How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Short film: 'Borderland'

Last week, as the furor over Arizona's SB 1070 was coming to a head, the late True/Slant posted as one of its final items this intriguing short film about border security, as seen through the eyes of two grizzled and armed border residents. One stalks drug runners, another takes pity on migrants being led by smugglers through brutal terrain. For those who live along the fence, many of whom I've met and interviewed, there is nothing abstract about the debate over border security.

True/Slant's all-too-brief run has wound to a close following its acquisition by Forbes Media earlier this year.


In the news this morning

Good morning. There are several interesting stories out there today, including some locally:

  • The Los Angeles Times has a follow-up to a story that recounted the memories of a 92-year-old child of Greek immigrants who grew up in South Los Angeles, when his neighbors were "German, Polish, all different nationalities." In an immigrant town, all that changes is where people come from.

  • has a short piece with video about a group of East Los Angeles residents proposing that the unincorporated community incorporate as a city.

  • 89.3 KPCC reports that a coalition of union, education and Latino leaders is planning a nine-city bus tour as part of a statewide Latino voter registration drive.

  • A piece of staff commentary in The Atlantic asks a question that has also been asked about the legacy of SB 1070: "Will the 14th Amendment Talk Cost the GOP More Hispanic Votes?"


The year of the ethnic reality TV series


Photo courtesy of Levi's

The cast of "Norte a Sur" at the start of their trip earlier this summer, stylin' in Alaska

It's turning out to be the year of the ethnic-group reality show. First there was MTV's "Jersey Shore," the show that introduced the world to a party-mad group of Italian-American stereotypes (though they're not all Italian) with names like The Situation and Snooki, offended the heck out of Italian-American groups, prompted advertiser boycotts, and became must-see television in the process.

The formula is being copied in Los Angeles, where a show tentatively dubbed "K-Town" - bluntly labeled by TMZ as "Like 'Jersey Shore,' But with Asians" - has been in production in recent months. TMZ, ChannelAPA and various bloggers, including Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man, have been following the show's progress. In The Daily Beast today, contributor Joyce C. Tang compares the two shows, character by obnoxious character, and speaks to a producer, who says that unlike "Jersey Shore," the idea is to break down the model-immigrant sterotype.


On the Patt Morrison show: the debate over the 14th Amendment

Starting at 1 p.m., 89.3 KPCC's Patt Morrison will discuss the growing political debate over the 14th Amendment as more GOP leaders join a movement to curb birthright citizenship, with the goal of denying citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. From the website: " this a viable political endeavor or election-year antics at the expense of children?"