Being a Laotian American in this country is like being a model, an invisible minority. Even in my own Lao community I’m more invisible because of my disability and medical condition as well. One thing people on the outside don’t know is that in the Lao community, there is a huge disconnect between the older Lao and the younger more americanized Lao. It’s cause the older Lao that immigrated to America after the Vietnam War, want to try and recreate the Lao culture in America. Then the problem arises from the fact that many Younger Lao want to create their own culture & Identity that is different from the Immigrant Lao. It why so many younger, americanized Lao, up and leave the community to start out on their own and blaze their own trail. It’s something that I see with so many younger americanized Lao, who leave the community and marry non-Lao folks.
In my case, it makes it hard to create your own identity and your own independence, when you have the Lao community trying to impose their cultural norms on you. In the Lao American community, it’s hard to create you own identity and your own independence when they are trying to force their cultural norms on you in a westernized society. Mine is no different than any other Lao, but I feel the pressures to conform with the Lao American culture. Even though, I want my own independence from the older Lao culture and create my own Americanized Lao culture. It’s why it’s so hard for young Lao Americans to create their own identity and there own independence when you have older, immigrant Lao, trying to impose their culture and traditions on them. It’s why some leave the older Lao community and try to establish their own identity and their own community.
One thing I also notice in the Lao American community is, how they often treat LGB people and disabled people. Most times the older, immigrated Lao, treat LGB people and disabled people as if they are mentally ill or crazy. They seem to treat younger Lao who are LGB or disabled with distain and try to hide them from society. It’s a common behavior that immigrant Lao do to people whom they feel are not normal like them. I have seen many younger Lao folks who are either disabled or LGB and are shunned and hidden by their Lao folks. In my case, my Lao folks try to hide me from society because of my Intersex medical condition and my deaf disability as well. They try to hide me because they think being deaf, disabled and born with an intersex condition wrong and think that they should never be allowed in society. They try to shun me from society and from having a normal life because they think being disabled and having an intersex condition brings shame to them. They mostly make me feel like it’s my fault for being born intersex and being deaf in one ear. It’s why I don’t have a very good social life cause how my Lao folks treat me and treat my disability and Intersex condition. It’s when I am invisible, even in my own Lao American community.
It’s why many younger Lao American’s don’t want to hang around with the older, immigrated Lao because they don’t respect diversity that is so common with every other Americanized culture and community. On top of that, the older, immigrated Lao is very resistant to change and are largely stuck to their older ways. It’s why many younger Lao Americans up and leave the community to start out on their own and blaze their own trail. It’s why I try to blaze my own trail, create my own identity and try to have my own independence. Even when the Lao American community tries to force their conformity onto me. It’s very tough to do that, but I know I try to stay on top of that and hope that I can move away from them to start my own Identity and independence from the older Lao American community.
It’s why you see so many younger Lao Americans have issues with their Lao family. It’s why there is a huge disconnect between the older Lao and the Younger, more Americanized Lao. It’s why so many younger Americanized Lao, try to leave the Lao family because the Older Lao don’t tolerate diversity, independence and individuality. It’s why I see so many Younger, Americanized Lao who leave the Lao Family to start out on their own and create an identity that is distinctly American and with a mix of Lao culture as well. It’s something I am hoping for, when your oppressed and made invisible within your own Lao American community.