hmong

*HERE IT IS.* A POC space for folks to share their stories–fiction, non fiction, poetry, prose, art, comics, photos–on the unique experience of growing up brown with a white father. This is a compilation where those of us have experienced erasure in so many spaces can speak on what is like to be a person of color, while your father stands on the other side of privilege and patriarchy in a colorist society. Open to all POC with white dads (mixed race, adopted or otherwise). Check out the page for more info and feel free to reach out with questions.

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Every odd year or so, some Hmong children are born with blond hair.  Casual observers will wrongly assume these children have albinism.  Though Hmong children can also be born with albinism, in general, Hmong people who are born light-haired are not necessarily albino.

The blond hair of Hmong children will generally fade into a light honey brown as they grow older. However, there are exceptions to the rule, some Hmong children remain blond their entire lives. In this case, some will choose to dye their blond hair black in order to conform to the norm. Unlike people raised in Western culture where blond hair is the highest achievement of beauty and glamour, traditionally, Hmong people prefer black hair and fair skin and do not care much for blond hair.

According to geneticists, there is a particular Hmong blond gene that is a very specific gene only found in the Hmong. This Hmong blond gene has very little to do with the Caucasian blond gene.  It’s completely different from the Caucasian one, thus contrary to assumptions, blond Hmong children are not the result of the mixing of the two groups of people. 

In ancient wars between the Han-Chinese and Hmong people, the blond haired Hmong fighters were easily spotted and picked off to attack. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, blond haired Hmong children are coveted by other ethnic groups and often targeted for kidnappings.

In other Asian ethnicities, there are no blond genes, so it is a very unique gene among the Hmong group. If a Hmong individual married a person of Chinese, Vietnamese or Korean ancestry, there is no chance their child would be born with fair hair because throughout history, none of those other Asian groups have ever developed blond genes. However, even if a Hmong individual, let’s say, married a blond Caucasian person, they would not automatically have a child born with blond hair because, as mentioned, the Hmong blond gene and the Caucasian blond gene are utterly different.  Only marriage between two Hmong individuals who both carry the Hmong blond trait would result in a blond haired Hmong child.

Hmong American veterans are still fighting for their recognition this Veterans’ Day: their enormous sacrifice, which saved tens of thousands of American troops during the Vietnam War, deserves the respect and benefits accorded to other veterans, too.

In 2000, Congress passed the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act, extending citizenship to Hmong Americans who came to the U.S. as refugees and served in the Special Guerrilla Unit, but these veterans still don’t have access to veterans benefits like medical treatment at VA hospitals or military burials.

Read more about the Hmong Special Guerrilla Unit fighters and their fight to be recognized.

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The Hmong of North Vietnam:

In Vietnam alone, there are a classified 9 different types of Hmong people. The famous in Vietnam are the Black and Flower Hmong people. They range from cities like Bac Ha to Sa Pa and provinces like Ha Giang and Son La.

  1. Flower Hmong of Bac Ha
  2. White Hmong from Son La
  3. Green Hmong from Ha Giang
  4. Green “Shi” Hmong
  5. Black Hmong of Sa Pa