How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Be Italian?' No, be a Mexican (Video)

I'll confess that I've never seen the film or stage versions of "Nine," so I had no idea what "Be Italian" sounded like when a colleague sent me this video of a local singer who tweaked the lyrics. Which is fine, because her version of it, "Be a Mexican" is brilliant in its own right.

The singer is Elysa Gomez, a contestant in the "Cabaret Idol" show at the Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill. The weekly show, a cabaret mini-version of American Idol, has been running since Jan. 23 and will conclude this Sunday.

The backstory to the lyrics: Gomez, whose day job is substitute teaching, grew up third-generation Mexican American in a relatively affluent Glendale family, the child of artists who had grown up in East Los Angeles and gradually moved west.

"I always hated to talk about growing up not knowing how to speak Spanish, and how the kids called me a fake Mexican," Gomez said by phone the other day. "I even had my Spanish teachers making fun of me. This has been a constant theme, that I was a sellout, an American Mexican princess, whitewashed, all these different things they would say."

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KPCC joins Japan quake relief effort this weekend

Photo by Dominic Alvez/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A donation bucked in Brighton, England, March 25, 2011

More than a month after a magnitude 9 earthquake and the resulting tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, international relief efforts continue to build, and for good reason. At least 150,000 remain homeless, many of the estimated 28,000 people who perished are still unaccounted for, millions are without water or power, and an ailing nuclear plant continues to be a threat.

Over the past month, Japanese American groups, businesses large and small, commercial media outlets and a broad smattering of celebrities have joined efforts to raise money for quake recovery. This weekend, 89.3 KPCC is joining the cause.

The station has partnered with the California Community Foundation and the U.S.-Japan Council for a weekend-long fund raising drive. Donations will go to the Red Cross, the International Medical Corps, Save the Children and to Japanese NGOs. More details are posted on the station's website.

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Emails illustrate 'disarray,' confusion over Secure Communities immigration program

Art by José Luís Agapito/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Hundreds of emails from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released yesterday illustrate the confusion over Secure Communities, a federal fingerprint sharing program whose involuntary nature has frustrated local law enforcement in some jurisdictions, including in California.

The emails include internal communication between ICE officials and with state officials in California. They were obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation by legal advocacy groups that include Los Angeles' National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law's Immigration Justice Clinic. The groups have described the content of the emails as attempts to deliberately mislead California officials about the nature of the program, initiated in 2008, which many at first believed to be voluntary.

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In the news this morning: New Arizona-style law in Georgia, LA Plaza opens in L.A, a birther bill, Latinos and redistricting, more

Georgia immigration law: Georgia passes immigration bill similar to Arizona's - Los Angeles Times Police would be empowered to check the immigration status of "criminal" suspects and many businesses would be required to check the status of potential hires.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes to celebrate its grand opening - 89.3 KPCC LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes opens Saturday in downtown Los Angeles, near Olvera Street. It’s the city’s first permanent Mexican-American cultural center.

Arizona Legislature Approves Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates To Prove U.S. Citizenship - Huffington Post Arizona legislators gave final approval last night to a proposal that would require President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state's ballot.

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'Why do you only date white men?' An interracial dater explains

Photo by qthomasbower/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Please give a warm welcome to KPCC's Kim Bui, editor of the OnCentral blog and Multi-American guest blogger of the day:

As an adult, I’ve rarely had a conversation about race without it slowly turning toward relationships.

Yes, many Asian women date white guys. Indeed, I tend to be one of them.

Today I spied a post on KCET's website titled "Love Isn't Blind, It's Just Near Sighted," which began:

Last week a good friend posed a question to me, "Do you only date white men?" It took a minute for me to reply, it was a question that has floated around me since I was able to sneak out of the house in high school.

The post incorporated various people's answers to the question, "Why do Asians predominately date Caucasians?"

I mentioned it to Leslie, which led to a long-winded conversation about dating and marriage and gossiping Vietnamese mothers, which in turn led to Leslie asking me to share a little on my experiences.

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