Although several research studies have been conducted on second generation Hmong youth and families, little is known about the latest wave of Hmong immigrants, the Wat Tham Krabok (WTK) Hmong, who arrived in the U.S. between 2004-2006. In addition, literature on the Hmong still relies heavily on model minority tropes steeped in meritocracy narratives. This research examines the experiences of WTK Hmong youth who live in predominately African American urban neighborhoods and are bussed to predominately white suburban schools. Three years of ethnographic fieldwork in multiple sites was conducted between 2009-2011 and 2012-2013. The research examines ways that WTK Hmong males, in particular, have been racialized in spaces of institutions which has significantly impacted their relationships with families, attitudes about schooling, and perceptions about their futures. Although youth have experienced vast amounts of parent-child conflict, these experiences are not simplified as intergenerational familial conflict; rather, a complex, dynamic, and critical representation of youths' lives is illuminated through their insights and perspectives told from their point of view. In addition, youths' experiences are analyzed within larger structural structures and processes. Emphasis is given to the everyday violence that Hmong males have experienced in schools. The research problematizes the ways school officials use no tolerance "race neutral" policies which allow violence and misunderstandings to fester between Hmong youth and their African American peers. A significant finding in the research is that WTK Hmong male youth are ignored, unprotected, and experience intensive social isolation in schools and in many cases, their families. In response, youth resist by creating protective spaces which involve alternative masculinities and built-in peer support networks through cultural practices. The analysis extends conventional scholarship of masculinities by exploring how racialized masculinities are a site for discipline and disempowerment of WTK Hmong youth while providing spaces for provisionally empowering forms of agency and resistance through cultural practices. Youth must have access to cultural practices through out-of-school programs as they have the potential to create social capital that connect them to academic success and social integration, offering them opportunities to engage with their families and schools in meaningful ways.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2014. Major: Family Social Science. Advisors: Zha Blong Xiong, Catherine Solheim. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 299 pages.
Performing Masculinities: The Impact of Racialization, Space, and Cultural Practices on Hmong Immigrant Youth.
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