What's in a name? Controversy erupts over proposal to designate parts of Fields Corner as Little Saigon

The Dorchester Reporter reports on a proposal to designate a formal Little Saigon district in Fields Corner to celebrate the area's large Vietnamese population. Not everybody is thrilled:

"How does the Blarney Stone fit into Little Saigon, or Antonio’s Pizza?" he asked. "It's an exclusive name, and you can be certain there’s gonna be signs going up that are going to drop the Fields Corner identity."

Neighborhoods: 

Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

Really

By on

This isn't a slap in the face to Vietnam vets from the area. Any plans for a hotel, maybe they can call it the Hanoi Hilton.

up
12

Oh, look, somebody who doesn't know anything about Fields Corner

By on

If you'd ever been to a Dorchester Day Parade, you'd know the folks who've made Fields Corner their home fought WITH THE AMERICANS. The men who march in that parade fly the South Vietnamese flag and wear their ARVN (or Navy or Air Force) uniforms.

And if you knew anything about Vietnam, you'd know that designating the area as Little Saigon reflects that history, given what the city's name was changed to after 1974 (do you need some help looking up what happened in 1974?).

Next stupid argument?

up
92

Oh Look

By on

Somebody who doesn't know anything about the use of the name Saigon (as opposed to its current official name).

up
31

Yup

If the proposal was to call the area "Little Ho Chi Minh City," now THAT would be offensive to Vietnam veterans.

up
35

Would it though?

By on

The US was the oppressor in this conflict. One could argue that the soldiers were among those oppressed by the US government's actions as well. Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American folks expressing cultural pride is not offensive to American veterans who joined the military for career/education reasons or were drafted, and who were not responsible in any way for the US government's decisions. It's just like how you can support the troops without supporting the war.

up
10

No, it isn't "just like" that

The Vietnamese who emigrated to Boston are among those who opposed Ho and the VC. They are not fond of the renaming of Saigon, and they will not thank you for attempting to "support" them by implicitly endorsing it.

I suggest you go down there and talk to some of them. Then you can visit your local VFW and talk to some of the Nam vets. I don't think your ideas about the feelings of these people are well-informed.

up
19

“but we want to preserve the

By on

“but we want to preserve the culture and history of Vietnamese people who have come to Boston and Massachusetts.”

What about preserving the culture of the people that frequented the Blarney Stone that came to Boston and might have even gone to Fields Corner to secure employment ?

up
14

The Next Logical Thing

Adams Corner should be renamed Little Galway?

There is more to this story. There is a woman who gave up on all the trappings of Needham and the W suburbs last year and is embracing "diversity" of Dorchester like a crazed convert. She is pushing Little Saigon so hard that I half expect her to open up a combined Bah Mi meets Anthropolgie store.

Things were fine before she showed up. People just lived their lives, albeit with the diversity of just living that people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk call for, whilst they sneak back over the borders of their leafy suburbs at night.

Boston neighborhood are always in flux. When Dudley is whiter than rice in 25 years, are there going to be calls to change Malcolm X Boulevard to some other name to reflect the character of the area?

Just a thought.

up
28

Wow Eeka - We thought you were dead

I'm not talking about reverse racism. If someone refers to someone by an ethnic slur and basically tells them to get out, that is the preliminary version of ethnic cleansing.

Now, I cannot link to any study like you did, but if someone told me to move out of any area because of the color of my skin, isn't that racism? I was told by some gentlemen in the South End once to "go back to the suburbs" after my buddy and I (both a year out of Dot) whupped their arses in basketball.

I guess that wasn't racist, just social, I guess. Sounded racist to me at the time, but what do I know.

Now, I cannot link to any

By on

Now, I cannot link to any study like you did, but if someone told me to move out of any area because of the color of my skin, isn't that racism?

No. Any other questions?

up
10

oh poor whitey...

By on

This place has not always been "Fields Corner" it once had an indigenous name.

up
19

Oh really?

By on

What was the indigenous name for Fields Corner? Can you provide any historical references?

There are archaeological and historical records of indigenous presence and settlements in Savin Hill, Mattapan, Neponset, and some of the Harbor Islands, but I am not aware of any records of indigenous settlements or presence in Fields Corner other than inclusion in the general range of the Massachusett and other tribes.

up
10

Listen up Dotard

By on

Just because we don't have a name that the natives gave it doesn't mean that there wasn't a name.

It just means that our diseases, weapons, and murdering of natives erased that name.

Erasing people from history is a huge piece of the Genocide game.

Take a big deep breath there tough guy anon

By on

Why the anger and name calling?

And no, just because there was European genocide against indigenous people doesn't mean there was a native settlement in Fields Corner. There is plenty of good archaeological and historical research on Pre Columbian Americas despite European attempts to bury a lot of it and none that I am aware of mentions the specific area now known as Fields Corner. I would love to become aware of it if it exists. but your assumption that it existed and was destroyed by the English is an assumption and nothing more than an assumption.

And believe or not, indigenous tribes were humans, and because they were, they sometimes fought against each other and violently killed each other, even before the Europeans came. So yes, indigenous people, being people, engaged in genocide long before the Europeand brought their own brand of genocide to the Americas.

Who is the Dotard?

By on

This is an incredibly ignorant and lying post. You have no information that there was a native name for Fields Corner. You have no information that a name for Fields Corner was "erased" by genocide.

Indigenous Name for Fields Corner?

I would love to know what it was? Any thoughts professor or are you just spouting?

The corner was created when a former native American walkway (Adams Street, also known as the Lower Road to Milton) was crossed with the newly created Dorchester Turnpike in 1805. The name Field's Corner was given because two brothers named Fields had a store there.

Just like Upham's Corner had a store owned by someone named Upham.

PS - By time 1805 rolled around, there had nary been a Native American living in that area since at least the 1680's.

up
15

Professor?

I was asking you because I thought you might know, since you said it did you passive aggressive internet toughie.

OFD Respects SFD

No problem at all.

I would love a circa 1984 tasting slice of Hi-Fi right now.

Someday I will be rich enough to be DBC.

Yes, he did

By on

And there's a difference when a racist blowhard uses a phrase as an insult and the people who actually live there use it.

up
17

What a lame thing to get

By on

What a lame thing to get upset about. I don't remember anyone throwing a fit when the Latin Quarter was named in JP. And guess what? The Latin Quarter also has an Irish bar and a pizza place and it didn't cause the neighborhood to self destruct! The Sousa family needs a hobby.

up
40

Little Saigon

By on

The Vietnamese community are proud Americans who suffered horribly during the war. Every day they look out their windows they see the profile of Ho Chi Minh painted in blue on the gas tanks on Morrisssey Blvd. who tortured and murdered millions who opposed his communist regime. This and the recent vandalism of the Vietnam memorial in Dorchester are offensive. The renaming of a neighborhood of immigrants who suffered greatly should be applauded not condemned .

up
12

Ho Chi Minh on the gas tank?

By on

Please calm down and come back to reality. Ho Chi Minh is not on the gas tank. Never was. But I have seen Jesus in my spaghetti and meat balls.

Try again

By on

Whether or not the artist intended to put Ho on the tank is subject to debate, I guess, but, please, people have been seeing Ho on the tank (even after the stripes were moved and even after he got a different nose) since it went up.

Because it's easier for politicians

By on

to focus on meaningless gestures like this than to work on resolving matters that will actually result in meaningful change for people.

Only one other ethnically-designated district?

Other districts, like Boston’s Literary Cultural District, the Fenway and Roxbury cultural districts, and others around the state are mostly untethered to a particular ethnic group, they note. The only similar district would be the Latin Quarter in Jamaica Plain.

Huh, what about "Chinatown" ? It even has a subway stop named for it.

Wasn't Chinatown a Derogatory Term?

By on

I don't think this was a name that the Chinese immigrant community gave it, was it? (And it does pre-date Dapper, so you can't blame him on this one.)

Polish Triangle

probably isn't an officially designated district, but it's a commonly used name, even though not everyone there is Polish. (But, is it considered part of Southie or of Dorchester?)

up
11

Don’t know how officially

By on

Don’t know how officially official it is, but there are signs as you enter the neighborhood designating it the Polish Triangle. And about 95% of it or so lies in Dorchester, the northern tip (Andrew Sq) is the part that’s in Southie.

That was my first thought too

By on

We have a Chinatown, and there are businesses there that aren't Asian-American businesses. These businesses do just fine, and they aren't oppressed by the acknowledgement that an area is heavily Asian-American.

White people need to stop pretending that uplifting marginalized minorities is somehow oppressive to us. We as white people constantly exclude people of color.

up
11

Hoods Like FC Are Too Engrained For Such Marketing

By on

It'll never stick. Neighborhood names are organic things that come up among the immediate community over time. Someone can name some new condo building, and maybe that'll become what it is known as. But neighborhoods are different, they're defined colloquially by the people there, not by some marketing whiz.

Look at SoWa. Anyone who actually calls Harrison Ave. this, sounds like a dope. Nobody in Somerville who grew up around Assembly Square is suddenly adopting the new corporate rebrand, Assembly Row. People will call neighborhoods by what they have historically known them as. (See the recent resurrection of 'Glovers Corner' - ironically the next village over from Fields Corner.)

up
10

Historically...

By on

I've heard Off Harrison, Dover St., and Old Dover, and New York Streets. There are other sub-neighborhood names in the South End, like Worcester Square, Blackstone/Franklin (nee Columbia Square), Union Park, Eight Streets, Chester Square, etc. SoWa, in addition to being technically incorrect (it's more east of Washington St than anything), it's clumsy sounding, and is an incredibly unoriginal and uninspiring moniker. I can't believe that a marketing team was paid to come up with the term.

Assembly Square was also a name created by a developer

It was the name of a shopping mall that opened in 1980. Before that, it was just the old Ford factory (and then, for a while, First National Stores grocery warehouse). There was no neighborhood because it was all industrial. (The neighborhood on the other side of Route 28 was and still is called Ten Hills.)

Really, no one calls the area

By on

Really, no one calls the area around City Hall the Government Center? Or the area near Downton Crossing "Chinatown".Those were renamed areas. And thats not even what is being thought of for Fields Corner, its an ADDITIONAL name for an overlaying area. And Assembly Row is within Assembly Square, so fear not, Trader Joes, Burlington Coat, etc. are still in Assembly Square for all you traditionalist from 1980.

Little Saigon

By on

I moved few away years ago but Dorchester was a huge part of My history. My family were some of the first property owners to rent to Vietnamese in Dorchester in the 70s the first Vietnamese market in Dorchester was located at 299 Hancock Street it was called the Dong Phoung Market. We endured broken windows kids lighting the building on fire to protest Vietnamese in the neighborhood if you look at the side of 299 Hancock Street today I am sure You can see the dents. When we owned the building and did a renovation we decided to paint the siding purple instead of replacing it because that was part of our history. From what I have read that building is coming down now. Our family had a commitment to diversity Dapper O’Neil shocked the news when we he made his famous dispaging remarks about The Vietnamese sitting on the steps watching the parade. I seriously hope this discussion doesn’t go down the wrong path I am sure some kind of compromise can be made

up
14

meh

By on

How about just not renaming stuff?

I'd actually be surprised if

By on

I'd actually be surprised if many other white people besides Ms. Sousa cared about this one way or the other. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if most white people in the area would be delighted with the name. My first thought was that this would be an article about African American residents opposing the name change as some kind of real estate marketing ploy put forth by a speculator. I think of this as being an African American neighborhood and that those opposing it would not be white residents at all. It ain't Adam's Village.

My Guess

By on

There is something more to the renaming. I suspected there was for The Latin Quarter and found the evidence:

he designation as a cultural district requires state approval and would open the neighborhood to grants, state transportation money for new signs, and a mention on the state’s tourism websites. It would help support businesses and arts and cultural institutions, attracting tourists and newcomers who seek out authentic slices of Boston’s ethnic mosaic.

from: https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2016/04/27/city-council-approves-...

Probably something similar for Little Saigon?