Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Rise of the Ethnoburbs

Timothy Egan, writing for the N.Y. Times, traces the increasing importance of the Ethnoburb--an entire city dominated by a non-white ethnic group:

[The Ethnoburbs] are suburban in look, but urban in political, culinary and educational values, attracting immigrants with advanced degrees and ready business skills.

Monterey Park, just to the south of [L.A.], is considered the first suburban Chinatown. And with 61,571 people, it’s much more than a “town.” Now there are eight Asian-dominated ethnoburbs sprawling through a 25-mile stretch of the San Gabriel Valley. Here, you’ll find one of the largest Buddhist temples in the hemisphere, and a string of Boba drink shops, often called the Starbucks of the valley. (Boba is a drink flavored with small tapioca balls.) Ethnoburbs are not limited to California. Bellevue, Washington, long dismissed by Seattle residents across the lake as a series of white bread cul-de-sacs and high-end malls, is now Washington State’s most diverse big city, primarily because Asians make up 27 percent of its 122,363 residents.

Egan argues that the real impact of this geographic shift will come as California goes through the redistricting process.  He writes that ethnoburbs "should mean that Asians and Latinos, the dynamo forces of virtually every fast-growing Western state, will get their seat at the political table, at least in California. And since nearly one in eight members of Congress come from this state, Congress should soon look more like the new America."

Steve Clowney

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This is a great post about the realities of race and culture and how that will shape the political environment. I think it also speaks to land ownership and how the physical property of the state has shifted in California and will continue to shift in other parts of the country. California has always led the way in race relations and this is no exception.

I do wonder about our language surrounding "ethnoburbs" and its basis existing on the centering of white-dominated suburbs. Any thoughts on this?


Posted by: Michael | Mar 16, 2011 8:02:20 AM

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