Having grown up in Southern California, specifically the San Gabriel Valley, I have had firsthand experience with “white flight”. This social phenomenon apparently happens in most major US cities when densely populated, middle-class “White” neighborhoods become “overrun” with various minority groups. Historical evidence demonstrates that when urban and sometimes suburban areas are desegregated, the White inhabitants often relocate to other suburbs where they belong in the dominant ethnic make-up.
The San Gabriel Valley is a very interesting example of this demographic turnover. The region was never an urban area and has always been, categorically, suburbia (and prior to, a migrant-worker community). Yet over the course of a century, the demographic transformation happened pretty rapidly, comparable to the one that took place in South Los Angeles in the 60s after the Watts Riots. And while white flight is usually determined by the departure of White inhabitants from urban dwellings to suburbia (because of crime rate increases, desegregations of schools) Susie Ling’s research tells us that the one that took place in the SGV is from a suburb to another suburb, mainly because a new major ethnic group was introduced into the region. .
Growing up, I watched my neighbors change from being mostly Caucasian to mostly Asian. School was the same way- my elementary school experience was dramatically different from my high school one. My social network went from being somewhat ethnically diverse to monoethnic.
As I head east (on the 10 or 60 of course), the evidence of white flight is apparent. The 2000 census tells us that Pomona (about 40 minutes east of the SGV) is comprised of 41.76% White people and 7.20% Asian people (the numbers have shifted by now, of course) to the 21.29% vs. 61.82% respectively (see: Wikipedia). At some point, there will be nowhere for people to “flee” to. But then again, in today’s changing world, people are slowly (SLOWLY) coming to grips with well, the changing–and now very multiethnic–world. Or at least, I hope.
Original art (not sure why it’s relevant, other than the fact that it’s mostly white)