Vietnamese Student Reaction to US Capitol Violence

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol on January 6. (Photo courtesy of CNN)

We kept a close eye on the reaction of young people here to recent events in the US interregnum, including the US Capitol insurrection and violence on 6 January, all of which was highlighted in the Vietnamese print, electronic, and online media. However, truth be told, the media paid more attention to the US presidential election and who the winner would be. There appeared to be less overall interest in the recent violence in Washington, D.C.

It may come as a surprise to many of you that the results are amazingly unremarkable and the reaction muted. There have been very few posts in Facebook groups of students interested in study in the USA that mention the events of 6 January. One reason is that many are simply not interested. They may post a related news item but without any commentary. Another is that this news doesn’t affect them directly. Some parents obviously have a different perspective. One concerned parent actually asked her child to return home. Her/his decision was to remain because s/he has more important things to do than follow the news.

Finally, the reality is that the US does not have a reputation for safety among the Vietnamese. People are afraid of discrimination, violence, and guns. Therefore, the insurrection was probably viewed as yet another “violent issue” after the election. Another is COVID-19, which Viet Nam has successfully contained but at which the US was a spectacular failure under the previous administration.

From a Vietnamese standpoint, the latest spasm of violence in early January has probably not dissuaded many young people who were already interested in study in the USA to shift to another overseas study destination. (There may be more discussions than usual at home with their parents.) That’s good news for US colleagues who recruit in Viet Nam and their institutions. More good news is that students are beginning to exercise more influence in the overseas study destination decision-making process than in the recent past.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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