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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

February 27, 2008

Written by C.N.

Rise of Vietnamese American Gang Activity in Dorchester

While the “successes” of many Asian Americans have reinforced and perpetuated the image of our community as the “model minority,” sometimes examples come along to shatter that tranquil and serene image.

Case in point — as the Boston Globe reports, a video of a brutal beating by Vietnamese American gang members in Dorchester, MA has spurred the community there to take a hard look at what’s going on in their own backyards:

Last spring, in a parking lot behind a Dorchester church, nearly two dozen Vietnamese-American teenagers stomped, kicked, and punched two others, a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy. By the end, the bloodied victims, sprawled on the pavement, could barely move. . . .

The video has forced Vietnamese immigrants in Fields Corner – who own many of the restaurants, bakeries, and dress shops in the tight-knit neighborhood – to talk to police, church leaders, and other citywide organizations about a problem that until now they have been reluctant to admit.

As I wrote in my article on Asian American Gangs, communities such as the Vietnamese American community in Dorchester can either go into denial that there is a problem and pretend that there’s nothing wrong in order to avoid “bringing shame” to themselves, or they can admit that social problems exist and that they need help in addressing them, for the good of the entire community.

Fortunately, it looks like they are moving towards the latter option. Let’s just hope there’s effective action to confront the gang problem there before it escalates and more people are hurt.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Rise of Vietnamese American Gang Activity in Dorchester" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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