While Los Angeles’s San Gabriel Valley is best known for being the “first suburban Chinatown,” it is actually a lively, multiethnic, and multiracial community with a complex past, and an emerging arts scene that celebrates that complexity. Today, the “SGV” constitutes the largest, majority-Asian American and Latino community in the United States. Its social and cultural mix make it a vibrant example of suburban cosmopolitanism, in which diverse residents live in relative harmony, with mutual respect for difference. Local groups such as the South El Monte Arts Posse have begun to make work that reflects this ethos, and could reshape normative ideas of what it means to be American.
East of East: The global cosmopolitans of suburban LA
Wendy Cheng is assistant professor in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She is the author of The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California and coauthor and photographer of A People's Guide to Los Angeles.
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Wendy Cheng; East of East: The global cosmopolitans of suburban LA. Boom 1 March 2015; 5 (1): 20–28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2015.5.1.20
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