How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Scenes from a (bicultural) marriage: Communication and identity

Photo by steena/Flickr (Creative Commons)


Love has become increasingly color-blind, this we know, as the percentage of interracial and interethnic marriages in the United States continues to grow. And it may conquer much. But even in one of the world's most diverse cities, that doesn't necessarily make love across color or ethnic lines any easier.

This was the takeaway last Thursday night, when three bicultural couples shared the stage with me at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum to share their personal stories. The couples: Aris and and InSun Janigian, an Armenian American novelist and his Korean American wife; KPCC's Off-Ramp host John Rabe and Julian Bermudez, a producer of art exhibits; and Terry Dennis and Gabriela Lopez de Dennis, both artists, a black Texan and a Latina from Los Angeles.

All three long-term couples talked about a series of struggles and triumphs and, while they've by now made it mostly to happily-ever-after, bridges they've crossed along the way. These have included standing up to disapproving parents ("I'm marrying her, I'm not marrying you," Janigian said he once told his mother); for Bermudez, the attitudes of his conservative Mexican Catholic mother, who struggles with his same-sex marriage, continue to be a challenge.

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Love, L.A. style: 'We are ALL the same, we just have different colored suits'

Photo by jude hill/Flickr (Creative Commons)


We know by now that interracial and interethnic relationships and families are on the rise throughout the United States, something that isn't exactly a news flash in Los Angeles. But what is life in these relationships like behind closed doors, as couples navigate life through different cultural lenses while raising children, paying bills, dealing with in-laws and other challenges?

Tonight I’ll be moderating a community forum at KPCC in which several of bicultural couples will share their own experiences. And all this week, I've been offering sneak peeks on this site as participating couples share a little about themselves in mini-Q&A interviews.

Yesterday we heard from KPCC’s OffRamp host John Rabe and Julian Bermudez, a producer of art exhibits, who shared a bit on the (mostly) ups and (some) downs of life as a bicultural same-sex couple. On Tuesday, Aris and InSun Janigian, an Armenian American novelist and his Korean American spouse, dished on communication, romance, in-laws and, importantly, food.

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Love, L.A. style: 'Mijo he's very handsome and SO tall! And, he's white!...Marry him!'

Photo by Anz-i/Flickr (Creative Commons)


It's no longer a news flash that interracial and interethnic relationships and families are on the rise as the nation goes the way of Los Angeles, becoming increasingly multiethnic.

But what is life in these relationships like behind closed doors, as couples navigate the challenges of work, children, in-laws, even different ways of communicating?

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be moderating a community forum at KPCC in which several couples will share their own experiences. Until then, I’m offering some sneak peeks on this site, as couples who are participating share a bit about themselves in mini-Q&A interviews.

Today’s couple: KPCC's OffRamp host John Rabe and Julian Bermudez, a producer of art exhibits. For a same-sex couple, some of the intercultural challenges are the same as those of male-female couples, others quite different. (There are in-law issues just the same, but they might have more to do with what a staunchly old-country mother tolerates, for example.)

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Love, L.A. style: A Korean-Armenian couple dishes on romance, food, in-laws and 'the dowry'

Photo by qthomasbower/Flickr (Creative Commons)


We’ve all seen the statistics and the stories by now: Interracial and interethnic relationships and families are on the rise, the product of an increasingly multicultural United States. A Pew Research Center report last February charted a growing number of interracial marriages, with 15.1 percent of new marriages in 2010 being between spouses of different races or ethnicities.

But what is life in these relationships like behind closed doors, as couples navigate the challenges of work, children, in-laws, communication - even when English is their first language - as viewed through the lenses of different cultural backgrounds?

This coming Thursday, May 31, I’ll be moderating a community forum at KPCC in which several couples will share their own experiences. Until then, I'll be offering some sneak peeks on this site, as couples who are participating share a bit about themselves in mini-Q&A interviews.

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Recollections of the riots, 20 years later

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What do you call what happened in L.A. 20 years ago in April-early May, and how did you come to learn about what happened back then?

This was the question to the audience that kicked off a community town hall event on the 1992 Los Angeles riots at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum last week. It was the preamble to a long and nuanced conversation about where the city has gone since, with a panel presentation from the moderators of several KPCC focus groups addressing the riots (the results of which be shared next week on Multi-American) and the results of a survey from Loyola Marymount University, which took the temperature of race relations in L.A. twenty years later.

But it was that initial question asked of the audience by senior news editor and moderator Cheryl Devall - what we remember of those confusing days that began April 29, 1992, and how their legacy has stuck - that defined the evening.

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