How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Another map: L.A.'s tiniest officially designated ethnic neighborhood

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A popular post last week featured a hand-drawn, bluntly worded map sent to KCET as part of a “Map Your L.A.” contest that illustrated Los Angeles as divided along racial, ethnic and class lines.

The map resonated for readers, with people posting comments like "Someone forgot about Koreatown" and "I'm one o' dem scary white people in the hills" (yes, the map labeled one area as "scary white people in the hills"). Other areas were labeled simply as "black," "brownish," "hipsters" or "homeless."

The map contest has continued, and while the entries since haven't packed quite the same punch, one stood out for depicting what is undoubtedly the tiniest of the city's officially recognized ethnic neighborhoods, Little Bangladesh.

The neighborhood, part of the larger Koreatown area, received its official designation in recent months after protracted wrangling among different ethnic groups in the area. It is a short strip along 3rd Street between New Hampshire and Alexandria avenues, named for the Bangladeshi immigrants who began settling in Koreatown about two decades ago.


Hand-drawn map illustrates a starkly divided L.A.

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A city that's perceived by some as multi-culti heaven is a starkly segregated place for many Angelenos, and this map serves as a reminder of that.

The map was submitted recently to KCET as part of an ongoing "Map Your L.A." contest, in which the station is seeking hand-drawn maps from residents. Contestants are asked to map the city as it applies to them and their experience of it. One contest entry portrays the city as a simple path from downtown to the beach; another focuses on the region's waterways.

This blunt, not-necessarily-PC entry from "A Concerned Citizen" makes no bones about the city's racial and ethnic boundaries. From the KCET Departures contest entry page:

This map illustrates an L.A. that is segregated by race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation all under an editorial title that calls for concern. The map itself is simple, with a larger message written between, under, across, and on top of the lines.