This morning I went in search of what I'd hoped might be a remaining version of British guerilla street artist Banksy's stencil nicknamed "Caution," a parody of the famous migrant family freeway sign that for years was a fixture of the drive between Los Angeles and San Diego on Interstate 5. But no luck. Like the better-known stencil at First and Soto streets, the image that was briefly captured on the bridge at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue - and which may or may not have been Banksy's - is also gone.
Banksy art began popping up throughout L.A. in the days leading up to yesterday's Academy Awards ceremony as the elusive artist, a best-documentary nominee for his film "Exit Through the Gift Shop," made the rounds of the town. The "Caution" stencil portrayed the familiar running migrant family, only flying a kite instead of making a harrowing sprint across the freeway.
Screen shot of a race and ethnicity map of the Compton area from the New York Times' "Mapping America: Every City, Every Block" interactive project. Blue dots represent African Americans, yellow dots represent Latinos. Each dot represents 25 people.
A post from last week regarding the political scenario in Compton, where Latino residents are vying with the city's established but shrinking African American community for political power, drew a series of comments over the weekend. While most of the later comments revolved around illegal immigration (and no, the lawsuit filed by three Latina residents trying to change Compton's local election process has nothing to do with this) there was an intriguing comment at the beginning that I reread a few times.
From a reader identified as "1tag," the comment, below, captured something beyond what's often described in simple terms as racial and ethnic tension in parts of Los Angeles County such as Compton, where a traditionally African American population has given way to a Latino majority.
Screen shot of a race and ethnicity map of the Compton area from the New York Times' "Mapping America: Every City, Every Block" interactive project. Blue dots represent African Americans, yellow dots represent Latinos, red dots represent Asians and green dots represent whites. Each dot represents 25 people.
While the U.S. Census Bureau has yet to release new data on race and ethnicity, it's already clear that some of the states with the biggest population growth, and which will gain Congressional seats, also happen to be states where Latinos have come to represent a bigger chunk of the population in recent years. But does this necessarily translate into more political clout for Latinos? And as these population shifts take place, what shape do they take at the neighborhood level, culturally and politically?
An interesting case study is playing out in Compton, a working-class Los Angeles County city that was long predominantly African American (some may remember it as the Compton of N.W.A's 1988 hip hop classic Straight Outta Compton) but where Latinos now make up two-thirds of the population.
Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A McDonalds's ad in Spanish on an MTA train in Los Angeles, December 2008
Hispanic preschoolers see 290 Spanish-language fast food TV ads each year. McDonald’s is responsible for 25% of young people’s exposure to Spanish-language fast food advertising.
There's more. From the report, titled Fast Food FACTS: Evaluating Fast Food Nutrition and Marketing to Youth:
There is considerable evidence that exposure to marketing for fast food is even higher among African American and Hispanic youth. African American youth view almost 50% more TV advertisements for fast food than do white children and adolescents. Although differences in advertising exposure can be attributed in large part to the greater amount of time that African American and Hispanic youth spend watching television, fast food restaurants appear to disproportionately target African Americans and Hispanics with their marketing efforts. For example, fast food ads appear more frequently during African American-targeted TV programming than during general audience programming.
Fast food advertisements are also prevalent on Spanish-language television networks, comprising nearly half of all ads. Billboards for fast food restaurants appear significantly more often in low-income African American and Latino neighborhoods.
Fast food restaurants located in poorer African American neighborhoods also promote less-healthful foods and have more in-store advertisements compared to restaurants in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods.
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
Taking calls at the "Ve y Vota" voter outreach campaign's call center tonight in South L.A.
It's been a long day, but not as long for most as it has been for some of the people staffing the "Ve y Vota" call center at the South L.A. headquarters of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where calls from voters have been coming in since 3 a.m.
The phone bank, one of several around the country put together by the same team of advocacy and media groups as part of a voter outreach campaign, has been fielding calls as simple as "Where do I vote?" to calls about voter intimidation and rude poll workers, with complaints referred to volunteer attorneys.
So far, the complaints coming in to this particular call center - which has been taking calls from around the country (with some phone staffers in since before dawn) and will be open until midnight - have been relatively minimal, with the most excitement surrounding media reports of Spanish-language "robocalls" and mailers advising recipients to vote a day late. So far, the only thing confirmed by staffers has been a bilingual flyer in New York state with a Nov. 3 date in the Spanish translation, said Gladys Negrete, a data analyst with the NALEO Educational Fund.