Through the lens of racialized incorporation, this paper draws upon three decades of surveys and interviews to analyze the initial experiences of young adult Hmong migrants in the United States. The first part describes the aspirations and understandings of these young adults as adolescents (circa 1989–1994). Early in resettlement, they, like their parents, stressed education and mobility; however, in contrast to traditional assimilation theory and model minority stereotypes, their aspirations were oriented toward family, traditions, and ethnic identification. The second section (2002–2007) documents how they came to embrace a distinctive bicultural identity during the transition to adulthood even as they became increasingly aware of its tenuousness, the constraints of racism, and their own complicated place in American racial hierarchies. Focused on ethnic identity and the complexity of racialization, the Hmong case provides the foundation for theorizing varied patterns of incorporation and the value of multi-method, life-course approaches.
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- Asian Americans
- Hmong Americans
- Racialized incorporation
- refugee resettlement