I told Chuy90023 that his comment on Daniel Hernandez’s post regarding his flip-flop on the Eastside definition was worthy of it’s own post, and being the typical humble Eastsider, he put his response in the comment of a previous post. Vato, you need to learn from these paid journalists; the only thing that makes their words more meaningful is that they act like their words have more meaning. And since I know Chuy’s words really do mean more than those of guys that get paid to write, I’m reposting his comment here as its own post, on a website that doesn’t rely on web traffic as a source of revenue.
I posted the comment below on Daniel Hernandez’s Intersections yesterday but el Chavo and I thought I’d repost it here since probably not a lot of LAEastside.com readers visit the other site:
I think I know the origins of at least part of the resentment that many of us have over the emergence of some new “Eastside” somewhere else. I think it has something to do with ethnic/class differences and our historical experience east of the river in the margins of Los Angeles society.
As teenagers some friends and I thought Silverlake and Echo Park were what everyone referred to as the Westside, just because our families, like many others in Boyle Heights and East LA, had little or no contact with the western parts of the city (and everything beyond Normandie seemed spookily mysterious to us: the Far West, I called it). We were, and to some extent still are, I think, rather insulated, cut off culturally, socially, economically, politically. This might be one reason EastLos has such a strong neighborhood identity. We’re just now slowly emerging from this isolation—and it feels weird and scary, I tell you—with the recent introduction of rail and other public investment, private speculation, and such civic events as the marathon (I still can’t get over this: the LA marathon now goes through Boyle Heights!!!).
But I’d say another reason for this strong identity is our collective sense of grievance. EastLos, like much of the Eastside, has been largely and criminally neglected by the powers that be. It’s like no people lived here. This was just area where immigrant Mexicans and their gang-banging kids lived: a perfect place for freeways, incinerators, and prisons.
This is my impression of how the new “Eastside” appeared on the map: Suddenly, some years ago, as Silverlake began to gentrify, white hipster newcomers, mostly of non-Angeleno origin, realized they were living East from where their friends lived (i.e. the Westside). They also realized that the neighborhoods they were gentrifying–or “improving”–were, in fact, Latino and working class. Thus, they figured, they were on the Eastside–even though they were miles West of downtown–and they proudly announced this to their friends, who would surely admire them for being so daring and adventurous in choosing to live in the unsterile inner-city precincts.
Later, this redefinition of these sections of the city caught on: As Silverlake and Echo Park continued gentrifying, other young urban professionals of various ethnicities and walks of life, but mostly of non-Angeleno origin, have joined in the new, local subculture there that calls the area the Eastside, making us feel once again ignored, scorned, like we don’t exist. No arguments about its historical inaccuracy will make a difference.
Who are we to protest? Who listens to us? Nobody has in the past. We don’t have money. We don’t have fancy jobs and influence. They can take everything from us–as we’ve seen time and time again. Even our name. And soon, as public investment and private speculation do their thing, they’ll “improve” our barrios as well and then take them, pushing us out into the desert.