The paper "Children of the Dust by David Lamb" is an exceptional example of an article on social science. Within the article entitled “ Children of the Dust, ” David Lamb discusses a largely ignored group of people known as Amerasians. This group of people came to be during the Vietnam War. Essentially, Amerasians were the offspring of American soldiers, who had been deployed to Vietnam, and Vietnamese women. Sometimes, these women were prostitutes; however, some of these children were the result of a real relationship. In particular, Lamb delves into the struggles that Amerasians faced once the war was over, and life returned to normal for both Americans and Vietnamese. The article describes an extremely hard life for those who were classified as Amerasians.
Essentially, these children were completely alone. America would not claim them as citizens and neither would Vietnam. Many children were sent to orphanages or were simply homeless, having to scrounge and beg for survival. They were not able to attend school, so many ended up being completely illiterate. According to Lamb, these children stuck out like sore thumbs with both Asian and American physical characteristics.
People brutalized and bullied them because of their appearance, and this created further isolation. Essentially, the Amerasians were considered to belong to the lowest caste or class in Vietnamese society. After describing the daily lives of the Amerasian children, David Lamb delves into what happened next for many of the children as they grew into adulthood. For instance, the Philippines started to become a safe haven as the Amerasians traveled to the Philippines in order to learn English. These people were held in a kind of limbo where the United States still wasn’ t really allowing this group to become citizens.
Some were allowed in, but others ended up in Norway and Australia. In the 1980s, a distinct change began to occur in how the Amerasians were dealt with. According to Lamb, this group became “ leverage for settling larger issues between” the United States and Vietnam(Lamb, 2009). Ultimately, their welfare was not being considered or was not deemed to be as important as solving political issues was. However, things changed for the better in 1987 when Ronald Regan signed a piece of legislation which allowed any remaining Amerasians to be allowed into the United States.
Instead of being classified as “ refugees, ” they would be viewed as immigrants to the United States which would allow them the opportunity to receive American citizenship. Lamb presents a variety of real people within the article who are Amerasians and who have experienced extreme hardship. One example, in particular, is the story of Minh. Minh was an Amerasian in Vietnam who was abandoned by his mother. He suffered from polio and was essentially homeless.
He was brought to the U. S as a result of young high school students in America who signed a petition to get Minh to America for medical treatment. He lived with two Americans who became something like foster parents to him. Lamb discusses the difficulty that Minh faced in adapting to life in America which was something that many other Amerasian immigrants struggled with. Ultimately, according to Lamb, Minh does not appear to hold any anger at either America or Vietnam for how he was treated and how he was forced to live as a child.
The latter part of this article discusses the strength of the Amerasians as well as the traumas they struggle with. This group has higher rates of mental illness and have struggled with the cultural differences that they are expected to assimilate into. This has caused some of the Amerasians to have a desire to return to Vietnam. Additionally, many came to America with few connections and few skills or little education. However, the author also describes the Amerasians as people who have faced significant adversity and continue to move forward, continue to work hard and continue to thrive.
Overall, the author paints a startling and important picture of a group of people who many Americans have likely never even heard of before.