The changs next door to the diazes

Suburban racial formation in Los Angeles's San Gabriel Valley

Wendy Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Asian Americans and Mexican Americans began to purchase homes in Los Angeles's San Gabriel Valley in large numbers beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. They approached the task with a full awareness of the realities of structural racial discrimination and the limitations it imposed on where they could and could not live. As largely middle-income homebuyers, however, they had a degree of choice distinct from their poorer, nonwhite counterparts that was also informed by differentiated positions in American racial hierarchies vis-à-vis property - in particular, the model minority status of Asian Americans, and the ambiguously white standing of Mexican Americans. However, even while housing market discrimination shaped their initial movements to a large degree, Asian American and Latina/Latino residents of the area ultimately participated in producing what George Lipsitz has called a moral geography of differentiated space, in which their motivations and long-term actions differed significantly from those of white residents, who fled the area en masse during the same time period. This moral geography is both continuous with earlier histories of multiracial communities in the greater Los Angeles region, and distinctively new. It signifies an emergent multiracial, nonwhite identity that challenges conventional notions of race and class in American suburbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-35
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban History
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Fingerprint

resident
geography
valley
housing market
suburb
racism
purchase
discrimination
minority
income
history
community
Suburban
Asian Americans
Mexican Americans
Geography
Residents
time
1950s
1960s

Keywords

  • Asian Americans
  • Latinas/Latinos
  • Los Angeles
  • property
  • racial formation
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • suburbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

Cite this

The changs next door to the diazes : Suburban racial formation in Los Angeles's San Gabriel Valley. / Cheng, Wendy.

In: Journal of Urban History, Vol. 39, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 15-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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