How Cambodian Americans Can Fight The Model Minority Myth
I used to ride my bicycle down the block from my childhood home where the earthquake-fractured cement gave way to a collection of colorful blooms. I would admire the innately resilient wildflowers, surely planted unintentionally, before racing back to where my grandfather stood looking on.
My grandparents left Phnom Penh on April 16, 1975, hours before the Khmer Rouge captured the city. In fact, they were initially turned away at the border, but ultimately escaped with the help of a brave and compassionate government official. They, along with their five young children, spent the next two years in a refugee camp in Thailand before relocating to Australia, and eventually, the United States. I grew up hearing snippets of this story and stories like these, but it was not until early adulthood that I truly understood the repercussions of this trauma, particularly among first-generation Cambodian Americans today.
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