ArticlesThe Denial of Being Hmong

Julie VangJanuary 9, 2019225718 min

You’re 3 years old.

You attend your cousin’s extravagant wedding. You’re blown away with how beautiful everything is. Someday you’re going to have a wedding just like that. Possibly even marry a rich person and be an American. You don’t know if you want to be Hmong anymore.

You’re 8 years old.

You wear your cultural Hmong clothes to the Hmong New Year. This time you didn’t want to dress up, but you’re forced to wear them in hopes of not losing face for your family. You don’t like being Hmong anymore.

You’re 12 years old.

Your mom finally agrees to cut your super long silky black hair. Your long hair that always gets in the way when you wear your softball helmet ready to hit a home run. Your mom cherished your hair so much, she decided to keep, so in the future she will let you know it was a bad decision. You are not a good Hmong daughter anymore.

You know you’ve hated your Hmong identity for a long time now. From not meeting your parent’s expectations to not satisfy the society. “It’s a race to reclaim everything you’ve denied all about yourself.”

You’re 18 years old.

You’re off to college and moved in to live on-campus. You should already be married and moved in to be a nyab (Hmong wife). Instead, you’re proud to be a first-generation Hmong woman college student.

You’re 20 years old.

You play Hmong flag football. Your parents don’t want you to continue playing because you’re a female. Instead of going to practice, you go to help your relatives do chores for their ritual ceremonies. You make time to catch up with all your cousins there. That’s what Hmong people are, a collective and patriarchy community.

Photo by Hmong Festivals

You’re 23 years old.

You’re still not marry yet. Instead, you take your single self and figure out ways to enjoy your time. Because your heart is in the community, you spend your energy organizing for radical change – such as speaking against racism, preventing I.C.E. (The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for deporting and separating families; equitable education for all; affordable healthcare; electing more POCI elected officials; investing in local businesses, building more public cultural arts, advocating for efficient public transportation, and creating a healthier and sustainable environment to live in every single day. You’re a Hmong community organizer.

Photo by Maiv PAC

You’re 25 years old.

You see your state filled with the largest existence of Hmong legislators and urban sprawl of Hmong people. You’re excited to be a part of the movement in making real change. You’re proud to be a Hmong American. You’re proud at how far you’ve come, from facing adversities to losing hope, now rising up to moving mountains.

Photo by Pa Lee Photography

I encourage everyone to learn, unlearn, celebrate and cherish their own heritage. On the same length, I ask them not to let it divide us apart, not to let the ignorance and prejudices of others get to us. For Hmong people may not have an official country to call home, but our home is widely spread all over the world. And you are a part of that root and is always welcomed.

KUDOS: The original inspiration I got in order to write up this blog post.


Original Source: This article is from the website “Juicy Julie”. You can check out this article and more like it on the link below.
Link to Original Article:–QipBmUGIAH1PuOTFHuBSrIz8fUNx0Jk

Julie Vang

Julie Vang is a Hmong-American womxn from St. Paul, Minnesota with a mission in building collective power with community through the work of liberation, voice, agency, and healing. She enjoys connecting with others, being active, and having deep honest conversations.

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