This election year has been anything but typical. These past 8 years have been anything but peaceful and prosperous for our country. Just when I thought our nation had finally reached a point where people in this country were truly accepting and even embracing our differences, this wishful thinking was crushed soon after President Obama took office. I really believed that electing a Black President would surely take this nation to a whole new level of integration and representation around the world how truly united we are. Unfortunately and ironically, the exact opposite has occurred – our nation has never been more divided.
Everyone can have an opinion on this matter, but I have a unique perspective on this because I am a minority and I have had personal experience with racism and prejudice during my 4 decades living in this country. I remember growing up in a rural Midwest town, where our family and several other Vietnamese refugees, were the only Asians in that entire northeast part of Minnesota. You can bet that there were folks who didn’t know what to make of us. The food we ate smelled weird, we looked different, sounded different, and our culture and way of life was completely foreign to those around us who were trying to help us assimilate. Additionally, some of these people lost loved ones in the Vietnam War. I know it wasn’t easy for my parents. My dad spoke a few broken words of English and my mom – not at all. But with hard work and perseverance, we slowly gained the trust and respect of our neighbors, teachers, and the community. Eventually my parents introduced our food to the community and the community was receptive and thus began our family’s venture into the food and restaurant business. I was 10 years old and I remember people in that town seeing eggrolls for the first time. We’ve come a long way since then, and along the way we experienced a lot of harsh comments and dealt with racially prejudiced and judgmental people. Sometimes, no most times it’s tough when you are the first to do something, to be a pioneer. Our family was the first Asians in town, we were foreigners and people were unfamiliar with us. I can’t blame the people who didn’t always have kind words – they may have been ignorant, uneducated, or feared the unknown. I am sure my parents encountered many more confrontations than they let on, but they never gave up and they never expected any form of government control to come in and rescue us. You see, we escaped Vietnam because of the communist government regime in that country. In America, we have our freedom, and that is why I must vote for Donald Trump – because he represents the party that stands for what I believe in. A vote for the Democrat party only leads us closer to a government that my family escaped forty years ago. As for those people who were not sure of us and our cuisine, they eventually came around and a few of those folks became regulars at our family restaurant.
By Thuy Patton