“Role loss” occurs when people lose their roles that they have within their families and/or society. These roles give us a sense of identity, it is essentially who we are and what we do. Moving to America had many consequences for the Hmong. They went from being self-reliant farmers to people who rely on the government for food and health care. The Hmong despised the idea of being on welfare, but when it pertained to work, the only things they knew how to do, there were no jobs for. Consequently, the fathers could not provide for their families. The mothers, who traditionally would teach their children in the home were required to send them to school. Several of their custom traditions were looked down on in the U.S, and therefore the Hmong
Most Hmong fear western medicine because of a lack of understanding, and a refusal to try to understand. The Lees had the importance of the medicine that was given to them explained to them many times, but they still believed that their thoughts about medicine and disease were far superior. In contrast, the Americans also refused to even attempt to understand the Hmong culture; even though slightly adapting to their medicine would have likely made the Lees much more compliant. This general misunderstanding of the other culture is best summarized by Fadiman, saying,
The Hmong Culture of South Asia is a very interesting ethnic group. Between 300,000 to 600,000 Hmong live in Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. About 8 million more live in the southern provinces of China. Since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia have settled in Australia, France, Canada, and the United States. The largest Hmong refugee community lives in the United States with a population of about 110,000. The U.S. Department of state has tried to spread Hmong refugees out across the country to reduce the impact on any one region. Because Hmong families tend to be large in numbers, the community grows rapidly.
This entry book” spirit catches you and you fall down” is talking about the cultural conflict between the Hmong's culture and American culture. These differences are brought by the strong beliefs in the Hmong's culture, and the difficulties to accept a new culture. There is a lot of misunderstanding/conflicts between these two cultures in the book. Usually, when the doctors are trying to convince the Lee's family about Lia's treatments, the Lees are stuck in their ways and really hard to accept what the doctors have to say about their beloved daughter. They believe in their own ways, even if it is helpful or not. They refuse to accept the doctors' ideas, and because the treatments that the doctors give are based on the scientific experiences, so the doctors believe that the Hmong's ideas are unreasonable or even stupid .However, when the culture conflicts face the love, these cultural differences become meaningless, which lead me to think that love is the only way that bring these cultures to connect.
Being a Hmong means their spiritual beliefs are a lot different than those of an American. For instance, a mother a Hmong child would birth her baby in their home with her own two hands. On the other hand, an American mother would birth her child in a hospital with medical staff. When Lia was born, she was born in the Merced Community Medical Center and at that point in her life she did not have epilepsy. At three months old Lia began having seizures. The seizures were blamed on her older sister because she once slammed a door and frightened Lia. Her parent’s belief was the slamming of the door scared her soul out of her body and made her lost. With an American family, this is not something they would typically believe in.
The Hmong are a group of people who originally lived in the mountains overlooking Laos, China, Vietnam, and Thailand-- though most have since emigrated to other countries and areas due to political conflict. They have valued self-sufficiency and resisted authority throughout history, as they have constantly been the minority and often seen as the Other and persecuted for being such. Still, many have managed to survive and preserve much of their culture, such as religious beliefs and shamanic healing practices.
Hmong or Miao people usually lived in places such as hills and mountain areas, mostly in the southern part of china. During this time the Hmong people struggled with the Chinese government, even at one point killed the Hmong King for not surrendering. After several attempts of rebellion, they reached no luck against the Chinese government even after tensions grew after being heavily taxed after the Chinese government loss against the British. Many Hmong migrated to southern Asia in places such as Vietnam and Thailand
Along with the stubbornness of the Hmong is my last point that the Hmong and Americans have cultural misunderstandings. Fadiman came “to believe that her [Lia’s] life was ruined not by septic shock or noncompliant parents but by cross-cultural misunderstanding” (Fadiman 1997:262). Hmong once believed some crazy things about Americans. “It was said that Hmong women were forced into slavery, forced to have sex with American men … and with animals; that dinosaurs lived in America, along with ghosts, ogres, and
For many Hmong people, immigrating to the United States of America is a large form of stress as it involves adapting to new cultures and new environments. In the documentary, the Split Horn, a Hmong shaman and his family immigrates to the United States to pursue a better life for themselves. The immense change from living in the countryside of Laos to moving to Wisconsin, America affects the family greatly. As the Hmong shaman tries to preserve his ancient traditions and culture, his children embrace the American one, finding partners and converting to Christianity, not necessarily following Hmong guidelines. When Paja Thao, the Hmong shaman’s children go their separate ways, abandoning Hmong culture, Paja falls into a state of depression. The understanding of depression in Hmong culture contrasts with the biomedical model of health drastically, resulting in consequences such as the impotence to receive medical assistance, lack of knowledge and education, resulting in untreated diseases such as chronic illnesses.
Being a Hmong-American in the United States was hard. Growing up in a community that was full of Americans, and being in a private school in my early years, (consisting mostly of Americans and little diversity) was difficult. In that kind of environment, I never saw each person differently. The characteristics that I saw were our skin color, and another distinction that I saw was our religious and cultural backgrounds. I started to lose touch of my own culture and identity as a Hmong-American girl. My family told me that in the stages of my toddler years, I used to be good at speaking my native tongue until I started school.
and belongs to the Miao-Yao (Hmong-Mien) language family. Hmong students encounter several linguistic struggles when attempting to learn English (Lee and Trapp 2010). English and Hmong differ because Hmong is a tonal language, so variations in a speaker’s tone convey different meanings and messages. Hmong has no verb tenses and does not conjugate verbs which can be a difficult transition for students who are learning English. In the English language, we rely on verb tenses to understand at what point something was done. Understanding these dissimilarities is the first step toward providing the linguistic support these students require.
“It was the last time I would see them for 14 years.” Uong, who is a Vietnamese refugee, fled his home at the age of 10—being separated from his family for 14 years (Uong). Being a refugee is rough as it requires one to leave his home country and to start a new life in a completely different world. According to Yen Le Espiritu, a "refugee" is described as a person who harbors "a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" (Espiritu 209). There are many variations of refugee groups as countless minority groups have left their homeland due to reasons such as persecution. Cambodian Refugees and Vietnamese Refugees are both minority groups in the United States today whom have fled their homeland to escape communism and persecution. These groups have suffered many conflicts and overcome many obstacles in order to rid themselves of persecution and in order to gain the freedom that all humans should possess. Although Cambodian Refugees and Vietnamese Refugees are two different groups, they possess both similarities and differences. Cambodian Refugees and Vietnamese Refugees share differences when it pertains to the topic of war, when it pertains to the topic of hardships faced while fleeing one’s homeland and to the topic of adjusting to life in America—while also sharing similarities when it pertains to adjusting to life in America.
Hmong families, like the Lees in the novel “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” have been immigrating to the United States since the end of the Vietnam War. The majority of the Hmong living in the U.S. are now located in specific cities and regions of California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (Lee and Green 2010). The Lee family moved to the Merced, California in 1980 and has had to adapt to life in a new host country (Fadiman 1997). Acculturation is used to describe how the culture of immigrants changes over time as they adapt to living in a new country (Vang 2013). Fadiman’s depiction of Nao Kao and Foua Lee’s life Merced indicates the couple resisted shedding any aspects of their culture in favor of Western culture, which is typical of first generation Hmong living in the United States. This paper will discuss why Hmong families left Laos, the findings of two acculturation studies of Hmong living in the United States, and a discussion of possible reason(s) why it has been difficult for first generation Hmong like Nao Kao and Foua to adapt to life in the United States.
While the language barrier became very obvious to them as the Hmong language has very long descriptions for even the simplest words, the cultural barrier lead to a cultural bias in regards of western medicine. Hmong patients expected to be released of the ER with any kind of medicine they wouldn’t need. In addition to that the Hmong had a negative attitude towards surgery or any other invasive treatments, as it was frowned upon in their culture. One aspect that made it even harder was that pregnant Hmong women preferred to stay at home till the really last moment, so that often Hmong children were born in the parking lot or the elevator. They distrusted the western medicine so much that they preferred not getting better by gratefully accepting the medicine and diagnosis to save their pride and dignity. Just as history showed, they would rather die than give up their pride.
The Lees, a Hmong family, came to the United States in the 1970s as refugees from Laos, and lived in Merced, California. Unlike most immigrants, the Hmong population was less amenable to assimilation. The traditional health beliefs and practices of the Hmong population were disputed by the practices of Western medicine. This became very event when the Lees took their three-month-old daughter, Lia Lee, to the emergency room in Merced. Lia was diagnosed with epilepsy a disease that had two different meaning among the Hmong population and Western medicine.