Tag Archives: vietnam

Intersectionality – a personal essay

“Intersectionality” is getting lots of buzz. (See Chronicle of Higher Education, for example. Google it, for more than you ever want to know.)

I stepped into an intersection yesterday. Not in a street, but at my usual place-of-yoga, the local Hindu Temple. I have a long, comfortable relationship with the Temple. They offer yoga in return for a $5 donation. I speak well of them in the community.

Yesterday the regular yoga space looked different. The amount of artwork on the walls had been doubled, and two beautiful “altars” had been arranged, decked with candles and floral arrangements. What?! I had never seen this degree of formality at the Temple. We learned that a Vietnamese group was holding a meeting or celebration. Preparations had been made. Are there Hindus in Vietnam? I don’t think so. My guess is that the group is Buddhist.

Wikipedia tells me that Buddhism is the dominant religion in Vietnam, carrying with it strong veins of Taoism and Confucianism originating in China. I’m not sure what script I was seeing on the new posters in the Temple. Possibly a version of Sanskrit, but it didn’t match the flowing script seen around the Temple.

The Vietnamese event was not set up in the sacred part of the Temple, with the God images. I couldn’t tell if the human figures on the Vietnamese posters correspond in any way to the Hindu deities, or whether they are intended to be divine. I have so many questions!

So many stories waiting to be told. The world comes to my neighborhood!

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Remembering the Sixties

The Eve of Destruction – How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson, 2012.

I wondered how a description of the sixties would match up to my memories. I finished high school in 1967, which means I rode out 1965 in a rather protected, suburban corner of the world. Different authors have picked different years as the crux of the sixties. Patterson emphasizes how fast attitudes changed (from hopeful to anxious) during 1965.

Two themes run through this book – Vietnam and civil rights.

To me, the important aspect of Vietnam was the draft. It was a cloud on the horizon in 1965, but before I was out of college, some draft boards called up every eligible man in their region. I was reminded that, in 1965, two Americans killed themselves by burning to protest the draft. News coverage at the time was scanty. 

Details about the civil rights movement were similarly interesting.

This book provides a good review of an important part of our history. Patterson (a professor at Brown University) has written (at least) seven other books. Several deal further with civil rights, and one is about cancer.