The owner of Amplified Marketing, instructor at General Assembly and volunteer at The Arthritis Foundation, Anh shares her background as a first-generation American immigrant from Vietnam and why she’s so passionate about what she does (Did you know that roughly 300,000 children in the U.S. have juvenile arthritis?)
Anh shares her upbringing in a predominantly white area in Houston, Texas (where the KKK had a foothold at the time), where her family was the only Asian family in the neighborhood, and that it’s taken her a long time to fully embrace her Vietnamise culture as well as get to know others in the Asian American community.
Anh: “It created a mindset: I’m not really Asian, I’m this other.”
She shares the choices her parents made for their family to better assimilate and get the best opportunities, and reminds us that for many immigrating to the United States, the promise of a better life is worth risking so much for. But to fit in, you can lose your own background and identity when assimilating.
Anh: “The whole point of my parents risking life and limb to come here to the United States was to give their children a better life.”
Maria: “You end up taking away your own culture in order for everyone to identify with you, but ultimately, they can’t. Because ultimately, you’re a product of somewhere else, another culture.”
Anh shares with us her experiences of being asked where she’s from (and attempts to educate) along with how her experiences differ from other minority groups and generations. That Asian Americans have been considered the “model minority” has both protected them and driven a wedge between them and other minority groups. She also talks about ways we can be an ally, regardless of our ethnicities, backgrounds, experiences.
Anh: “Until you have humanized that experience…you won’t fully be sympathetic or empathetic.”
We talk about the incident in San Francisco with the tech CEO who threw racial slurs at a group of Asian American diners. (By the way, he later resigned.)
Anh: “Never in my hangriest moment have I called somebody a racial slur.”
Anh talks about her family’s story and the launch of her Facebook community, “Children of the Dragon,” focusing on both Vietnamese refu, but also the stories of other immigrants. She also shares the origin of the name and her family’s journey, as well as those who struggled and even perished trying to make it to the United States.
Anh: “My hope, my dream, my vision for this is that by sharing these stories, I will humanize our journeys.”
Anh: “We may have different colors, we may have different features, but at the end of the day, you still have the same aspirations for your children, you still have the same dreams for your children.”
Anh tells us about the horrible death of Vincent Chin and how his mother Lily Chin sought justice–and how this experience brought the Asian American community to activism. Black civil rights leaders stood with them, and though she thought that it would be a turning point, it didn’t stop the tensions and growing wedges between them. She also shares growing resentment between the Asian community (specifically Koreans) and the Black community in Los Angeles after the tragic death of Rodney King. Maria also talks about the racism she saw growing up in Indonesia.
Anh: “It’s not about ‘why should we care about them, care about us,’ we’re all humans. It should be all of us.”
Beki: “The more people tell their stories, the more it becomes hopefully impossible … to treat people like they’re not human anymore.”
Check out these links for more:
- NBC News: Trump’s ‘Kung flu’ slur, pervasive scapegoating recall a brutal decades-old hate crime
- Vincent Chin’s Story / Lily Chin: The Courage to Speak Out
- South China Morning Post: The 1982 killing of Vincent Chin was ‘the first time Asian-Americans came together’ to fight for justice
- Asians for Black Lives
- Time: The Asian American Response to Black Lives Matter Is Part of a Long, Complicated History
- Asians 4 Black Lives on Medium: Structural Racism is the Pandemic, Interdependence and Solidarity is the Cure
- PBS documentary: Asian Americans
- The Undefeated: Why We Must Talk about the Asian-American Story Too
- Vietnamese Boat People Podcast: Stories of Hope, Survival and Resilience
- Children of the Dragon Facebook page