In Chapter 5 of Whose Community Is It Anyway? by Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde, she introduces us to the story of Madison Nguyen, a politician who caught herself at odds with her Vietnamese-American community. Nguyen, her eight siblings, and her parents escaped Viet Nam from boat when she was very young. Her upbringing was incredibly humble; she grew up working in the fields with her family, and the hard work paid off as she was able to pursue higher education and graduate from impressive universities. She became incredibly involved with her San Jose community and became a voice for the voiceless, and she eventually became the first Vietnamese woman to be elected to city council in the nation. During her term, there was a controversy about naming the business district in SJ “Little Saigon”. Nguyen chose Saigon Business District “...as a compromise. To appease the New Saigon and Little Saigon supporters, I chose a name that they both shared, Saigon” (125). After that, the pro-Little Saigon movement became upset and wanted to recall Nguyen. She became linked to communism and rumors were spread about her. As Valverde describes, there is a fear in the Vietnamese American community that Viet Nam will have enough power to reach the diasporic community abroad. It can be shocking to see how quickly a community’s attitude towards a leader can change, but this incident reflected a broader fear and issue at hand.
Question: How can differences in a community be approached in an open and constructive way?