Across generations, South and Southeast Asians reflect on colonialism’s impact on identity

South and Southeast Asians are reflecting on the legacy of British colonialism after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Amy Dao, assistant professor of geography and anthropology, says that for many elders, colonial rule has etched “unresolved trauma” that persists across generations.  

Some who experienced displacement blamed the violence on insurgency movements rather than the colonial powers that prompted many of the revolutions, she added. For some, there’s relative stability associated with colonial powers. 

“During that time supposedly their life is pretty stable, even though it was managed very violently. And maybe everyday life stayed pretty consistent,” Dao said. “I could see why their understanding of their trauma is coming from the upheaval and revolution that happened in the post-colonial moment.”

This article was originally published by NBC News on Sept. 14, 2022.