Paj Xyeem reflects a time period when I was processing my educational experience. It expresses my emotions of being invisibilized—existing without being seen or heard—in U.S. academic spaces. This invisibility is the ways in which my belonging in intellectual spaces were challenged and denied. Paj Xyeem, which is translated to grade, captures moments when I was made invisible in classrooms that operated on White Supremacist ideology. In this writing, I highlight the problematic processes of classroom policies and teaching pedagogies that centered Whiteness. Additionally, this poem captures instances when I was given a majoritarian narrative (Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) to replace mine; my stories and lived experiences were deemed an outlier, making my knowledge less significant and therefore erasable. I trace how I relived the feelings of being made inferior and my fear of breaking the silence. Yet, I also pay attention to how I resisted being invisiblized. When I was afraid to speak, I spoke in silence through writing. The process of writing this poem entirely in Hmong was how I re-centered myself. I made myself visible by writing for me in my native language. Thus, Paj Xyeem is a byproduct of my fear and resistance.
Lee, Mao S.
Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement: Vol. 18
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jsaaea/vol18/iss2/3