Photo: Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times.
Earlier this year I wrote about what Anna from I Heart Cabramatta calls “house temples,” suburban residences turned into places of worship for Vietnamese Buddhists. Today’s Los Angeles Times has a story on the issues that these house temples are raising in their communities. Neighbors say they are primarily concerned with the amount of traffic that these temples bring, but there is also more than a small amount of xenophobia in the air.
Even though the face of central Orange County began changing decades ago with the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants, the tiny neighborhood temples sometimes seem foreign to residents when they spring up.
“There’s no question where you’re confronted with something you don’t understand or are unfamiliar with, you’re uncomfortable,” Kennedy said.
Often stereotypes about a culture or its images — such as the Buddhist swastika or Sikh turbans — can “color our thinking” about a neighbor, Kennedy said.
Orange County, about an hour south of the city of Los Angeles, is home to one of the largest concentrations of Vietnamese Americans in the country. Orange County’s Little Saigon is centered in the cities of Westminster and Garden Grove.