamese refugees in the US is concerned, Vietnamese refugees were incorporated in the US political, social and economic sectors. In the economical perspective, majority of Vietnam immigrants in the US were employed in the technical departments, such as electrical engineering and machine assembling. On the contrary to this, Vietnamese immigrants were found in utmost every sector of the US economy based on their qualifications and interests. For instance, the Vietnamese have great interest in the field of engineering. This explains the big number of Vietnamese immigrants in the engineering sector. Moreover, medicine is also highly valued and becoming a doctor is prestigious to the Vietnamese (Bankston III, para. 45). On the southern US states alongside the Gulf coastline, the Vietnamese played crucial part in the fishing industry where they are fishers and shrimpers. As a result this amounted to high employment rates for the Vietnamese immigrants in the US since majority were skilled professionals. This transformed to a lower unemployment rate ranging between 5 and 6 per cent. The first wave Vietnamese immigrants had a 5.3 percent unemployment rate whilst the second wave a 6.3 percent rate. This implied that the Vietnamese immigrants in the US had the least unemployment rate amongst all the immigrants in the US. In accordance with the US census report about businesses owned by immigrants, the Vietnamese Americans owned 25, 671 of the companies employing 13, 357 people (Bankston III, para. 68-69). In comparison with 1982 statistics, this was an increment in by 415 percent. In addition, majority of these Vietnamese businesses, 46 percent, were located in California followed by Texas, 5.4 percent. By 1990, about 10 per cent of the Vietnamese immigrants in the US were self-employed (Bankston III, para. 68-69). The non-skilled Vietnamese immigrants were not left behind either. Most of them entered the nail industry to earn a living (Willett, p. 220). This industry required little skills and education. Through this they earned a middle class lifestyle that was unheard of from immigrants. This is because the Vietnamese immigrants approached this industry as a business but not a form of art. Their efforts transformed and made the nail industry popular and luxury for many (Willett, p. 220). The business-oriented nature of the Vietnamese Americans signified their ambitions and dedication in succeeding. This nature of hardworking earned the Vietnamese reputation and showed that they were faster adapting to the US economy appropriately.
In regards to political involvement, the Vietnamese immigrants in the US are less involved in the US political system. This is attributed to the relationship between US and Vietnam. This portrays a great conflict on how the relationship should be between the two sides. Some of the Vietnamese believe that this relationship should be based on supporting the Vietnam government which will lead to liberalization and benefit in the economy of Vietnam as a whole. Contrary, the other group is opposed to any ties between US and Vietnam, because the relationship would propagate division in Vietnam by supporting socialist southern Vietnamese government. Nevertheless, the Vietnamese immigrants in US received greater public attention. Numerous Vietnamese immigrants were enlisted in the US military. The American military training is open to Vietnamese college graduates. Additionally, there are few Vietnamese American personalities particularly Cadets in the US military. Furthermore, the US has opened branches of decentralized grassroots groups, the Vietnamese American Voter’s Association, targeting to prepare the Vietnamese immigrants about voting and application of US citizenship (Bankston III, para. 70-74).
However, majority of Vietnamese Americans remained tied to the politics of their mother country, Vietnam. For instance, in 1999, Vietnamese Americans between 800 and 1000 conducted a rally about their concern for Vietnam in Washington, DC. Also in the following year, a number of Vietnamese American youths in California formed a movement advocating for human rights in Vietnam. To add on this, the Vietnamese Americans anticommunist group protested against a Vietnamese businessman who had put a portrait of a Vietnam communist veteran, Ho Chi Minh in his shop. Although the court ruled that the owner had the freedom to post the picture, the Vietnamese Americans assaulted him (Bankston III, para. 70-74).
Relative to education, the Vietnam culture highly values education. The knowledge possessed by a Vietnamese child portrays a reflection of the whole family. The Vietnamese immigrants children in the US are ranked higher in terms of education compared to the Americans. However, these children have deficiencies in reading and languages. Both females and males are allowed to further their education. Engineering is the most valued degree among the Vietnamese and mostly pursed by males. Because of this high value for education, majority of Vietnamese American youths further their education. As of 1990, close to half of them with ages between 18 and 24 were in colleges as opposed to both white and black Americans. In respect to school dropout rates, the Vietnamese American youths recorded lower rates than the Americans. Further to enrolment, only a smaller percent of Vietnamese American youths were not enrolled for further education as opposed to the Americans (Bankston III, para. 62-65).
Aside from the above successes, the Vietnamese immigrants face discrimination amongst other struggles in the US. Many of the Vietnamese Americans face discrimination challenges. This is attributed to the fact that they are refugees. Close to about 25 percent of them lived in poverty by 1990 (Bankston III, para. 33). The Vietnamese are discriminated mostly in information where the information about their life is given little attention. Much of attention is focused on the Vietnam War and American involvement in Vietnam (Bankston III, para. 34). The Vietnamese immigrants also struggle with racism. Majority of young Vietnamese marry from their own ethnic grouping. The Vietnamese men are the most ill feted by this norm. The Vietnamese culture is facing vast opposition from various forces. One and most significant force is the second generation of Vietnamese Americans. These generations shun the Vietnam cultural beliefs and have adapted more to the American beliefs.
Overall, the Vietnam War is amongst the war which is still dominant in the world history. This is attributed to its major impact in the immigration of people. Many of the Vietnamese migrated as a result of this war to America. This is the group, southern Vietnamese which shared political ideology-sociology with the US. The stay of the Vietnamese immigrants in the US is coupled with much success and challenges as well. The support and acceptance by the US laid a foundation for the immigrants. In return, the immigrants contributed much in the economy of the US amongst other aspects. Contrary, the immigrants’ culture was highly influenced particularly for its growing generation. The Vietnam War played a key role in building a Vietnam territory in America through immigration.
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