How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Angelenos/Angeleños speak out on who they are

In a brief post yesterday, I mentioned that I'll be moderating a panel next week at KPCC titled "Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who are we?"

It's going to be a discussion on the evolving identity of Los Angeles, based on a popular post on the KCET website a couple of months ago by author D.J. Waldie about the disappearance of the Spanish consonant ñ (pronounced “enye”) from "Angeleños," the original Spanish term for city residents.

I threw out a few questions yesterday: What is an Angeleno today? How does the culture we were raised in, and the part of the L.A. area we call home, shape how we define ourselves? In great polyglot Los Angeles of the 21st Century, do we still define ourselves geography, by area code, by ethnicity?

On KPCC's Facebook page, several readers shared their thoughts. A particular line from one of the readers below resonated: "Angelenos are all a little Mexican, a little Korean, a little Jewish no matter where they're actually from."

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UCLA student in anti-Asian rant video claims threats, apologizes - and inspires more parodies

The LA Weekly has posted a list of other angry/funny parody videos.

UCLA's Daily Bruin reports that the student who posted a video of herself ranting against "hordes" of Asian students on YouTube last Friday has sought the assistance of campus police after claiming to receive threats, and that she's issued an apology.

Alexandra Wallace's statement was sent yesterday to the campus newspaper, which posted this:

“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate,” she said in the statement. “I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.”

The Bruin story described Wallace as a third-year political science student. The video, in which Wallace complains about Asian students in the library annoying her, complains about their relatives coming over, makes "ching chong" sounds while pretending to talk into a cell phone and ridicules them for checking on their families "for the tsunami thing" was condemned as "repugnant" by campus administration.

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Quote of the moment: 'Solitary confinement at a high security prison' for ranting UCLA student

"In fact, I am so upset that I believe she should be punished by expulsion, public humiliation, and maybe even solitary confinement at a high security prison."

- Facebook user Steven Lu, from a comment posted on the UCLA chancellor's FB page today regarding a female student's anti-Asian rant on YouTube


The Facebook account of UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was flooded with comments today over a viral video that the university has condemned as "repugnant" - and which, frankly, I was reluctant to post at first.

UCLA has confirmed that the woman is Alexandra Wallace, a student at the university, the Daily Bruin reported today. Her rant, which seems almost too bizarre to take seriously, has been spoofed to hilarious effect by now, though the overwhelming reaction has been anger.

This afternoon, Block issued a public apology on behalf of the university, posted on his Facebook page. Still, the page continues to draw comments.

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Top five immigration stories of 2010, #2: The Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act wasn't new when 2010 rolled around. The proposed legislation, which would have granted conditional legal status to undocumented young people who attended college or joined the military, had already been knocking around Congress for almost a decade when it was reintroduced last year.

Still, this year has been the Dream Act's biggest by far. After failing as an attachment to a Senate defense bill voted down in September, it was introduced again as a stand-alone bill. In December, it came as close as it ever has to becoming law, clearing the House Dec. 8, but falling five votes short of cloture in the Senate ten days later. The most recent version, tightened and reintroduced in late November, would have allowed young people under 30 to apply for legal status if they met all the requirements, including having arrived before age 16.

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'Live to die another day:' With Senate Dream Act vote tabled, students go back to the phones

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

UCLA graduate student Carlos Amador addresses media at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles following the Senate's vote to table to Dream Act until next week, December 9, 2010

The Senate's decision this morning to table a vote on the Dream Act was greeted with optimism and a bit of relief by Los Angeles students and graduates who celebrated the bill's victory in the House last night, after a long day of making calls to legislators for support. Now, they go back to the phones.

"Last night's vote in the House was an historic vote," said Carlos Amador, 27, an undocumented UCLA graduate student and one of the leaders among the local students pushing for the bill. As for the Senate, "we know it's a tough battle, but we know that we can make it."

Amador, along with other college students, graduates and Dream Act supporters, spoke to reporters at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, where dozens spent yesterday calling legislators from a makeshift phone bank.

Several of the students gathered again today to make more calls before the anticipated Senate vote. While a decisive vote was expected today, the Senate voted to table the measure until later this month, possibly next week.

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