Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who are we?

The skyline from the top of Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood, January 2008
The skyline from the top of Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood, January 2008
Photo by jwilly/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A couple of months ago, I featured an excerpt from a popular post on the KCET website by author D.J. Waldie on the disappearance of the Spanish consonant ñ, pronounced “enye,” from the word that we in Los Angeles use to describe ourselves.

Angeleños became Angelenos toward the end of the 19th century, as eastern and midwestern migrants came west, changing the region's Spanish-speaking identity. But over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st, that identity has continued to evolve as the cultural landscape is continuously reshaped by newcomers from Latin America and elsewhere around the globe.

What is an Angeleno today? How does the culture we were raised in, and the part of the L.A. area we call home, shape how we define ourselves?

I'll be taking up these and other questions next Tuesday night during a panel event at KPCC. My guests will include Waldie, who is one of my favorite local authors, and Eric Avila, an associate professor of Chicano studies, history and urban planning at UCLA.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts about what an Angeleno/Angeleño is today in the great polyglot city of the 21st Century. Do we still define ourselves by geography? By the area codes that are becoming obsolete as people nix their land lines, but still resonate as a boundary map? How much does race and ethnicity play a part?

I'd love to hear your thoughts before the panel. And it would be great to have Multi-American readers in the audience, so if interested, here's the link to RSVP. The event takes place next Tuesday, March 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum, 474 South Raymond Avenue in Pasadena, just a few blocks from the northern end of the 110 Freeway.

Lastly, we're collecting photos of the many L.A.s we call home for a slide show, so feel free to send one in. You don't necessarily have to be within the city boundaries.