How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who are we?

Photo by jwilly/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The skyline from the top of Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood, January 2008

A couple of months ago, I featured an excerpt from a popular post on the KCET website by author D.J. Waldie on the disappearance of the Spanish consonant ñ, pronounced “enye,” from the word that we in Los Angeles use to describe ourselves.

Angeleños became Angelenos toward the end of the 19th century, as eastern and midwestern migrants came west, changing the region's Spanish-speaking identity. But over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st, that identity has continued to evolve as the cultural landscape is continuously reshaped by newcomers from Latin America and elsewhere around the globe.

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?

I'll be taking up these and other questions next Tuesday night during a panel event at KPCC. My guests will include Waldie, who is one of my favorite local authors, and Eric Avila, an associate professor of Chicano studies, history and urban planning at UCLA.

Read More...

In the news this morning: Check your own immigration status, Latino youths a majority in AZ, an Asian American citizenship effort, more

US To Allow Individuals To Check Their Immigration Status Online - Wall Street Journal The federal government will now allow workers to verify their immigration status online as part of an effort to improve the accuracy of the data employers use to confirm a person's legal ability to work in the United States.

Former U.S. immigration attorney sentenced for taking more than $400,000 in bribes to help illegal immigrants - Los Angeles Times Constantine Peer Kallas, a former federal immigration attorney from Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced Monday to 17 years in prison for accepting bribes to help undocumented immigrants stay in the country.

Arizona Is Immigration Debate's Ground Zero With Hispanic Majority In View - Bloomberg The 2010 census found that 43.2 percent of Arizonans under 18 were Latino, and that white Arizonans were for the first time in a minority in that age group, 41.6 percent.

Read More...

Ethnic food tastes worth acquiring: Arroz con calamares en su tinta

Photo by Boca Dorada/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mmm, inky. Arroz con calamares, February 2007.

Today marks the launch of a week's worth of posts about food. Not just any food, but those dishes in every ethnic cuisine that may not seem appetizing to those who didn't grow up with them, or require more than one taste to fall in love with, but are delicious to those in the know.

I'll be compiling a list throughout the week of tastes worth acquiring, and suggestions are welcome. The idea is to spread the culinary wealth. Those who grew up drinking Vietnamese-style avocado milkshakes may never have tried Oaxacan-style huitlacoche empanadas, and vice versa. Big town, lots of food to try.

Most of my own food tastes are acquired, courtesy of Los Angeles, but I'll kick off the list with a dish from my upbringing: Arroz con calamares en su tinta, or rice with squid in its own ink. This is not to be confused with the more mildly flavored squid-ink risotto or black pasta that foodies order at upscale Italian eateries order when feeling adventurous. This is the brawny, briny, fishy peasant version from the Caribbean, best eaten locally in one of L.A.'s traditional Cuban joints.

Read More...

On the Internet, there's still no such thing as a post-racial America

Most of the data out there on interracial relationships doesn't come from online dating sites, but it's high time more of it did, because the results are fascinating.

The online dating website OkCupid's dating-trends research component, OkTrends, posted a dizzying set of graphics with analysis the other day illustrating how, in spite of new census data telling us that the United States is becoming more diverse, there is still no such thing as a post-racial America in the selective world of online dating.

According to the post, the dating service analyzed 82 million messages sent in recent months, running the numbers in different ways. On its face, the result showed white dating-service users receiving more messages per capita than non-whites, even from non-white users. But OkCupid, the majority of whose users are white, did an interesting experiment, redoing the math on the hypothetical assumption that white users weren't the dominant majority.

Read More...