Southern California is one of the world’s most diverse, urbanized communities with people from every part of the globe, no racial majority, and a sense that it is way ahead of the rest of the country. Certainly it is in terms of a diversity of cultures, languages, music and cuisines, as well as the way its population foreshadows the transformation that is taking place now in the rest of the country.
In political terms, Southern California provided a large, progressive victory for the election of Barack Obama as president, and its first Latino mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. Many places in Southern California pay homage to the region’s Mexican origins. People tend to be proud and satisfied about the region’s diversity and tend to think it is working out.
But there is a very different story. California is backwards in terms of racial and ethnic justice. The truth is that the civil rights revolution in the South never really arrived in Southern California, home to what is by far the nation’s largest population of Latinos, the second largest Asian population and the West’s largest population of African Americans. The South was forced to desegregate its schools and became the most integrated region of the country (in terms of schools) for more than a third of a century. But in Los Angeles, they changed the state constitution to block a desegregation plan. Southern California has subsequently done very little since the desegregation of Los Angeles was halted by that state proposition more than three decades ago. L.A. became the first major city in the nation to abandon mandatory desegregation after little more than a year of a limited order. Many nearby communities took no action as racial change and resegregation occurred.
Read remainder of the article at the Huffington Post.