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Reflection On Hmong American Culture

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As we approached the tents and tables set up outside, I noticed that the language spoken was not English. We meandered to the farthest corner of the outdoor market, where we could hear roosters crowing. Suddenly, the source of the squawking became obvious and we watched as vendors removed the fowl from steel cages for customers to inspect. With surprise and curiosity, I watched a customer scoop up a rooster, stuffing it under one arm while she handed cash to the vendor.
Eventually we wandered into one of the two indoor facilities and it was as if we were transported to another country. Narrow aisles bordered Hmong American vendors in small spaces packed with colorful and beautifully embellished clothing, home goods, personal care items, produce, spices, fruit and even movies on DVD. Flat screens displayed advertising, movies or music videos all portraying Asian Americans speaking in an unrecognizable language.
I immediately sensed that the vendors were curiously
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Paul but it is also a refuge for them from Americanized beliefs and attitudes. I came to understand this as I strolled among the unfamiliar items for sale and the strange foods that the vendors were somewhat reluctant to serve me. However, the Hmong Americans were curious, engaging and spoke with great pride about their families and I left with resolve to be more open with my Hmong American co-workers. I am even more determined to not let someone’s reserved manner be a closed door to getting to know that person. It’s hard to predict if I will return to the Hmongtown Marketplace due to the distance from my home, but I know I’ll continue to frequent other farmer’s markets that include Hmong American vendors. However, I will now approach Hmong Americans with a greater appreciation for their culture and a deeper understanding of the barriers they face as
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