Discrimination against Vietnamese Immigrants in America
Vietnamese did not magically appear in the United States, the Vietnam War sparked the immigration of Vietnamese to America. Vietnamese did not virtually exist in the United States until 1975 when the war forced Vietnamese to evacuate (Povell). The war began after Vietminh defeated France and split into North and South Vietnam (O’Connel). In 1956 communist Ho Chi Minh ruled the North Vietnam, and Bao Dai ruled the South, who the United States supported and backed up (O’Connel). The Vietnam War consisted of the North and South Vietnam, fighting against eachother in order to stay two separate countries. The North tried to overtake the South, and the United States sent in troops to assist South Vietnam (Isserman). However, in April 1975 South Vietnam collapsed and united Vietnam as one country (Isserman). The tragic result of the Vietnam War affected all Vietnamese.The effects contained of over four million Vietnamese killed, and over twenty-one million bomb craters ("The War's Effect on the Vietnamese Land and People.").Unbeknownst to most people, the end of the Vietnam War caused the first two waves of immigration (Povell). In fact, from the beginning Americans stood unsure about Vietnamese immigration. “A poll in 1975 showed a mere 36% of Americans in favor of Vietnamese immigration,” (Povell). This means that 64% of Americans did not favor Vietnamese immigrating to the United States.Vietnamese Americans, often referred to as Boat People, received their name because most traveled by boat from Vietnam to America. Discrimination against Boat People in America began because of living as a burden to society, a lack of job opportunity, and the ability to adapt to the American culture. Vietnamese endured a difficult journey. , As they arrived in America people thought of them as burdens to society. Americans thought of Boat People as burdens as because they had to set up refugee camps. The United Nations helped set up these refugee camps. However, poor living conditions transpired in these camps. (Vietnamese Americans.¨). These poorly funded camps resulted in inadequate living conditions. Refugees had to put good living conditions on hold until they found a sponsor. In order to not have a sponsor they had to have $4,000 per household member (Li). However, Americans thought Vietnamese should not be refugees, but rather immigrants (Li). Needing support turned them into burdens according to U.S citizens. Also, Americans criticized Vietnamese for taking jobs and being a burden to society ( Li). As Boat People tried to blend into American culture, some people stepped in their way. “Anglo and African Americans talked of the 'Asian Invasion' on radio dials and some took drastic measures to reject the newest Americans,¨(¨The Asian American Experience-Building New Saigon.¨). When they started to find well-paying or high class jobs people saw them as a burden to the job market and a threat to Americans. Therefore rejection occurred frequently. Most Vietnamese arrived in the United States only with the clothes on their back, so when it came to finding jobs they did not have luck on their side. Since most Vietnamese refugees arrived without material possessions or money, they could not afford houses, and found it almost impossible to qualify for home loans even if all family members had jobs (Li). They had few job options and the jobs offered provided extremely low pay. Due to the scarcity of employment, some Vietnamese turned to illegal jobs (such as a prostitute) to provide for themselves (Vietnamese War Reference Library). If Vietnamese could find legal jobs, they would most likely not make enough to support their families. During the beginning of immigration refugees had a 32% unemployment rate compared to 5% of other Americans unemployed (Li). Vietnamese had a higher unemployment rate because they lacked American skill, education, and opportunity. This resulted in Vietnamese...
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