Saturday, February 8, 2020

Week 6_Janine Nguyen_ASA 150E

Following the theme of week 6, Diasporic Experiences and Transnational Processes, in Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture, and Politics in the Diaspora, Professor Valverde delves into how identity politics is relevant, especially when referring to the Southeast Asian community, such as the Vietnamese American diasporic community. In Chapter 6: "Vietnamese Diaspora Revisited", Professor Valverde explores the controversy surrounding Madison Nguyen, especially in regard to the issues associated with political and cultural identity. It is important to acknowledge how Nguyen's platform as a person of color is heavily influenced by ethnic minority groups' needs and attitudes. I thought it was interesting to see the relationship between Madison Nguyen and the Vietnamese American community in the San Jose area, especially since I am personally from San Jose, and definitely recognize the almost "love-and-hate" relationship that the Vietnamese people have with Nguyen as a political figure. Personally, I see how this sentiment is reflected among the Vietnamese community, especially how the community supports Nguyen for her affiliation as a person of color, yet simultaneously condemns her for her actions. People tend to have a worse opinion of her as a political figure, due to one of the more culturally sensitive issues, such as how Nguyen did not name the new addition to the Grand Century plaza as Little Saigon; this resulted in a lot of backlash, and many strongly upheld the belief that Nguyen would not act as proper representation for the Vietnamese community in San Jose, especially since the community consists of mainly Southern Vietnamese people. There was a lot of controversy, since many argued that the plaza should have been named Little Saigon; many accused Nguyen of following Communist ideals and supporting the Communist Vietnamese government by refusing to name the center as Little Saigon. This is an example of how one's political agenda is strongly influenced and affected by the constituents that may support or criticize their actions. If a political figure fails to be receptive, their support base is weakened, so it is integral to be aware of the general attitudes of the crowd and be conscious of their demands.

My questions include the following: how can we avoid being complicit, especially when supporting political figures? How can we gain these experiences or develop a better understanding, when it is difficult to find representation? I personally find this to be an ongoing struggle, especially given that younger and older generations have strongly opposing views, or younger generations simply are unaware of these types of issues.

The following picture depicts Madison Nguyen in the Grand Century plaza from a Mercury News article. 

Molina, J. (2016, August 14). Councilwoman Nguyen in middle of `Little Saigon' debate. Retrieved 8, 2020, from

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