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Hmong Cultural Barriers

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Cultural Barriers Among the Hmong
After 1975 large numbers of Hmong were granted refugee status. Refugees had a different experience than immigrants. American Society expected immigrants to assimilate but refugees weren’t really expected to Americanize. Earlier Immigration policy required immigrant’s cultures and customs to melt away, but after the 1940’s immigrant’s considered white, such as the Irish and Italian, were accepted to have the hyphen of Irish-American or Italian-American. Their ethnicities and cultures were accepted but other immigrant groups that weren’t considered white enough such as the Chinese and Mexicans were considered too different and too strange so their customs weren’t accepted. When these large numbers of Hmong arrived to the U.S. they were also not considered white, so their cultures and traditions weren’t accepted and because of this made it
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Her tragic life and death shows the danger of cultural barriers in communication that the Hmong went through and specifically in this book with the medical profession. When Lia was 3 months old her sister slammed a door and Lia had her first seizure. Her parents believed that the noise of the door had caused her soul to flee. The author states, “They recognized the resulting symptoms as quag dab peg, which means, “The spirit catches you and you fall down.” (pg. 20) They were concerned but also proud that she could be a shaman which are often Hmong epileptics that have emotional credibility as healers. (pg. 21) They took her to Merced Community Medical Center (MCMC) for medical treatment but they also used traditional healing methods to try to call back her soul. The family worried that too much medicine could affect the spiritual healing process. The doctors were unaware that the Lee’s thought this and they didn’t try to understand their outlook on what was going on with their

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