Newport Coast: The tragic underside of the census. A piece of satire.

So sad!!! The lack of diversity is killing them inside.
So sad!!! The lack of diversity is killing them inside.

Newport coast, it turns out, has become even less black and brown. Newport Coast was so undiverse that in 2001 it attached itself to Newport Beach as to not look so oddly white in a quickly changing multicultural world.

You can’t even find out how white it is, because it’s not only white, but rich and rich people don’t want you in their business.

A lot of us Angelenos take Orange County for granted.

We know of its great surf and that they have an art walk in Santa Ana (which isn’t exactly South Orange County and apparently that’s a big difference.) Outsiders like me might visit a few times a decade when we get lost on our way to San Diego or Riverside (that can happen pretty easily on the Metrolink.)

“The 91 turned into the 55 and I ended up behind the Orange Curtain.”

But this week I clicked a button to read the LA Times and got slapped in the face with some bullshit about how East LA being all Latino was so sad and as the title stated “tragic,” so I decided to look online and to talk to some white people who lived in Orange County.

“So is Newport Beach pretty white,” me.
A white person, “Hell yeah.”

I discovered that Newport Beach wasn’t as white as you could get, Newport Coast was as white as you could get.

Apparently in Newport Coast there are lots of Starbucks and lots of shopping opportunities and even more if you go to Newport Beach.

And I want to know are any papers going to do any stories on the tragedy of Newport Coast and Newport Beach and Malibu and Brentwood and all of the other places that owing to the fact that they have a lot of money can play this game and make their cities look a lot more nouveau multicultural than they truly are.

I notice when mainstream media (or even alternative, click on this link from Portland on diversity in the cycling community if you are a person of color you will laugh) talks about diversity in regards to white people it has to do with religions, types of jobs, various types of bikes people ride and if you are a hipster or a yuppie, but with ethnic people we’re held to a higher standard.

I wonder is anyone going to investigate the “New Downtown” that if you look at the Downtown Newspaper appears to signify white and affluent.

Bringing back Broadway seems to be about getting rid of the ethnic businesses and bringing in more “mainstream” businesses. It can’t be about anything other than that, because I walk up Broadway daily and it seems to already be here.

When I go to Brentwood it looks pretty homogenous, so does Palos Verdes and Pacific Palisades, but for some reason no violins playing for them.

Why are perfectly good majority ethnic neighborhoods ghettoized by the mainstream press in some bizarro world attempt to be multicultural that often just comes off as patronizing nonsense?

Would anyone do a story on Malibu and ask the guy who owns the gardening business but lives in West Covina what he thinks of the neighborhood?

I don’t think so.

LA Times try again.

How about a story on the tragedy of Encinitas or is the tragedy more of a commentary on what society thinks of a neighborhood that is majority of color.

by Browne Molyneux

This entry was posted in Analysis, East Los, Greater Los Angeles, Media, The Ethnics, Uncategorized and tagged , , by Browne Molyneux. Bookmark the permalink.

About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

21 thoughts on “Newport Coast: The tragic underside of the census. A piece of satire.

  1. It amazes me as what kind of homogeny is viewed as tragic in the mainstream media and what kind is just totally fine.

    I personally think the homogeny of the environmental movement is tragic. I think the homogeny of the art scene in LA is tragic, but these kinds of issues will never get talked about in the LA Times not in that kind of a patronizing slant as the Hector Tobar’s article.

    The art scene and its sameness and now it’s broke (MOCA, Getty etc..) with its hand out asking us for money, that kind of thing to me deserves some of this kind of commentary.


  2. Latino or ethnic doesn’t have to equal dirty and junky and that was not always the way Broadway used to be.

    When I was a kid, Broadway was a Latino shopping place too, but back then the stuff they had you needed and wanted. You could spend all day down there with your Mom or your brothers. The 10-block “junk yard” that makes up Broadway today is not what it used to be like. It used to be a nice place for Latino families to go and get things you needed for school or whatever. Now it’s mostly junk. I take my own kids to Huntington Park now, because Broadway is so junky and loud and we can’t get good stuff there anymore.

    But also years ago Broadway had things to do like movies in the theaters and people worked in the other parts of the buildings so there was a different feel to the street. It was still a Latino area, but since when does Latino have to equal Tijuana? We already have Santee Alley for that.

    Bring back Broadway to offer stuff that will last longer than a $3 pair of knockoff sunglasses and I am all for that.

  3. My first reaction from the picture was that it had to do with some tacky life insurance ad.

    “Latino or ethnic doesn’t have to equal dirty and junky and that was not always the way Broadway used to be.

    When I was a kid, Broadway was a Latino shopping place too, but back then the stuff they had you needed and wanted. You could spend all day down there with your Mom or your brothers. The 10-block “junk yard” that makes up Broadway today is not what it used to be like. It used to be a nice place for Latino families to go and get things you needed for school or whatever.”

    But try to make it what it was and there will be people raising the gentrification flags. I hate taco stands/trucks on residential streets — if I wanted the Tijuana effect, then I would travel to Tijuana. Am I a gentrifier for disliking taco trucks in residential streets? Do they serve a need? Possibly, but not enough to deem them necessary on every single block of the city. Keep them in commercial zones just like restaurants (or industrial zones like strip joints 😉 )

    ps. I have a fire suit on right now…

  4. (Tangent Re: The Broadway “junky” aspect.- Sorry to digress)
    What’s the deal with these stores that have to blast your eardrums at street level with loud amplified music? Does this really attract customers, or what?? I never got that.
    I see it (hear it) at the Alley a lot too.

    I’ve described certain high density, high discount commercial zones as creating a “Calcutta” effect. I guess those places serve a purpose until the next evolutionary step of gentrification and redevelopment unfolds.

  5. Al,

    don’t you like listening to the latest hits like, “mesa, mesa, mesa que mas aplauda…” or “y que no me digan en la esquina, el venao, el venao…”? Calcutta effect? you don’t have to travel that far… try the Tepito effect… or in GDL – the Taiwan de Dios… I mean San Juan de Dios effect

  6. If people want Broadway to look different, because what they are selling on Broadway is no different than what they would sell at a Target, correct? You get low priced socks, pants, dresses, electronic supplies, house supplies etc…in Target.

    This is what they can do. They can give the businesses there grants so they could fix up their stores instead of trying to get different stores selling the same crap in a different format.

    Many of the people on Broadway (and I have never seen a taco stand on Broadway or taco truck, not a constant one, not more than I see on Sunset or other parts of the city) have had brick and mortar businesses there for YEARS.

    Why should we punish them just because some yuppies moved in?

    The businesses that are there right now have kept downtown alive. When I first moved to downtown and I needed sanitary pad that weren’t marked up to insanity (you know how rite aid is such an amazing rip off) I went to Broadway. I needed some aspirin, Broadway. Quick pair of reasonable priced stockings, Broadway.

    Instead of offering cheap rent to art galleries that only cater to a select group of people with an occasional bone via a once year group show for ethnic people. How about giving ethnic people (and whoever else who was already there) who own businesses on Broadway some grants and some bones AND meat on it so they can grow their businesses?

    I always think why can’t we work with what we have. I think of my favorite grocery store Mitsuwa, had someone hooked them up with some cheaper rent or tax breaks that could have been our version of Trader Joes, but now they are gone.

    Helping who is already there that probably would be cheaper and more doable.

    I personally don’t have a problem with the people who have businesses that sell food and toiletries and stuff that I need, before downtown had a Ralphs they were pretty much it, so why should they be punished just because more of a richy demographic moved in?

    Just because something is white and middle class doesn’t mean it’s fabulous.

    The demographic in downtown do you know what they want? They don’t want anything nice they want a Target and a Borders.

    They want a middle class looking shit strip mall and regular mall like establishments (think of that thing on Western and Sunset or Old Town in Pasadena) that sell the exact same stuff that stores there already sell, they want some 7-elevens and some Starbucks, and maybe a Gap would that be an improvement?

    I don’t think it would be an improvement.


  7. I’m going to add one more thing. While many people love talking about Leimert Park its great. Its a great collection of stores. Compton also has a great little group of stores and a nice downtown. I’m going to write a post to give Compton some love that it truly deserves, because I’ve been down there and they are trying really hard to fix it’s rep that was very damaged in the 90s. I want people to see Compton now and how awesome it is.

    But I’m going to talk about the section of the city that no one dares to mention, because hell what you can you say. Right before you get to Compton there is a stretch between Watts and Compton and you have blocks and blocks of abandoned buildings. It’s sad. It’s really really sad and depressing and you know I wish the poor and working class latino and black communities along that stretch of South Central aka South LA had a little Calcutta. I wish they had a bunch of junkie stores. It would be something and it would be lively and beautiful and I know the guy with the really loud sound system is annoying, but that guy he’s got a job and his nephew has a job and the people that bring that junk in have a job and that money goes to those people and back out to the community not some corporation headquartered in Chicago or Seattle.

    I think that’s one of the reasons I love the Eastside and East Los Angeles so much, because those people there who have jobs and art centers and eateries there aren’t all upper middle class people who come in from the suburbs to do something just so they can make money those are people who were raised there, who live there, have family there making a businesses there or an art center there or a nonprofit and they know the community and maybe everything isn’t as fancy as it is in the mall, but it’s real and it’s a real beautiful thing.

    When I went to the Watts Christmas Parade I ended up at the Charles Mingus art center next to the Watts tower and its all nice and fancy and the people in there were African-American, but when I asked them where the Christmas parade was they sort of snobbishly said, “We aren’t part of that.” Obviously these were black people who had a little bit more money, no probably alot more money and they weren’t from the community and they couldn’t even tell me how to get to where a parade was that was taking place, even though they’ve been having that parade in Watts for probably 50 years…that doesn’t happen on the eastside, well it hasn’t happened to me.

    Any little store I went in whether it was a grocery store or a nonprofit the people there were from the community or had lived there at some point and they were truly invested in the community even if the store didn’t look as modern as a store in Old Town or in the New Downtown, but it was real and sincere, I don’t know. I mean I understand being annoyed at the junky look of things, but that kind of figuring out a way to make shit work even when you have a handwritten sign that there is something that American dreams are made of.

    Maybe I’m cheesy, but I greatly admire the taco trucks and the people with fruit carts and the lady who owns the store with the handwritten sign with a daughter outside yelling at me, “you got come in here and check this out.”

    The streets feel so lively and you know in New York which is our most sophisticated of cities in America they have that. They have junky stores that sell crap, they don’t have Targets and crap like that all over the place and stupid strip malls, not everywhere, but it’s alot of what they do on Broadway going on in New York at least when I went there.


  8. Browne,

    I have not been to Leimert Park in over 15 years. When I was a student of urban planning, our class undertook an urban revitalization study of the area. We were working with store owners, immediate residents, Rep. Maxine Waters and the office of the councilman. We were taking into consideration the issues that were raised by residents and shopkeepers at that time to try to incorporate it into the revitalization. It was a great experience being an outsider trying to understand someone elses perspective of a place. The project did not get completed because it was not “safe” for us to go back after the riots. A few stores were affected. I recall many wig stores on the east side of Crenshaw just south of MLK, and there was this great jazz place on Degnan where I would listen to the jazz rehearsals middle of the week while eating my lunch sitting on the curb. I wonder if that is the jazz place mentioned on the movie Collateral.

  9. Browne, I’m in total agreement with you about helping the businesses on Broadway that are already there instead of spending money on bringing in new fancy ones. A few years ago I got my hands on this packet the city was sending out to desirable businesses (bookstores, coffee shops) enticing them to move to downtown. They were handing out all sorts of perks, they even offered to partly pay the wages of employees who lived downtown! The whole scheme was sad and infuriating to read.

    Here in Lincoln Heights I see how things can be “improved” without being gentrified or making the area into the suburban aesthetic (which some of my neighbors think is a good thing). It’s making areas more pedestrian friendly with cut-throughs and ways to get to places without having to walk around things (like buildings and parking lots). It would be nice too to have more localized transit routes that make smaller loops instead of the crazy who-knows-where-it-goes DASH buses or maybe a system like the peseros and combis in Mexico. Places like Tejuino Los Reyes, the barber shop with the old 1920s chairs and Don Jose’s/Friedens are locally run places that are important to the community but are usually disregarded by developers and gentrifiers. These are the places that could benefit from public subsidies, incentives and handouts.

  10. chimatli, the packet you saw with the incentives for downtown was designed to get downtown businesses to hire people in Skid Row (who live downtown), and those same incentives were available to the businesses on Broadway. I used some of them when I opened and went to several workshops on Broadway which were attended by many of the business owners in that area, and the ones I met were happy to have the help.

    There will be $150 million in loans available to revitalize Broadway, and the existing businesses are eligible, as well as anyone else who wants to apply. The reason for the big effort on Broadway is NOT to discourage the existing, street-level businesses, but to encourage the upper floors to be occupied (there is an estimated 1 million square feet of empty floor space on the upper levels of these buildings), and to encourage the owners to bring the buildings to code, as many of them are substandard and unsafe.

    The clear and stated purpose of the effort is to strengthen what is there and what works, and to encourage additional uses. There is a lot of room for more, especially after dark, when the stores close.

    But getting back to the original story, I read recently that San Francisco and Marin Counties have also become whiter, as has Manhattan. This did hit the news, but the spin was totally different, it was framed in economic terms, not as a racial/cultural issue.

  11. as a former oc resident, all i can say is i’ll take broadway over fashion island, south coast plaza (yes, i know, not technically nb) or triangle square any day.

  12. I think with the microloans for the businesses are not going to work. I think it needs to be grants. Who is going to fix up their business that is doing fine, because someone else finds it ugly? If you don’t like how something looks then you have to pay for it, so if the city wants Broadway to look better then they should pay for it.

    Many small business owners only deal with people that they know in regards to taking loans, that means since they don’t know the city they aren’t going to sign up for a loan. It’s not right or wrong it simply is how it is. You have to think outside the box for these kinds of things. A notice to a business that says, “We’re going to give you a free make over, don’t worry about it.” It will get done and that will be cheaper than mass marketing campaign to recruit people especially in this economy.

    And in regards to the economic slant of the San Fran and NY it just at times doesn’t seem fair. I don’t know why the media will paint majority of people of color neighborhood as some defective thing and if a neighborhood becomes rich and white, well that’s just progress. It’s just unbelievably the biasness and if you point it out then you’re the crazy one.


    I had a much better response, but my computer ate it…damn…

  13. Homogeneity can be tragic, whether it’s brown or white.

    My issue with the Tovar article was that it lacked history and depth.

    I don’t think it’s tragic that ELA is 98% spanish surname or whatever. It’s just reality, and the larger reality of LA County and California, and immigration laws and human flows, explains how it’s come to be.

    But to really understand the process of why people leave ELA, or any city, requires a more subtle understanding of history, and only that comment on the la eastside private list dug into it.

    The eastside is undergoing gentrification by rail. It’s critical that more voices be sought and recorded, and the complexity of the issue must be revealed in ways that the LA Times has yet to explore.

  14. Alienation,

    It was weird on The Bus Bench we were talking about sexism on public transit and as a pedestrian. And I was trying to put into words how it’s like to be harassed by what is mainly people who look like me (men of color, black men to be specific) but me being afraid to address this issue because I didn’t want to pathologize black men or black people or any people of color, because its not cultural. The vast majority of men treat me nice. There are some sexist white men and there are some sexist black men, but poorer black men express their sexism differently than white men with more money and its not because of race, but class.

    And I realized something that even among people of color we often times don’t get that the reason behind things are not cultural (not our culture.) Racism isn’t cultural and I think we often confuse that.

    We think if someone is racist towards us that its because of a cultural thing that we do that we can actually change, not understanding that racism has nothing to do with our culture it has to do with an economic system of oppression.

    It’s like people of color can’t be looked at as anything but a race and a race that is non white any negative attributes that any member of that group does is pathologized, whereas white people don’t have that burden.

    A white murderer is just a murder.
    A white robber is just a robber.
    A white neighborhood is just a neighborhood.

    Even a neighborhood of color is pathologized in this weird way and its viewed as completely normal, but as a progressive person of color or a progressive white person you read something and it doesn’t feel right, but you can’t exactly put your finger on what it is that’s wrong with it and I feel that is the thing. That over emphasizing culture among people of color with this kitschy negative slant that goes with the whole he was a murderer AND he was black (or now a hip hop star) or they are “illegal” it makes your culture and anything related to is sick and twisted, but it subtle, but its the kind of thing that makes my black middle class women friends to tell me to stop talking so loudly when everyone else is talking just as loud.

    So the thing is that no one wants to dive deep and talk about anything when it has to do with people of color, people of color don’t want to do it, because they don’t want to add to the pathologizing of their race, white people tend to pathologize on accident when they talk about race and then you have people of color who want to gain mainstream acceptance and while some of them don’t know, others of then know very well what they are doing and add to the pathologizing of their own ethnic group in order to get ahead.

    Then you have the people of color who don’t care if we are pathologized. And feel that no publicity is negative publicity, As long as we are represented it’s ok, which isn’t ok, because it adds to this fake conversation and refuses to let us have the real conversation. The goal of just being represented regardless of the quality of that representation is a dangerous goal.

    Homogeny can be bad, but its only viewed as bad if it’s ethnic people. But on the same hand no one wants to talk about how certain ethnic people ended up in the same spot. No one wants to talk about the housing restrictions which to me is what Hector should have brought up in his tragic column. Bring up the racism of LA in regards to movement and transportation. Bring that into the mix and have a real conversation instead of this tip toeing around the issue and the conversation that needs to truly be had.

    We need some depth when it goes to writing about issues such as these.


  15. Point of clarification: Newport Coast ain’t as white as you get in Orange County. It has a bunch of Persians and Asians. As white as you get is Balboa–the Island and the Penninsula.

  16. I agree about the pathologizing.

    There’s a flipside to it, as well, where the things the LAT target market does are considered great things.

    These papers are starting to turn into authoritarian arbiters of the multicultural zeitgeist. Kind of like how KCRW’s great “eclectic” shows have become a genre, and they now all sound roughly the same.

    They present the context, pick the contrasting elements to observe, and then prescribe the reader’s conflicted opinions about the object of observation.

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