Monterey Park, California, only eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles, was dubbed by the media as the "First Suburban Chinatown." The city was a predominantly white middle-class bedroom community in the 1970s when large numbers of Chinese immigrants transformed it into a bustling international boomtown. It is now the only city in the United States with a majority Asian American population. Timothy P. Fong examines the demographic, economic, social, and cultural changes taking place there, and the political reactions to the change.
Fong, a former journalist, reports on how pervasive anti-Asian sentiment fueled a series of initiatives intended to strengthen "community control," including a movement to make English the official language. Recounting the internal strife and the beginnings of recovery, Fong explores how race and ethnicity issues are used as political organizing tools and weapons.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
When we see children playing in a supervised playground or hear about a school being renovated, we seldom wonder about who mobilized the community resources to rebuild the school or staff the park. Mexican American Women Activists tells the stories of Mexican American women from two Los Angeles neighborhoods and how they transformed the everyday problems they confronted into political concerns. By placing these women's experiences at the center of her discussion of grassroots political activism, Mary Pardo illuminates the gender, race, and class character of community networking. She shows how citizens help to shape their local environment by creating resources for churches, schools, and community services and generates new questions and answers about collective action and the transformation of social networks into political networks.
By focusing on women in two contiguous but very different communities -- the working-class, inner-city neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Eastside Los Angeles and the racially mixed middle-class suburb of Monterey Park -- Pardo is able to bring class as ell as gender and ethnic concerns to bear on her analysis in ways that shed light on the complexity of mobilizing for urban change.
Unlike many studies, the stories told here focus on women's strengths rather than on their problems. We follow the process by which these women empowered themselves by using their own definitions of social justice and their own convictions about the importance of traditional roles. Rather than becoming political participants in spite of their family responsibilities, women in both neighborhoods seem to have been more powerful because they had responsibilities, social networks, and daily routines separate from the men in their communities.
Pardo asserts that the decline of real wages and the growing income gap means that unforunately most women will no longer be able to focus their energies on unpaid community work. She reflects on the consequences of this change for women's political involvement, as well as on the politics of writing about women and politics.
Advertised in Asia as "The Chinese Beverly Hills," this small city minutes east of downtown Los Angeles, became by the late 1970s a regional springboard for a new type of Chinese immigration—suburban and middle class with a diversified and globally-oriented economy. Freed from the isolation of old Chinatowns, new immigrants now confronted resistance from more established Anglo, Asian American, and Latino neighbors, whose opposition took the form of interconnected "English Only" and slow-growth movements.
In The Politics of Diversity, a multiethnic team of researches employ ethnography, interviewing, and exit polls to capture the process of change as newcomers and established residents come to terms with the meaning of diversity and identity in their everyday lives. The result is an engaging grass-roots account of immigration and change: the decline of the loyal old-boy Anglo network; the rise of women, minorities, and immigrants in the political scene; and a transformation of ethnic and American identities.