Commenter batterytrain asks:
Your name literally is “Bay Area guy”, so I am assuming that you live in the Bay Area or around San Francisco. What is the “crowd” like there? Because I have seen pictures of people that live there and in Cali in general, and they seem to be the mixture of champaign socialism combined with new age “hip and liberal” and of course they are “open minded” and want to prove they are “edgy”, “progressive” and “tolerant” and “cultured” “etc at least that was my impression.
You should do a post on the racial dynamics of the Bay area since I have heard there are lots of Mongoloids and other Asiatics that reside there that make life interesting, not to mention all the Mestizo and Latin American transplants.
I figured that now would be a good time to address batterytrain’s question. I confess that I’m no sociologist, and that my youth has not permitted me the opportunities to experience the Bay Area in its entire richness. However, having been born and raised in the Bay Area, having lived in both the East Bay and Peninsula, and having had friends of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, I figure that I am somewhat qualified to address the complexity of race relations in the Bay Area. There are probably three important things about Bay Area race relations that an outsider should know:
1. For starters, one must move beyond the binary thinking that dominates American conversations on race relations. When the average American hears “race relations,” he almost always conceives of it in terms of conflict between whites and blacks. This is understandable on account of whites and blacks having the most tortured history together, combined with the fact that blacks have resided in the United States for much longer than Latinos and Asians. However, to make sense of the Bay Area’s racial complexity, one must move beyond white and black and think in terms of white, brown, yellow, and beige. Outside of cities in the East Bay such as Oakland, Hayward, and Richmond, the Bay Area does not have a significant black population.
2. Second, my experiences in the Bay Area have taught me that diversity and race mixing do not usher in a post-racial utopia. Rather, new identities, divisions, and conflicts have arisen from the ashes of extinct racial paradigms. Spending a significant amount of time hanging out with Asians and Latinos has taught me that this leftist notion of a united front of “people of color” is fatuous. While non-whites will occasionally band together in order to stick it to the white man, their bonds are very shallow. One can frequently hear Latinos making fun of Asians and Middle Easterners, Asians mocking Mexican illegals, and everybody making fun of blacks. While much of this can be attributed to banter, I have also known genuinely prejudiced and bigoted non-whites. In spite of significant race mixing, it is more or less accepted that everyone is racist to some degree, and racist jokes are tolerated so long as they are confined to one’s friends.
Likewise, non-whites are no more enlightened or informed than white people when it comes to matters of race, ethnicity, and national origin. On one occasion, I heard a Latina woman asking what a Persian was, saying that Persia was probably east of Germany. Some of my friends also mocked a guy they knew by making jokes along the line that he was an Arab Muslim terrorist, despite the fact that he’s Iranian and subscribes to Zoroastrianism. Willful ignorance seems to have replaced baseball as the U.S’s national pastime, as everyone from red state Christian Zionists to blue state Latinos gladly participate.
3. To directly address one of batterytrain’s points, I’ll confirm that yes, the Bay Area is indeed infested with Champagne Socialists, Limousine Liberals, Bourgeois Bohemians, or whatever the preferred term is these days. In my experiences, I have never encountered much in terms of self-righteous political correctness among middle to working class Latinos. Most of the petulant, politically correct types tend to be white (and increasingly Asian), disproportionately female, upper middle class, and comfortably yuppy. One can also notice a certain dearth of diversity within their social circles.
4. Finally, my experiences in the Bay Area should provide a certain degree of hope to traditional conservatives. Just as the idea of a “people of color” coalition is inaccurate, so too is the notion that there exists an omnipotent, monolithic leftist force. Most Asian and Latino liberals are not truly committed to liberal ideas of universalism, and instead opt to support liberal causes out of self-interest. Being visible racial minorities comprised heavily of immigrants, endorsing liberal platforms makes perfect sense. At some point, the interests of a liberal white woman espousing feminism and gay rights will clash with the working class Latino man who uses “maricon” and “puto” in his everyday speech. Something’s gotta give. Either non-whites will continue to be assimilated into SWPL-ville or Asians and Latinos will recognize that they no longer need white liberal useful idiots. As their numbers and political power continue to grow, they may just decide to seize power themselves rather than allowing paternalistic white liberals to continue speaking for them.
In conclusion, the Bay Area is a paradox. It is a land that contains racial diversity, race mixing, and liberal thought in abundance. Yet it is also a very polarized region where race and socioeconomic status still determine ZIP codes. The Bay Area is home to environmental activists, yet also features ostentatious displays of consumerism. The city of Palo Alto is a perfect illustration of these contradictions. Heavily liberal and democratic, and home to the prestigious and progressive Stanford university, Palo Alto is also one of the most overwhelmingly white and Asian cities in the Bay Area, in addition to featuring one of the most opulent malls in the region.
As the United States continues to embark on its slow but steady path of decay, I can’t help but wonder if the steady erosion of peoples’ standard of living will bring these various cleavages to the fore.