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Becoming Refugee AmericanThe Politics of Rescue in Little Saigon$
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Phuong Tran Nguyen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041358

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041358.001.0001

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Assimilationists and the Postwar

Assimilationists and the Postwar

Model Minority Politics in Little Saigon

Chapter:
(p.97) 5 Assimilationists and the Postwar
Source:
Becoming Refugee American
Author(s):

Phuong Tran Nguyen

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041358.003.0006

This chapter focuses on the politics of respectability in Little Saigon during the 1980s, in which the Vietnamese American middle class and younger white conservatives shared a mutual interest in promoting “a responsible image of the refugees,” as evidence of who had really won the Vietnam War. Their collective intervention sought to win the postwar by constructing an asymmetrical dichotomy of model minority “good refugees” who typified the race in contrast to aberrational “bad refugees” who had a habit of attracting negative press. In reality, the “bad refugees” represented many of the practices—from using taxpayer dollars to purchase medicine for relatives in Vietnam to exceeding the legal limit for remittances—that accounted for 50% of the ethnic economy.

Keywords:   model minority, assimilation, good refugees, remittances, middle class, Republican, Westminster, Kathy Buchoz, Chuck Smith, Tony Lam, Bolsa, Frank Jao, Little Saigon

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