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Hear the word "suburbs," and what comes to mind right off probably isn't diversity... especially when it comes to race. But demographics are shifting.
Hear the word "suburbs," and what comes to mind right off probably isn't diversity... especially when it comes to race. Yet as demographics shift across the country, U.S. suburbs are following suit in various everyday ways.
One example of this trend is Southern California's San Gabriel Valley. Less than a twenty minute drive from downtown L.A., the SGV (as it's locally known) is decidedly nonwhite—more than 90 percent of residents are either Asian American or Latino—and this interplay of people and place is reshaping the area and simultaneously creating a distinct culture.
On Thursday, January 30, KPCC Immigration and Emerging Communities reporter Leslie Berestein Rojas and author Wendy Cheng came together at The Crawford Family Forum to talk about Cheng's latest book, The Changs Next Door to the Diazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California.
What's the relationship between identity and place? Where does the West San Gabriel Valley sit in the context of changing landscapes? And does SoCal’s SGV – given the nation’s increasingly racially mixed population – provide insights into how individual and group identities may form, change, and sustain themselves in the future? This program addressed these and other questions through a mix of conversation and A/V.
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Wendy Cheng is Assistant Professor at Arizona State University (Asian Pacific American Studies; Justice & Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation). A writer and photographer, Cheng is co-author of A People's Guide to Los Angeles (2012), winner of the SCIBA Award for Nonfiction and the Association of American Geographers' Globe Book Award. Her articles and essays on race, space, and landscape have appeared in publications including American Quarterly, Journal of Urban History, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Leslie Berestein Rojas covers immigration and emerging communities for KPCC, where she launched the Multi-American blog. She's an award-winning journalist who has reported the stories of immigrants and their families along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Latin America, and in her hometown of Los Angeles.