How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A Thanksgiving retweet

Photo by Lane & Anne/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The table is set, November 2007


RT @NeffStarr Turkey with my white family @1pm Then my mexican family @6pm

I caught a retweet of this little gem from someone in Houston yesterday. I liked it because it captures, in less than 140 characters, the transitioning between cultures that is also a big part of Thanksgiving Day for many in Southern California, where families are of mixed ethnicity, mixed race and mixed status.

For recent immigrants who celebrate it, the holiday is part of their adaptation to a new culture. For those who have been here a long time and have raised children here, it is a tradition that captures a cross-generational blend of voices, attitudes and languages at the table.

And for those of us raised here, the second and third generations (and the 1.5s like me), it's a day of transitioning between the old and the new, the families that raised us and the families we have perhaps married into, which, in this part of the country, might be from a different culture altogether.

It's a big table that we set in Southern California, with meals that can bear little resemblance to traditional turkey and stuffing (turkey with mole, anyone?), and new Americans who bear little resemblance to the passengers of the Mayflower. It's a table that I'm proud to sit at.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Now I'm off for the rest of the day to cook and eat.

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