Yearly Archives: 2019
#BlackPowerYellowPeril. Have you seen these words together? What comes to mind? Do you know what it means? The first instance is a photograph in front of the Alameda Courthouse in Oakland, California with Asian-American activists holding a sign that said: Yellow Peril Supports Black Power, at a rally for Huey Newton, a founder of The Black Panther Party in 1966.
To my fourteen-year-old self, Years ago, when we first came to the U.S., remember how Mom used to take you with her to the houses she cleaned? You’d sit in the kitchens of these houses crammed full of wide empty spaces, feet dangling, too scared to touch anything in case you left a mark.
Pour les enfants Vietnamiens qui ont quitté le Vietnam mais ne font pas partie de la grande vague d'immigrants vers les États-Unis après la chute de Saigon en 1975, qui se sont rendus en Nouvelle Calédonie, aux Nouvelles Hébrides (aujourd'hui Vanuatu), au Canada, en France, en Allemagne de l'Ouest, aux Philippines, même en Norvège, nous sommes des graines propagées par les vents qui ont germé et appris à pousser sans que personne ne sache comment nous distinguer. Nous faisons partie de la diaspora Vietnamienne, mais nous sommes encore à la recherche de notre identité.
The “minor” characters interest me because they were, in fact, present within history and were witnesses and participants, and yet few historians have bothered to inquire into what these folks saw, felt, and understood about the world. It takes a heck more research and labor to locate the history of these so-called “minor” characters.
In depicting the resettlement hardships of Vietnamese refugees in America during the late 20th century, playwright Quí Nguyễn creates a full portrait of the Vietnamese refugee during their first few years in America. He offers us a way to see that one can look back at a past filled with vulnerability, naivety, and failures, and laugh at it all even while crying, and still be pleased with all that has passed.
"Perhaps it would be clear what the impulse of “naming” could do in ways that simply writing out the words cannot. We can’t name the horror. We can trace it. We can color in the lines."