Tomorrow's Congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism is likely to be remembered as a key moment defining racial and ethnic relations in the United States in the post-9/11 era. New York's Rep. Peter King, the Republican chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, has defended the hearing as "absolutely essential;" American Muslims, along with other immigrant groups and civil rights advocates, have condemned it as government-sanctioned xenophobia.
At the heart of the conversation are American Muslims, perhaps the nation's least-understood minority. Here are a few details about a segment of the U.S. population that numbers more than 2 million:
A Pew Research Center study from 2007 identified American Muslims as "mostly middle class and mainstream." While predominantly immigrants, the study found them to be generally more integrated into American society and culture and more affluent than their immigrant counterparts in Europe.
More than half of California children Latino, census shows - The Washington Post 2010 Census numbers released yesterday for California show that barely one in four of state residents under age 18 are non-Hispanic whites, whose numbers declined along with those of black children, as the number of Asian American and Latino children soared.
California census: Political power to shift from coast to interior with growth of minority population - Los Angeles Times The census results, which will dictate legislative redistricting, indicate a shift of political power away from strongholds like Los Angeles and San Francisco to the Inland Empire and Central Valley. Minorities could also see increased opportunities for representation.
Federal immigration program mainly nets low-level criminals, analysis says - Arizona Republic Arizona's Maricopa County leads the nation in the number of immigrants arrested and the number deported, but an analysis shows that the majority, 66 percent, caught in the county and deported through the federal Secure Communities program have either no criminal record or are low-level criminals.
Photo by Håkan Dahlström/Flickr (Creative Commons)
The state bear flag flies in Merced County, November 2009
The California results from the 2010 Census reveal a state that is becoming increasingly Latino, Asian, and to a smaller degree, more multiracial.
The California results showing racial, ethnic, housing and other data were released this afternoon. While the state's population growth overall was modest - up only 10 percent since 2000 - its Latino population has grown 27.8 percent, with Latinos now making up 37.6 percent of the state's residents. California's Asian population grew even more dramatically, up 30.9 percent since 2000, though Asians make up only 12.8 percent of the state's population.
The state's native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander population remains small, but is up by more than 23 percent from a decade ago. And the percentage of Californians who identified as a combination of two or more races, while only about 5 percent of the population, grew by 12.9 percent.
Photo by debbychen/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A Monterey Park mini-mall, January 2007
The Alhambra Source, a local news website, published a story today about how five of the eight candidates competing for Monterey Park's open council seats are Asian American. It's possible that Monterey Park could become the first city with an all-Asian city council in the continental United States. From the piece:
If three of them win the at-large election, Monterey Park, recognized as the first American suburban Chinatown, would make history once again. Even if they do not — with some strong Hispanic candidates also vying for the open seats — the city offers a glimpse at transitions in ethnic politics from a city that has been a leading edge in Asian American civic participation.
In the 1980s Monterey Park became home to the first predominantly Asian population on the mainland United States and was the first to elect a Chinese mayor. But it took more than a decade for the City Council to resemble the demographics of the city of 60,000. Now, another decade later, Asian Americans dominate the council with a presence greater than their actual numbers.
Art by Eric Fischer/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A color-coded ethnicity map of the Los Angeles area, based on older census data
Today's municipal elections in Los Angeles and other local cities happen to coincide with the scheduled release this afternoon of 2010 Census data for California, which will show us the racial and ethnic breakdown of the state and how it has changed since ten years ago.
The census data is just beginning to roll out, but the roster of candidates for Los Angeles City Council, and for council seats in surrounding cities, is a good indication of what the face of Southern California looks like. On the L.A. ballot alone are eight immigrants, along with others who are the children and grandchildren of immigrants.
- Council District 2, which covers much of the far eastern and southeastern portions of the San Fernando Valley, is represented by incumbent Paul Krekorian, who is Armenian American. He is running against businessman Augusto Bisani, an Italian immigrant who was born in Rome and arrived here in 1968.
- In Council District 4, a central district stretching from Koreatown into Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood and North Hollywood, incumbent and Silver Lake native Tom LaBonge, whose L.A. family roots date to the 1800s, is running against two immigrants. Tomás O'Grady, a businessman and environmental activist, is a native of Ireland who came to the United States in 1990. Stephen Box, a producer and transportation activist, is a recently naturalized immigrant from Australia.
- Council District 6, which covers much of the San Fernando Valley, is represented by Pacoima-born council member Tony Cardenas. He is running against other candidates of Latino descent, website developer Rich Goodman, whose bio describes him as coming from a "multicultural Mexican American family," and code enforcement official David Barron, whose father was born in Mexico City. A fourth candidate, businessman James "Jamie" Cordaro, is third-generation Italian American.
- In Council District 8, which covers Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, West Adams and other parts of South Los Angeles, incumbent and former police chief Bernard Parks is running against two other African American candidates, nonprofit CEO Forescee Hogan-Rowles and firefighter Jabari S. Jumaane.
- South L.A's shifting demographics are more evident in neighboring Council District 10, a traditionally African American district whose population makeup has changed in recent years as immigrants move in. Four African American candidates, among them incumbent Herb Wesson, Jr., crime victim advocate Althea Rae Shaw (the aunt of slain high school football star Jamiel Shaw, Jr.), employment specialist Austin Dragon and businessman Chris Brown, are joined on ballot by Andrew Kim, a Korean-born civil rights and immigration lawyer, and Luis Montoya, an L.A.-raised Latino whose family runs a Christmas tree lot.
- Council District 12 in the far northwestern portion of the ethnically diverse San Fernando Valley was represented by City Council member Greig Smith, who is retiring. Among the half-dozen candidates competing for the seat are two immigrants from India, businessman Dinesh "Danny" Lakhanpal and Navraj Singh, a restaurateur and formerly a captain in the Indian army, and Armineh Chelebian, a neighborhood council member who arrived with her family from Iran when she was a teenager. They are joined by two Valley natives, Smith's chief of staff Mitchell Englander and Brad Smith, a neighborhood council member and former journalist, and by real estate broker and longtime Valley resident Kelly Lord.