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Minority Count

May 10, 1987

Gregg Barrios should be happy that "several minor Latino characters" were even portrayed in "Platoon" ("A 'Platoon' Without Latinos," April 19).

What about the total lack of Asian-American soldiers in "Platoon" or in any other so-called "real" movie about Vietnam?

It is distressing to me, as a Vietnam veteran, to continually see the acclaim of "realistically portrayed" film studies on the Vietnam War (even more so that Barrios) when they typically slight racial minorities, let alone mention the Asian-American soldier.

I and other Asian-American vets do not have to "imagine" Latino soldiers returning from a war in Central America against people of their own race and cultural background. We have already experienced the irony and tragedy of that scenario firsthand.

Don't we deserve to be included in the sculpture at the Vietnam memorial in Washington? At least the Latino soldier was recognized for his role there. How do we justify the outrageous omission of the Asian-American soldier to our children? To ourselves?

As far as most Americans are concerned, Vietnam was a nightmare of history to be quickly forgotten. The Asian-American Vietnam veteran is not forgotten. He is an enigma that never existed in the minds of the American public.


Costa Mesa

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