Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Left Coast Lesson

When people over here find out that I come from a pretty white and conservative city, their surprised first reaction is always, "But you're from California."

Yes, California is the most diverse state in the US with minorities accounting for 57% of the population. And yes, people put us in the blue state category. But you could say that another reason California is "diverse" is because cities and regions within the state are so different from each other.

Just like many other states, we have some places that are more racially mixed and some places that are pretty homogeneous. There are pockets of Asians, Blacks, Latinos, and in the case of Santa Clarita, well the graph from the census data says it all:
To be fair, I know Santa Clarita is very Pleasantville (the movie was filmed there), but I didn't realize that it was that white...nor did I know that the median income that high. And, it's even whiter in San Clemente, where my parents just moved: 88% white.

These certain CA city demographics are only slightly different from where I was born and raised in Shoreview Minnesota: 92% white with an even higher average income than Santa Clarita or San Clemente. Some cities from the coasts aren't that different from parts of "Middle America" after all, eh?

So anyway, as I play California ambassador, answering many people's questions about the Golden State, I have to explain that while California might be the leading melting pot in the US, most parts of the state are not a racial--or political-- reflection of the whole.

(As a side note, the discussion of different regional backgrounds came up in my externship class yesterday, and someone said how amazed they were to see mountains for the first time when they went to CA. That was really strange to me.)

No comments: