Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Harvard Kennedy School: Asian American Policy Review | “Representation, Redistribution and Revolution: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen”

Is the principle of AAPI self-recognition and the demand for recognition? Or is the principle for AAPI an ever-evolving struggle for justice? These are two very separate things that have been implicated and intertwined in AAPI history to the extent that one can be confused for the other. I think a lot of Asian Americans struggle for recognition, self-recognition, and that substitutes for the struggle for justice.

This piece was published in the 32nd print volume of the Asian American Policy Review by Cat Huang for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Asian American Policy Review.

AAPR: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews1 that, as a writer and as an English professor, you were trained and educated in the American literary tradition. The Sympathizer echoes with allusions and references that hint at American literature; American race relations; references to Ralph Ellison, T.S. Eliot, etc. on just the first page. You’ve also talked about Toni Morrison as another phenomenal American author that you’ve studied—you cite her for her great explorations of humanity, and one of her influences was William Faulkner. How do you see yourself in relation to Black and White authors, and how do you see yourself as continuing or diverging from their legacy of language and literature?

NGUYEN: Certainly seeing myself as an American author, I grew up feeling very American and my education has been very American, and so to be a writer, for me, means to engage with that literary tradition. Because that’s what writers do. We tell stories about our present, but we also have to think of ourselves as part of some kind of genealogy. That’s both an artistic issue and a cultural and political issue. So the artistic issue, obviously, is we layer our work, or I do, with references to this literary history, but it’s also a political and cultural issue because it’s a claim to being a part of the American literary tradition. Obviously, if you’re Asian American, we have experienced a structural condition of exclusion in the United States. Now, at the same time, you brought up the fact that there’s a Black and White American literary tradition. These, to me, are not simply signs of diversity or difference within the United States, but are in fact, signs of, or outcomes of an ongoing and basic contradiction in American society. We say Black and White—for me, it’s not to invoke the possibility of reconciliation and harmony and all of that; it’s to point to the fact that slavery is a fundamental part, not an accidental part of the United States. It still is.

To invoke that Black and White tradition means to invoke that contradiction and to think about where I fit in as an Asian American. I think that increasingly, the idea of being a part of the American literary tradition is certainly an act of claiming it, but also an act of recognizing its deep limitations for me, as a person and as an Asian American. I don’t think that our solution—as Asian Americans—to being Asian American is to think about the reformation of the American tradition, whether it’s the political one or the literary one. Our solution to our problem of being Asian Americans is to recognize that the problem is inherent in the United States. Insofar as we talk about race, we’re talking about something that is irresolvable in the United States. There is no resolution, there is no reconciliation to these problems of racial difference in the United States because they’re not purely cultural. They’re deeply, deeply political, structural, economic, all tied in again to the very formation of a country. So we have to resolve that formation and its implications in the present day. For me as an Asian American, what that means is that a lot of my work deals with war and refugee experiences because that’s how we come to be as Asian Americans.

Until we’re able to acknowledge the fact that the United States is built for war, has been built for wars since the very beginning, and that Asian Americans only exist in the United States because of this kind of history, we’re not going to be able to really talk about what it means to be Asian American. We have to be able to talk about not just the histories of war that have brought us to this country, but the histories of war today that we are implicated in as Americans. That’s why The Sympathizer is about the Vietnam War, but it’s also about war in general. I think that’s a point that a lot of readers don’t understand because for Americans, they are invested in not understanding that the United States was and is constituted by war.

AAPR: I appreciate the shift from recognizing that this Black and White divide is related to not only war and slavery but also structures like colonialism and how being Asian American doesn’t seem to be recognized as fitting within that same space. You talk about contradictions a lot in your writing—about this concept of duality in your work with the Asian American experience. Beyond the duality of feeling like an outsider and an insider, what are other contradictions you see in the Asian American experience that relate to these ideas of war and colonialism?

NGUYEN: In our preparatory conversation, you talked about the Review as being a Review that addresses AAPI issues. There it is. That’s a very basic contradiction. Our coalition has evolved over the last few decades to become AAPI as a gesture towards diversity and inclusion. These buzz words and concepts that many who consider ourselves to be on the left-er side of the political divide find sacred. Of course, we’re committed to diversity; of course, we’re committed to inclusion.

These gestures, while important, are far from proficient, and in fact can delude us into thinking that we’re doing the proper amount of political work, when in fact, our political work might be blinding us to basic contradictions. With AAPI, the basic contradiction here is—what is the relationship between Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders? Can it be built around this narrative of diversity and inclusion when in many AAPI organizations and coalitions, there are no Pacific Islanders? There is no Pacific Islander content, there’s no Pacific Islander recognition, there’s no understanding of the fact that you simply can’t name your organization as AAPI and then be done with it.

If you were to fundamentally address the Pacific Islander aspect of AAPI, what you would have to do is not talk about diversity and inclusion, but talk about colonization, imperialism, and conquest, and this is why Pacific Islanders are part of the United States. AAPI coalitions, in fact, may serve to obscure that history of colonization and conquest, which is ongoing and not in the past. Every time you go to Hawaii, for example, you as a tourist, are participating in ongoing colonization and conquest. If you’re an Asian American in Hawaii, you are participating in colonization and conquest. How do AAPIs or Asian Americans address that contradiction? That is an emergent and really crucial aspect of our coalition that needs to be at the foreground rather than the background as a part of diversity and inclusion, and the self-congratulatory rhetoric.

AAPR: What interests me about this specific contradiction that you’ve spoken about, is that it relates to rhetoric and language. The language of “AAPI,” we just talked about, is failing to disaggregate the experiences of Pacific Islanders and is lumping them together under AAPI. Do you think there’s a way that we can make that language more inclusive or push the boundaries of language to emphasize the Pacific Islander experience and highlight more marginalized populations under the AAPI umbrella?

NGUYEN: Well, when it comes to doing things like naming ourselves and our organization, there’s always going to be a limitation to what language can do, which is why names evolve over time. It’s true not just for Asian Americans, obviously, but let’s say for African Americans too, if we want to talk about the comparison that the terminology for African Americans and their organizations has evolved as a recognition of the limitations of language and changing the rhetoric to try to accommodate changing political contexts and understandings.

I don’t think that the problem is inherent in the name Asian American and Pacific Islander. I think the problem is more inherent in the practice of it. Now, if the issue is that the name prevents us from engaging in the necessary recognition and the idea that we really need to fundamentally restructure Asian American political practices, then yes, perhaps the name might have to go and what would replace it—I don’t know. But I think at the very least, or what might need to happen, is the divorce of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I don’t know what benefit Pacific Islanders get out of this coalition. Asian Americans get the benefit of rhetorical profit, inclusion and the addition of Pacific Islander numbers to AAPI statistics, which is important for all the reasons that you’re aware of. What do Pacific Islanders get out of it? Pacific Islanders only get their histories and realities obscured by this coalition and no benefits, either in terms of limited reform or in terms of major structural recognition and change. I would say maybe Pacific Islanders need to tell Asian Americans that they don’t need us anymore, and that might be the shock that the Asian American side of the coalition would need to engage in some very serious self-reflection.

Now, the other dimension of rhetoric here is, again, what AAPI enables or what AAPI typically does. I think AAPI is regulated typically in conjunction with a rhetoric of diversity and inclusion. That rhetoric has to go for sure. It is too easy and yet not dangerous enough. Now the rhetoric of diversity and inclusion in today’s age of our political divides, is inflammatory to the right, as it is, and yet it is not politically provocative enough to undertake the kinds of major structural changes that I think are necessary to actually deal with socioeconomic and racial and cultural inequities in our society.

That’s why I prefer to use terms like colonization and decolonization, warfare and imperialism, refugees over immigrants, and talk about the historical and contemporary realities of Asian American Pacific Islanders.

The [next] steps that are needed for Asian Americans to undertake are very, very clear, at least on the surface, which is to invest—invest the money, invest the time, create the position, do the recruitment, change the educational structures in order to fundamentally have Pacific Islanders in the organization that we’re talking about, in the issues that are being dealt with, and the people that are being recruited. And if they don’t exist, then you build the pipelines. It’s very, very clear to me what needs to be done. Whether Asian Americans are willing to do it, is a completely different issue.

AAPR: Beyond your life experiences, which I know were shaped by war and the refugee experience, how did studying ethnic studies help you find the language of colonialism and imperialism to name these specific problems?

NGUYEN: At Berkeley, I was an English and ethnic studies major, and most of those were actually very crucial to me. In English, for example, it was where I received a good part of my education in postcolonialism, in the critique of imperialism, through a handful of Marxist professors in the English department at Berkeley. Despite stereotypes, Berkeley was not actually full of Marxists. They’re actually a very small minority but it was what I gravitated to and became an ethnic studies major very deliberately, because personally, I could have become an Asian American studies major. But I felt that the issue of solidarity was very crucial, and I wanted to become an ethnic studies major over an Asian American studies major, not because Asian American studies wasn’t important, but because I wanted to learn more than just about my own people or peoples.

I already felt intuitively that any kind of political project that I wanted to be engaged in would have to be built on the principles of solidarity and alliances. This is the only way that forces like colonialism and imperialism can be defeated, because those forces are built on the divide and conquest. If we divide ourselves, we’ve already done half the work of what colonialism and imperialism want. That work of solidarity and alliances is obviously very, very difficult, because there’s great capacity for misunderstanding and recrimination on all sides. But that’s one of the things ethnic studies helped to enable.

Of course, ethnic studies itself is vulnerable to the language of diversity and inclusion and all those seductions of institutional belonging. But within ethnic studies, there’s a very strong component, still, of this deeply materialist, ahistorical critique of why it is that race matters. Race matters again, not just because of difference or inclusion, or for the pleasures of hybridity, and so on. Race matters because of the way that colonialism and imperialism have shaped so much of our world and certainly all of the Americas. All of that was inherent within ethnic studies, but I think for me, the project that ethnic studies and English started for me in college is still ongoing because to me, at least my own experience, it is so very seductive to give in to self-interest of your individuality, your family, your community, and your culture.

It’s difficult to constantly learn how limited those worlds are and to understand the way by which our worlds are linked and connected. That’s why I’m saying, for me, foregrounding the rhetoric of colonialism and imperialism and decolonization is so crucial to keep on reminding myself about these linkages between different populations and experiences. Part of the problem now with being an Asian American, is that the very terminology “Asian American” has become embedded in various kinds of institutions. This reflects the structural pressure of Asian Americans isolating themselves from the experiences of others so that first and foremost we are Asian Americans, and first and foremost, we’re going to be talking about Asian American history and issues. And it already seems inclusive enough that we, for example, have an alliance between Koreans and Vietnamese and Japanese and Chinese. But it’s not enough.

We need to be able to understand that why we exist as Asian Americans is inseparable from why there are African Americans or why this country is built on colonization and the taking of land from native peoples, which is still ongoing. Asian American culture and politics today is not geared to lean in those directions.

AAPR: A few months ago in California, Governor Newson signed into law AB 101,2 which requires ethnic studies to be taught in high school. You’ve mentioned3 before that you felt like you really became an Asian American when you first came to Berkeley and started taking ethnic studies classes and meeting other Asian American student activists. Now that you’re a professor of ethnic studies, do you have specific memories or experiences that you remember profoundly as both a student and an instructor that impressed upon you the importance of teaching ethnic studies, beyond teaching you the language of colonialism, decolonization, etc.?

NGUYEN: I do believe that education has the potential to be revelatory and transformative. It certainly was for me, to come to Berkeley and to be for the very first time exposed to the very idea of being an Asian American. The very term didn’t exist in high school, even though I grew up in California, in the 1980s.

To take Ronald Takaki’s Asian American history course and Elaine Kim’s Asian American literature course were literally eye opening and turned me into an Asian American and sent me on the road to where I am now. Along with that was my participation in the campus politics of Berkeley in the 80s and 90s. I also became an Asian American through joining the Asian American Political Alliance and being a part of what we call the United Front, which was not just Asian Americans, but all the other progressive organizations on the campus.

The work of activism and being a part of some kind of a movement was very important to me. I understood the critical role that political movements have played in the transformation of this country and many others—and the role that political movements played in relation to literary movements—because I wanted to be a writer, but I was and am still deeply committed to the idea of political movements. For me, the literary transformations that Asian American writers have undertaken would not have been possible without the history of political struggle that Asian Americans have, as well. To me these two struggles, the literary and the political, have always been intertwined.

The other formative political experience I had as an activist was when I was co-chairing the Asian American Political Alliance. During one meeting, the women of the Asian American Political Alliance stood up and said, “You’re all a bunch of sexists” to the men. “You have problems, especially Viet, and you guys need to take care of your own issues. We’re not here to educate you. You deal with this.” And then they left. That was actually very transformative for me, because it made me reflect deeply about my own masculine privilege and why did women see us and me this way? And what were my own personal political practices that would lead to the silencing of women and to the unequal division of labor and recognition. So that was an example in my own life where I felt that being the object of political struggle was not a pleasant experience, but it was an absolutely necessary one.

That’s why I’m committed to this idea that, at times, ruptures need to take place. In ruptures, we are forced to confront our own blind spots, and our own deep and unrecognized investments are in our own power and privilege—even if we happen to be the so-called marginalized populations, because on one hand, I’m a so-called minority as an Asian American. On the other hand, I’m a man and I’m heterosexual and I am, at this point, super privileged in my life in a lot of ways.

We all need to be capable of recognizing not only our own suppression and marginalization, but our own power, wherever that happens to be. I really do believe that for almost everybody, we cannot use the word powerless. Because in fact, if we were to say that we were utterly powerless, we would have no hope. Where would our change come from if we were utterly powerless? So we have power. Our power fluctuates and changes according to the situation but we have to recognize where that power exists and take ethical responsibility for it.

That is to me a very serious dimension of politics. I see this as a Vietnamese person, so the final example I’ll end with is this: Vietnamese people like to think of themselves as victims here in the United States of racism, but also communism and so on. And yet, I see Vietnamese people engaging in power politics all the time and are fully capable of exercising all kinds of recriminatory and abusive political acts, in addition to power and political acts. To be ethical means to be capable of both struggling for a more just world but also recognizing our capacity to be unjust and this is true of not just Vietnamese people here in this context, but Asian Americans as well.

AAPR: I am interested in this tension of how hurt people can hurt people still. I know you explore this tension through the lens of race and how we all hold relative power, privilege, and marginalization at the same time, and that these are not contradictory concepts. In The Sympathizer and The Committed, you talk about male heterosexual sexuality, and the ways in which men who have been hurt by things like war and violence and colonialism can also hurt women, but through domestic violence and abuse, assault and more . . . When you talk about a just world and thinking about, in the vein of women who might be hurt by men who have been hurt, what does your vision of a just world look like, where we can have accountability for those who hurt people, but accounts for all hurt parties at the same time?

NGUYEN: There have to be policies in place that address all the many variations that you’re talking about. These policies in place, would, in my opinion, be built upon the idea that these abuses take place as ongoing legacies of past abuse. Power becomes institutionalized within institutions but also in populations and formations so that even men, in this example, from relatively marginalized communities can still participate in the pleasures and powers of masculinity.

Policies need to be capable of redistributing wealth and power. That’s very difficult because people who have wealth and power don’t want to give it up, in whatever form that wealth and power takes. But you’re just not going to have a more just world unless that redistribution takes place. But to say the very word ‘redistribution’ in the United States is anathema to so many people, in all its political significations, but that is exactly what at the very bare minimum needs to take place.

Now, the redistribution of wealth and power also needs to be guided by principles. What are those principles? This goes back to our very beginning of our conversation on AAPI. Is the principle of AAPI self-recognition and the demand for recognition? Or is the principle for AAPI an ever-evolving struggle for justice? These are two very separate things that have been implicated and intertwined in AAPI history to the extent that one can be confused for the other. I think a lot of Asian Americans struggle for recognition, self-recognition, and that substitutes for the struggle for justice.

So that Asian Americans think that, if we’re anti-Asian violence, if we’re pro-Asian American for whatever reason, then we’ve done our work of justice. But that’s not true— that’s the work of self-interest. The work of justice is different from the work of self-interest, but for a lot of Asian Americans, they get confused, because their self-interest is aligned with these liberal politics of Asian American self-recognition. While there is a lot of utility to recognition and representation, we all want better Hollywood movies for example, does it make any difference if Hollywood is still an elitist, hierarchical, racist, sexist, capitalist institution in the service of the military industrial complex? Which is what it is. So, more Asian Americans in Hollywood, that’s great, but how far is that going to get us?

That’s the distinction between recognition and representation on one hand, and redistribution and, dare I say, revolution on the other, in which the struggle for justice doesn’t end. For Asian Americans, when we say we’re Asian American, oftentimes the struggle for justice means more Asian Americans with greater opportunities in higher levels and so on. That’s not my vision of justice. Justice is, in fact, this greater redistribution of wealth and power for everyone. And not just in the United States, but everywhere. You invoked the third world movement and strike and separation in the 1960s. That was actually one point in our history where we had a moment of conjunction between racial politics and revolutionary politics. Of course, we’ve far diverged from that, far separated from that. I think now, the dominant mode for Asian Americans is the mode of recognition and representation, diversity and inclusion, which is important but deeply limited in this capacity for achieving this more just world.

AAPR: Today, we are seeing Asian Americans feeling really impassioned because the hurt that our communities are suffering from is anti-Asian violence. On this idea of self-interest, for instance, I think a place where we see this self-interest most intensely is around policing, or safety. In some pockets, I hear themes of Asian Americans who understand the Black Lives Matter movement and engage in community action or mutual aid protection. But still, very prevalently, throughout the Asian American population, many people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of defunding or abolishing the police, which you wrote very briefly about in your TIME magazine article.4 Do you think Asian Americans should take action to push towards this vision of an ideal police-free future?

NGUYEN: This is a complicated issue because I don’t think it is reducible to saying that all Black people are on the side of defunding the police, which is not true. The politics of the country at the moment indicate that it is much more complicated than that. There are, still, for good reason, a lot of prominent Black people who are invested in a more just police. Everyone recognizes that we don’t want an unjust police but we want a more just police.

That is in tension with this other position, which sees the police as being a part of a much larger structure of incarceration and regulation of the body and bodies of color. It is a long hard struggle. I certainly do support abolition and defunding the police and the transformation of our thinking, about property and crime, about how to prevent those things, and the police are a short-term measure while the long-term solution is about the redistribution of wealth and power. We wouldn’t need the police to police if, in fact, our underserved, marginalized communities had greater access to all the various kinds of resources that the middle class take for granted.

That involves a redistribution of property. Property is part of what we’re talking about—people with property want to protect it. They see the police as doing that work. For a lot of immigrants, refugees, and Asian Americans, what we have to talk about is that they come to the United States to participate in the American dream, this ideological narrative of property. So it’s not a surprise that a lot of us are invested in the idea of the police.

To be invested in the idea of property means you’re invested in colonialism, because colonialism is built on the transformation of land into property. I think a lot of Asian Americans don’t recognize that. Property is also built on bodies of property, our history of slavery. For instance, the Los Angeles Rebellion, the fact that the Asian American perspective or Korean American perspective—much of the injustice there came about from the destruction of Korean American businesses at that time. Which is terrible. But, for me, the issue is also that Korean Americans, as marginalized as they were, structurally, economically, and racially, also had property. And the fifty-eight or so people who died at that time, almost all of them were Black and Latino and the majority of those arrested were Black and Latino. Here, we see a very clear distinction in terms of the structural position of Asian Americans versus other groups.

That is something Asian Americans have to grapple with and recognize. But that would involve positioning themselves against the literal investment of their own communities. When we talk about a more just world and ethical positioning, it goes back to this idea that to be an Asian American oftentimes would involve contradiction. The struggle for justice might involve positioning ourselves against the self-professed interest of a good number of Asian Americans. So, it is not just policing, but affirmative action for example, where these kinds of politics come up. The politics of labor exploitation, where Asian Americans sometimes find themselves on the side of being the exploiters of labor and have to be called out when that happens.

AAPR: We’re seeing loss and hurt today a lot, specifically around attacks against elderly Asian American people and Asian Americans, which has been sparked specifically by COVID-19. Where do you see resilience happening as a brighter turn away from loss and conflict? Where do you want to see resilience happening more for the Asian American community?

NGUYEN: Part of what we have seen in this era of COVID-19 and rising anti-Asian violence is a lot of resilience—in previous eras of anti-Asian violence, we simply did not have large numbers of Asian Americans who had the power to speak out and represent. It’s not that Asian Americans weren’t fighting against these things in the past, there just wasn’t as much critical mass at all levels. So, the Asian American response to anti-Asian violence in the past couple of years has demonstrated a great degree of resilience, simply because we have Asian American organizations that speak out, we have Asian American celebrities, for better or worse, who can speak out, Asian American politicians, Asian Americans who are adept at social media, and we have created our own media organizations as well. So that is an example of resilience, of the powers of recognition and representation that Asian Americans have undertaken for themselves, in the last several decades.

That, if anything, is a very important spot to focus on, amidst all the difficulties of the last couple of years for Asian Americans. We have not, for the most part, taken anti-Asian violence submissively. We have been angry, we have been upset, we have been sad, of course. The fact that we have spoken out, organized, protested, written, marched, all manner of things, is one of the positive aspects that, in the future, we’ll look back on as an important transformative moment for Asian Americans.

AAPR: You have said in past interviews5 that you used to think that your own lived experiences weren’t important enough or interesting enough to warrant writing non-fiction about your life. But you’ve also mentioned6 that one of the stories in The Refugees is partly semi-autobiographical, or at least some of those moments in the story are. What changed to make you realize that your stories and experiences have as much importance and deserve to be told still? Do you think that you will write nonfiction at some point, now that you have more experience?

NGUYEN: In fact, I’m writing a memoir. The draft is done and I’m hoping to finish it sometime this year. I think that for most of my life I didn’t want to write about myself because I was always living in the shadow of my parents, and deservedly so. For a lot of us who are refugees, we look at our parents and our grandparents and think, they live through history. What are we dealing with as the children of refugees here?

For me, the only reason, the only way I could justify writing this memoir, was to make it a memoir of my parents and of me, and a memoir of how our lives are completely intertwined with history. In the American tradition of the memoir, huge emphasis is placed upon individual experience. I’m not interested in that. I would never write a memoir where it was just about me and what I’ve been through. I have been through some interesting things, but not enough to justify a book. But a book in which I connect my family’s journey and my own, to the histories that created refugees, is interesting to me.

In fact, my memoir embodies much of what we talk about. For example, I can’t separate literature from politics—that’s a parallel for how I can’t separate my family and me from history. The memoir itself is a lot about our individual lives and experiences, but also a lot about capitalism and colonialism and racism and warfare and the refugee experience. These are issues that I think a lot of Americans don’t want to hear, when they pick up a memoir by a refugee or an immigrant. When Americans pick up such a memoir, I think their expectation is “you’re going to tell us about your sad life or your parent’s sad life, and then tell us how you made it here in America.” That’s what they want to hear. Or, if you want to tell us about grief or loss, you only want to hear the privatized experience of grief and loss, like the terrible things my parents have been through as immigrants or refugees and how that shaped me. Period.

This book is very much about how grief and loss for Vietnamese refugees is inseparable from the tragedies of colonization and warfare that created refugees in the first place. That, to me, is an interesting memoir and what I hope to write.

VIET THANH NGUYEN is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and comparative literature at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the novel The Sympathizer, from Grove/Atlantic (2015). The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a New York Times best seller. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association.

CAT HUANG is an Ed.M. candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and serves as the co-director of partnerships for the Asian American Policy Review. She graduated in 2021 from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where she studied labor relations and English, and became the first Asian American woman to be elected and serve as the president of Cornell’s student body. Her academic interests at Harvard include studying the intersection of labor and education, conflict resolution strategies, and political polarization.


[1] Ashish Ghadiali, “Viet Thanh Nguyen: ‘I always felt displaced no matter where I was,’” The Guardian, March 6, 2021,

[2] Meryl Kornfield, “California becomes first state to require ethnic studies for high school graduation,” The Washington Post, October 9, 2021,

[3] Viet Thanh Nguyen, “The Beautiful, Flawed Fiction of ‘Asian American.’”

[4] Viet Thanh Nguyen, “Asian Americans Are Still Caught in the Trap of the ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype. And it Creates Inequality for All,” TIME, last modified June 26, 2020,

[5] Longyan Zhang, “On Writing, Memory and Identity: An Interview With Viet Thanh Nguyen,” VietNguyen.Info, June 18, 2020,

[6] Karl Ashoka Britto, “‘Remembering and Forgetting’: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen,” Public Books, September 25, 2018,


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