The Boat People and Achievement in America
A Study of Family Life, Hard Work, and Cultural Values
During the late 1970s hundreds of thousands of people from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos began their flight out of their homelands. Most left by sea. In emigrating to the United States, these Boat People faced extraordinary cultural, material, and psychological obstacles. In the face of these impediments to success, their rapid economic and educational achievements provide one of the most intriguing success stories of our time. In The Boat People and Achievement in America, Caplan, Whitmore, and Choy report on five years of research on the Indochinese Boat People. Two rounds of surveys conducted in Seattle, Orange County, Chicago, Houston, and Boston provide the empirical basis of this study. The cultural values, family milieu, and psychological characteristics that account for the successes of the Boat People in this country are examined. Extensive quotations from the refugees themselves provide personal insights into their backgrounds and resettlement experiences, and add an important anthropological dimension to the study. Their findings have implications for the whole question of achievement in America.
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