Yang Sao Xiong is the nation’s first tenure-track Hmong Studies professor, reports Isthmus.
The story of Xiong, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in a state with almost 50,000 Hmong Americans, is a familiar one. His father was a sergeant in the CIA’s special guerilla unit in Northern Laos. After the war, his family along with a million other refugees fled into Thailand. There his family took classes in English and American culture to prepare them for life in California.
He entered the first grade at a school in Marysville.
“Like many other families, we struggled with poverty, we had to apply for public assistance for a time. My parents were struggling economically, socially, culturally.”
One of the focuses of Xiong’s research will be the difficulties Hmong Americans face in the classroom.
The story of how Xiong’s position was created is filled with stories of struggle and racism. You can read about that in Isthmus.