Other People's Stories

Knowledge, authority and racism

I’m ashamed to say I know very little about the history of chemical warfare in Southeast Asia, but I was deeply saddened when I read about American radio show Radiolab’s treatment of two Hmong interviewees in a segment about Yellow Rain, a type of chemical which was used in attacks in the 1970s against people living in Laos.

Published author and professor Kao Kalia Yang, who agreed to be a translator for her uncle Eng Yang in the interview, writes about her experience in Hyphen Magazine:

The Science of Racism: Radiolab’s Treatment of Hmong Experience

I wouldn’t read it if you weren’t in a good place mentally. It is very depressing, but it also says a lot about whose words and experiences are respected, and whose are discarded — whose stories get to be heard, and who gets to tell their stories and be believed.


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