Photo by grabadonut/Flickr (Creative Commons)
San Fernando Valley map, March 2008
Among the favorite pieces I've read in recent days is the transcript of Kevin Roderick's weekly column for KCRW that aired earlier this week. Roderick, who edits LA Observed, reported on the 50th anniversary last weekend of a visit that Martin Luther King, Jr. made to what was then the remote west end of the San Fernando Valley. Invited by a white pastor, King delivered two sermons at a small church in Woodland Hills, and spoke about integration at Canoga Park High School.
What stands out is how Roderick places King's visit in the context of early 1960s Valley history, when this part of the region was, as he writes, "a place where if any blacks lived then, they were mostly alone." The piece continues:
The valley then wasn't the suburban melting pot we know today, filled with immigrants from Latin America, Korea, Armenia, South Asia.
There were no weekend cricket matches in valley parks in those days. No black Baptist churches. No black students at all in the public schools in the west valley.
And that was no accident of history.
When the wheat fields were first subdivided into yards and suburban homes, the deeds stipulated that the land could never be sold or rented to anyone of African, Chinese or Japanese descent.
Those covenants were also used to limit where Mexican Americans could live. In the first years of Canoga Park, the field workers whose families might have been in the valley for half a century were confined to a section called Cholo Town.
Screen shot of a race and ethnicity map of the Compton area from the New York Times' "Mapping America: Every City, Every Block" interactive project. Blue dots represent African Americans, yellow dots represent Latinos, red dots represent Asians and green dots represent whites. Each dot represents 25 people.
While the U.S. Census Bureau has yet to release new data on race and ethnicity, it's already clear that some of the states with the biggest population growth, and which will gain Congressional seats, also happen to be states where Latinos have come to represent a bigger chunk of the population in recent years. But does this necessarily translate into more political clout for Latinos? And as these population shifts take place, what shape do they take at the neighborhood level, culturally and politically?
An interesting case study is playing out in Compton, a working-class Los Angeles County city that was long predominantly African American (some may remember it as the Compton of N.W.A's 1988 hip hop classic Straight Outta Compton) but where Latinos now make up two-thirds of the population.
Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr (Creative Commons)
In the 24 hours or so since radio host Rush Limbaugh mocked Chinese president Hu Jintao's speech yesterday, making a series of "ching chong, ching chow" sounds as his, er, approximation of Chinese language, the reaction has come swiftly, angrily, and on the late-night circuit, comically.
For the record, a bit of what was uttered, as posted on ColorLines:
They normally — you have some translator every couple of words. But Hu Jintao was just going CHING CHONG, CHING CHOW CHONG CHA, CHONG CHANG, CHING CHONG CHIBABABA, OH CHONGHING CHI CHIGARAI, CHENG CHI CHI. CHING ZHA BABA CHENGA CHENG CHI CHI CHI. CHANGI. OOOOOO. CHING CHOLABA BABA. GE CHOW CHOW BA.
The Atlantic Wire has compiled a list of reactions from media pundits and bloggers, among them Mediaite's Jon Bershad, who asks if Limbaugh will be subject to the same amount of backlash as comic Rosie O'Donnell was when she uttered
More bills seek crackdown on immigration - USA Today Most of the bills that have been filed in the new Congress have been aimed at cracking down on immigrants, including those here legally and illegally.
US deports first Haitians since earthquake - The Associated Press While many applications for temporary protected status have been approved, some Haitians are again being deported. Immigration authorities repatriated 26 Haitians with criminal records on Thursday, plus another man who was accused in a 2007 terror plot but was acquitted.
Next Wave of Immigration Legislation Introduced in Arizona - New America Media While some are asking legislators to hold off on tough immigration bills, like one seeking to deny birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants, other legislation is in the works, including a measure similar to a recently-passed Oklahoma bill that would ban consideration of international law and of other cultures in court decisions.
Photo by Laurie Pink/Flickr (Creative Commons)
"Certainly, the idea of a traditional Chinese parenting style would surprise the billion inhabitants of mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, few of whom attended Harvard, became a doctor, lawyer, or banker, or ever completed a Scantron."
In the wake of the controversy over author Amy Chua's memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," Chen puts the Asian-vs.-Western-parenting furor sparked by the book and a related essay in perspective, calling out the stereotyping, the fear, and the immigration history behind the story. He points out that U.S. immigration policies in recent decades have welcomed skilled professionals from Taiwan and Hong Kong, creating a bourgeois class of immigrants who, not surprisingly, bring up their children to do well academically, just as their affluent white counterparts do.