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The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network stands in solidarity with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, as well as their grieving families and communities. It is important to recognize that the recent constellation of police brutality is by no means novel, but deeply rooted in the United States’ long genealogy of anti-Black violence and white supremacist logics.
Bao: My parents loved Vietnamese arts and poetry but knew they lived in a culture that doesn’t value that. And yet here they had a son who was going into art in the English language, and they feared for my survival, which is a pressure a lot of people don’t understand.
I think Hollywood has and still most of the time employs their friends from “the old boys’ club,” people who look alike and think alike and have similar views about women. This will only change when Hollywood actually values true inclusion, especially when so many studies and articles show doing right by marginalized groups equals a ton more loot at the box office.
I used to dream of a simpler time, a Vietnam of thatch roof huts and banana leaves and lotus flowers. But this Vietnam only exists in my imagination. We must not romanticise a past that never was, or choose only to remember the innocence of our history. Spoiler alert: Nobody’s history is innocent. We must be brave enough to claim it all. People like me, who by today’s standards are referred to as 'people of colour' or 'minority groups', belong to histories which are not only as tremendous, as grand, and as civilised as the Europeans, but as brutal.
diaCRITICS editor Viet Thanh Nguyen writes on the rigidity of defined borders and recognizing the importance of immigrants in America's history: "I am an immigrant. I am also a human being, an American, a Vietnamese, an Asian and a refugee. I do not have to choose among these identities, despite those who would insist that I do."