The Adaptation of Cambodian and Hmong Refugees in Four American Cities
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
About the Author
In 1997 President Clinton announced his intention to create a national dialogue about race. No American president had ever voluntarily confronted this social problem. Clinton unveiled his ambitious Initiative on Race in a commencement address at the University of California—San Diego. ...
Part I: Ideas
1. Immigrants and Culture
The colonization by France of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the mid-nineteenth century initiated the historical forces that would bring Southeast Asian refugees to the United States in the late twentieth century. During the intervening years the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the...
2. Ethnic Origins
The sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s (1994, 60) influential theory of racial formation is based on the idea that “everybody learns some combination, some version of the rules of racial classification.” This socialization occurs very differently for natives and immigrants, however. ...
Part II: Peoples
Cambodian refugees come from a “hybrid culture” (Chandler 1996, 80) and thus arrive in the United States thinking that ethnic boundaries are porous and that ethnic identities are liminal. A well-known origin story symbolizes their worldview. It concerns an Indian prince named Kambu,...
Only 350 miles separate Angkor Wat from the Plain of Jars, the area of Laos where the Hmong once claimed autonomy (see figure 3.1). Yet the Hmong and the Khmer have opposite ethnic origins. A well-known story about Hmong origins illustrates this difference. A brother and sister...
Part III: Places
5. Small-Town Hospitality and Hate
Whites accounted for nearly 100 percent of residents in Eau Claire and Rochester when refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia began arriving in the mid-1970s. The first arrivals came directly from Southeast Asia via the federal resettlement program organized by the U.S....
6. Ethnic Succession in the Urban Pecking Order
In small midwestern cities Southeast Asian refugees brought a new kind of diversity, but in Chicago and Milwaukee they were just the latest installment in a century of ethnic succession. Southern blacks began arriving in Chicago and Milwaukee during World War I, followed by...
Part IV: Identities
7. Asian American
"ASIAN” is commonly used by government officials, the media, and social scientists to name people. It appears on all documents that ask about a person’s race, from birth certificates and college admission forms to surveys by the U.S. Bureau of the Census and sociologists. “Asian”...
8. American Citizen
Many policy makers think of U.S. citizenship as one of the last identities that can foster a sense of unity in our increasingly diverse society. President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race recommended developing programs “for both immigrants and those born in the United States,...
Part V: Inequalities
9. Societal Racism
“The American dilemma” is one of the most enduring phrases to emerge from twentieth-century social-science research. Gunnar Myrdal (1944/1962) coined this term in his landmark study of African Americans’ inequality in the United States. His book quickly became “an epoch-making...
10. Group Stereotypes
In everyday life, inequality often manifests itself as prejudice, a pre-judging of individuals on the basis of their group membership. Stereotyping is one of the central mechanisms in prejudice (Fiske 1998). People with prejudices have preexisting negative beliefs about particular groups,...
11. Institutional Discrimination
Racial and ethnic stereotypes are among the vilest manifestations of social inequality, but the actual deprivation of rights results from discrimination, which means unequal treatment. Discrimination often involves the abuse of power by individuals whose positions in institutions...
12. Political Mobilization
Severe prejudice and discrimination against a people transform them into a minority group because they are more likely than other people in the society to repeatedly experience social inequality. In the first social science definition of the concept minority, the sociologist Louis Wirth...
Part VI: Implications
Policy makers, journalists, and social scientists often attribute the new challenges of diversity in the United States to the fact that blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are becoming a larger proportion of the population in major cities, populous states, and American society as a whole. ...
Appendix A: Overview of Methodologies
Appendix B: Details of Methodologies