TONIGHT'S BLANKET IS FRIED
BENEDICTA J. FOO
What makes me Vietnamese?
I judge those who trek through Southeast Asia whose lineage does not lie in any of those countries
Pfft stupid Americans I scoff
Knowing full well that I am as American as they are
How Vietnamese do I have to be to be Việt enough?
Is it how I look?
If so, then my mom is less Việt than me because she’s half white
Is it my command of the language?
If so then my mom is 100 times more Việt than I’ll ever be
Is it how I am raised?
Then what about those Vietnamese orphans brought over during the Amerasian Act and adopted into white families?
Are they more or less Việt than I, they who carry more Việt blood than I do
Yet their childhood holds no scent of incense or burning paper money for the dead
Just American cartoons and pancakes and bacon
Do I have a right to “soul-search” in Vietnam like my non-Vietnamese American peers who tell me
“Oh my gosh I wanna backpack in Southeast Asia, like everybody does it. It’s so cool.”
In my heart I do because if it weren’t for the war, my parents wouldn’t be here
And by some fate, if they had met in Vietnam then I would have been born there
And knowing that in a universe out there, where a man in a high castle controls the strings, I wouldn’t be Vietnamese-American
But then does that mean
In that universe
She is more Vietnamese than I am?
Linh is a Vietnamese-American woman born, raised, and currently living and working in the Bay Area. She's recently had writing published on HelloGiggles, Femsplain, and Teen Vogue, and you can see other examples of her writing here. She is particularly interested in exploring the dynamics of living on the hyphen and what straddling that line means as a 2nd Gen immigrant. Her mom was an Amerasian from the Vietnam War, so her writing includes exploring what that means as a Vietnamese-American as well.