Jennifer Nguyen Bernal
Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde
January 28, 2020
Week 6 Presentation: Forgotten,Suppressed,Invisible Histories
Through Chapter 4, the author Professor Valverde, defying and redefining Vietnamese Diaspora Art and Media as Seen through Chau Huynh ’s Creations. She mentioned The Chau Huynh art controversy; Protesting the Arts-art has important political and historical meaning; Fanatical anti-Communists in the American Vietnamese community. Because Chau Huynh's work of art made some Vietnamese Americans uncomfortable, the people regarded her as a communist. Make people believe that her work is intended to promote communist. Chau Huynh has been protested by anti-communist groups for her artwork, and she has also been subjected to Language Violence. On the other hand, Professor Valverde also mentioned that the Nguoi Viet Daily News which is always facing censorship from anti-communist groups in the same community. Since Nguoi Viet Daily News published Chua's article, it is also considered a communist. The curators of "F.O.B. II: Art Speaks", Duong also consider the Vietnamese community to define "anti-communist" as the only acceptable label. This led to creative, artistic, and political being limited to the community. " However, their exhibition also suffered protests and sabotage by extreme anti-communist groups, even more than 50 artists participating in the exhibition received language insults, public condemnation, and some comment from their families. Some critics think these artists are children who are unaware and insensitive to the war and experiences. These all show the hated of anti-Communists influenced by the Cold War background. The controversy over Chau‘s artworks reveals more internal conflicts in the Vietnamese American community, such as identity definitions, political system struggles, and intergenerational relationships, etc.
In the reading “Whose community is it anyway?: Oversea Vietnamese Negotiating their cultural and Political Identity - The Case of Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen'' by Kieu-Linh Valverde explains the controversial topic of naming the San Jose business district “Saigon Business District''which causes a recall election of Madison Nguyen. Some members of the Vietnamese community felt that she betrayed them,corrupt, and that she was a communist. Vice- Mayor Madison Nguyen found herself against the Vietnamese Community since the silent majority spoke up of what they wanted for the Vietnamese Community. They explain that “Little Saigon advocates claimed that the name alone represented the refugee experience, freedom , democracy, and nationalism”( Valverde 123)Madison part of the generation who focus on connecting and understanding with the older generation, but fighting for change to express their views and the respect that American never gave. I feel that the Vietnamese community feels uneasy about the political idea of communism and the word carries dark memories for Vietnamese Americans.
I didn’t know about this issue in San Jose, but I heard about it from family members who were not clear on what was going on. I was thinking about what was wrong with the name Little Saigon, but I did understand that she tried to compromise with the Vietnamese community. She compromises with her community to ask them to realize that she has to represent other communities in San Jose as well.
Some members of the community felt that Madison Nguyen had betrayed them when she wanted to fight for the whole community.These members were elderly man and people from the 1.5 generation are fighting for the name Little Saigon.For them, Little Saigon equals Anti-communist. The Vietanemse community did a recall on Madison Nguyen from her seat on the City of San Jose city council
She tried to compromise with the community by calling the district "Saigon Business District". However, some members of the community protested and felt betrayed. Madison had realized that she had to overcome Vietnamese traditional norms,gender roles, and class to get to where she was.Madison Nguyen wanted to help her community, but also other communities that live in San Jose. Members that did not feel the connection to Little Saigon, but sympathize with the older generation who didn’t understand institutions in America. Anti communism plays a small role on why the Vietnamese community went against Madison Nguyen; other factors like generation, class, status, gender, traditional roles, and jealous of the success of others .Madison Nguyen overcame the idea of anti communism within the Vietnamese Community, which changed the politics for Vietnamese Americans.Although it is important to remember our history and stories from the Vietnam War, that doesn’t mean we should deny the voices and experience of the future generation other communities, and the Vietnamese Diaspora itself.
Now we are going to do a discussion question.
Then turn to the person next to discuss this question for about five minutes. How do you feel about ethnic enclaves after hearing about the controversy?
For the slides dedicated to Chapter six, the class will be given a brief overview of what the chapter discusses, and the main ideas of the chapter as a whole. The chapter begins detailing the police brutality beating of a Vietnamese international student studying at the San Jose State University. The first slide will give background on the incident, and then will discuss the community response. The vietnamese community was supportive of the student, until it was known that he was a Vietnamese national, at which point the community became divided over their support of him. The withdrawal of support was largely based in the anti-communist sentiment of the Vietnamese-American community, a direct result of the Vietnamese diaspora. I will then go into the main points of the chapter, which are the Vietnamese diaspora, the relationship between the United States and Viet Nam, and the growing number of international Vietnamese students that are coming to the United States.
The second slide will discuss the growing and evolving transnational connections of Vietnamese people, both in Viet Nam and in the United States, that are mentioned in the chapter. I will read a quote from the chapter, “Their transnational acts, accelerated by globalization, have involved forming virtual communities via the Internet, organizing social movements, sharing music across oceans, creating art, developing new media outlets, finding political representation, and even carefully dissenting within this ethnic community,” (pg. 146). This quote will allow me to introduce the concepts of transnational acts to the class. The chapter gives examples of art, film, music, and humanitarian projects that have been given life thanks to the continued communication and discourse between Vietnamese people. I will briefly mention Chau Huynh who is an artist known for her work with transnationalizing Viet Nam.
The last slide features the quote, “As immigrants, refugees, or more generally, persons of color, people find that they must negotiate their places in U.S. society while confronting embedded barriers against assimilation,” (pg. 146). I will read this quote in order to facilitate the last discussion to the class. The question “Do you feel that it has become easier to keep your ethnic culture, or do you feel pressured to assimilate to a Western culture?” will hopefully allow the students to think of what they read in this chapter, along with their own experiences, and create a dialogue.