How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: Koreatown

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Greek, Korean, and some Spanish spoken here, January 2011

The Spanish on the sign might be a little off ("Greek" in Spanish is "griego"), but I was impressed by this trilingual effort while driving south on Normandie Avenue the other day.

I'll confess that I've never eaten at Papa Cristo's, a 63-year-old Greek market and eatery on Pico Boulevard. But now I'm intrigued, if anything by their ambitious marketing: They may be the only Greek taverna in Los Angeles with an online menu in Korean. Way to adapt, Papa.

And for those who want to learn a few words of Greek, there's that, too.

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The roar of the Tiger Mother

Screen shot from tigermomsays.tumblr.com

This has been the week of the Tiger Mother, and it's not over yet. Since last weekend, when the Wall Street Journal published an essay by author and Yale law professor Amy Chua titled "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior," Chua has become perhaps the most notorious parent in America, setting off a firestorm of controversy over the parenting techniques she described in the essay and in her memoir, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

It's not suprising given some of the content: Among other things, Chua described a parenting regimen that deprived her two daughters of play dates, sleepovers, television and computer games in favor of piano and violin practice, along with incidents like once calling one of the girls "garbage" and rejecting the children's homemade birthday cards.

After receiving what she described as “hundreds, hundreds” of e-mails and even death threats, Chua defended herself in an interview with The New York Times that ran this weekend, explaining that her sense of irony and self-mockery was misunderstood. In the meantime, a series of spoof sites have emerged, from an alternately hilarious and painful to watch animated video to a "Tiger Mom Says" Tumblr.

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In the news this morning: Cross-border shooting lawsuit, author Amy Chua speaks out, 'virtual fence' over, dating while undocumented, more

Parents of dead Mexican teenager sue U.S. government - Reuters The parents of a 15-year-old boy killed last year on the Mexican side of the border, allegedly by a bullet fired across the river by a Border Patrol agent, have sued for $25 million. The boy was accused of throwing rocks.


Amy Chua - Retreat of the ‘Tiger Mother’ - New York Times Author and Yale professor Chua defends herself and the controversial parenting style she described in her book and in a recent essay.


US cancels 'virtual fence' along Mexican border. What's Plan B? - CSMonitor.com The government has spent $1 billion on the high-tech "virtual fence," which federal officials now say is too costly to extend along the whole U.S.-Mexico border. Only 53 miles are complete.


Florida Legislator Wears Passport to Work to Protest Arizona-Style Immigration Measures - Fox News Latino State Rep. Luis Garcia Jr., a Cuban-American Democrat, has taken to wearing his passport on a lanyard around his neck to protest a proposed SB 1070-style law.

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On the broader legacy of Dr. King

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A detail from a mural with an image of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Among the many pieces that ran this weekend in anticipation of today's holiday honoring the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the more interesting ones involved a series of letters from readers published in USA Today's opinion section.

Readers were asked to write about what King meant to them, with their responses published over a two day period. The responses included this one, from Aurora Ramirez Krodel in Cincinnati:

A fight for rights of all Americans

"This holiday honoring Martin Luther King has nothing to do with us," said my older sister's co-worker, a newer immigrant from Mexico. "He only helped the black people." "Oh, no!" my sister responded. "If it hadn't been for Martin Luther King, you and I wouldn't be free."

My sister explained how, when she lived in Texas in the early '60s, Mexican Americans had to drink from separate drinking fountains and attend schools for Mexicans. She also recalled a restaurant in Florida that wouldn't allow Mexicans to eat inside. They could order food, but they had to eat it outside in their cars.

Every year, as my children grow in understanding, I share these stories with them. They know that King didn't fight just for the equal treatment of African Americans, he fought for the rights and freedom of all Americans.

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In the news this afternoon: The 'Tiger Mother' debate, the Berkeley chancellor's immigration remark, 'Latino Day' on hold, more

Catching up after meetings today with a few afternoon reads:


Tiger Mother and Amy Chua: Are Chinese Moms Really So Different? - TIME Cartoon father to child: "If you don't eat it," the father threatens, "we're going to have you adopted by Amy Chua." The Yale professor has made waves with a controversial parenting essay.


Tucson rampage: UC Berkeley chancellor's e-mail linking Tucson rampage to immigration issues draws fire - Los Angeles Times In an e-mail sent Monday, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau condemned a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated."


On Perfect Immigrants and Imperfect Stories - The Atlantic Nice essay on the search for the right story to humanize the immigration debate.


GOP leaders: Anti-immigration stance hurts party - The Washington Post Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and others speaking at a Florida conference on reaching Hispanic voters urged the party to tone down its immigration rhetoric and take up comprehensive reforms, or lose Latino votes.

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