How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The cultural mashup dictionary: Tweecanos

Photo by TexasT/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I've never met @xicano007, but a tweet from this East L.A. blogger and sports card collector brings us yet another entry for our evolving dictionary of cultural mashup terms: tweecanas and tweecanos.

Here's how it was used, in a tweet from yesterday mentioning an upcoming performance by Aztlan Underground:

RT @xicano007: Next Saturday at the BLVD in BOYLE HEIGHTS join @Aztlanug @laloalcaraz & some tweecanas/tweecanos for a night of rebeldia

It's perfect. Not sure if @xicano007 coined it, but who cares? Plus it sounds like a great show.

Multi-American's cultural mashup dictionary kicked off this spring. It's a collection of occasional entries, bits and pieces of the evolving lexicon of words, terms and phrases coined as immigrants and their descendants influence the English language, and it influences them.


Obama and immigration: More details from a poll of Latino voters

Source: impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll, June 9, 2011

The results of a nationwide poll of Latino voters released last week found immigration to be a personal issue for many. Among other things, out of a sample of 500 registered voters in 21 states, 53 percent said they knew someone who is undocumented, and one-fourth said they knew a person or family who has faced immigrant detention or deportation.

Today, the polling firm Latino Decisions and impreMedia, parent company of the Spanish-language Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, announced more detailed results from their most recent joint tracking poll.

These provided a sampling of Latino voters' opinions of President Obama, in particular their opinions of his handling of immigration issues.

From a summary of the results, some highlights:

48% approve of Obama's handling of immigration issue; 38% disapprove

48% say Democrats are doing a good job of outreach to Hispanics; 31% say Democrats don't care too much; 7% say Dems are being hostile

12% say Republicans are doing a good job of outreach to Hispanics; 49% say GOP doesn't care too much; 23% say GOP is being hostile

46% think the lack of immigration reform since '08 is understandable given all the issues facing the country; 42% say Obama should have pushed harder to pass reform

50% think immigration reform has not passed because Republicans are blocking passage; 33% think it has not passed because Obama did not push hard enough

51% think the President's recent outreach on immigration is a serious attempt to pass reform; 41% think the President is just saying what Latinos want to hear because the election is approaching

55% say Republican calls for increased border security is an excuse to block immigration reform; 30% think increasing border security is a legitimate concern


In the news this morning: Latinos and redistricting, convicted BART officer released, a difficult decade for American Muslims, more

California redistricting: Latinos fret over redrawn map of California congressional districts - Los Angeles Times The executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials calls the proposed new maps of congressional districts the "worst-case scenario for Latinos in California.’’

Johannes Mehserle, former BART officer, was released from L.A. County Jail - Los Angeles Times A white former San Francisco Bay area transit officer convicted of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man on an Oakland train station platform was released after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence. The incident and his trial sparked racial tension and protests in the Bay Area.

Martinez name the Smith of Hispanics - El Paso Times Even with people giving up land telephone lines and switching to cell phones, the El Paso phone directory still lists more than 2,200 Martinezes.


Zebra print? Masks? The quinceañera has come a long way

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Last Sunday I attended a quinceañera expo in Garden Grove for KPCC's Madeleine Brand Show, interviewing a few of the dozens of vendors who were there catering to parents of teenage girls preparing for the ultimate Latin American coming-of-age ritual.

It was in some ways a blast from the past for me, an L.A.-bred Latina of a certain age. I spent many of my childhood and early teen years attending quinceañeras. At the same time the expo, set up by the industry hub Quinceañ, made me nostalgic for the simple days of pastel pink hoop dresses and cheap tiaras with the number "15" at the top.

Hawking their services in a hotel ballroom, the vendors forming part what's become a multi-million dollar industry ranged from dress designers and banquet facilities to DJs and makeup artists. Among other things, I learned that the hot fashion ticket this year is zebra print. And Venetian-style masks. And elaborate themes, like "Phantom of the Opera." It doesn't stop there.


Making sense of Alabama's new immigration law: Three good reads

Photo by naslrogues/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Nearly a year after Arizona's SB 1070 took effect last July, the immigration spotlight has shifted to Alabama, where yesterday the governor signed an anti-illegal immigration law that is being described as the nation's most stringent yet.

Like SB 1070, the Alabama law would allow local police to check the immigration status of people they detain. But there are other elements - including a business component patterned after an earlier Arizona measure - that make the law particularly contentious, and lawsuits challenging it are already in the works.

Among the many news reports today, a few good ones have helped explain the law and put it in perspective.  An Associated Press story today broke down its key elements:

Among other things, the law makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to an illegal immigrant.

Another provision makes it a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant. Arizona's law appears narrower: It includes language against human smuggling and makes it illegal to pick up laborers for work if doing so impedes traffic.

Alabama's law also goes further in requiring schools to check the immigration status of their students. The measure does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools; lawmakers said the purpose instead is to gather data on how many are enrolled and how the much the state is spending to educate them.