Race in a 1970's California Beach Town

Repost from the old site.
When I grew up on the California beach in the 1970’s, we had no White parts of town and Black parts of town. The whole place was White, with ethnics, Jews, NE Asians, Filipinos, Hispanics and mixed race folks scattered all about in fairly small numbers. It was a White culture in a White beach town, Huntington Beach.
All of the non-Whites pretty much just assimilated to the White, or American, or White American culture of the city. There was one Black kid in the school and I was his friend! There was a small group of Hispanics (Chicanoized) with gangs, and the Chicano barrio mindset at the school and I was friends with them!
I’m such a racist! From the early days yet! Snark.
What I am trying to say is that for all intents and purposes, in Huntington Beach, race just did not exist at all. The non-Whites associated with Whites and vice versa. The non-Whites were all pretty much assimilated to the White culture, so they were White for all intents and purposes. Their non-Whiteness was simply an accident of their ancestry and had no relevance on anything.
In every important way, the Chinese, Hispanics, Japanese, Filipinos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and whatnot were just Whites with a little different ancestry, which may as well have been Czech or Greek or Italian.
For the most part, they were deracinated and fully assimilated to American society. None of them spoke their ethnic mother tongues. Most of the Hispanics had been in this country a long time – I never knew one recent immigrant from anywhere. If mass immigration was going on, it wasn’t coming to my town.
The general attitude was that racism was a nasty thing. If you made an ethnic joke, either my brother who dated a Mexican girl or one of my best friends – the 1/2 Mexican guy or the 1/4 Chinese guy, or the Puerto Rican guy who objected to anti-Black jokes by noting that he was part-Black, or my Cuban girlfriend, would just shoot you right down angrily with an attitude like don’t bring that up anymore.
The whole loony anti-racist notion (I’m sure that Whiteness Studies sees 1970’s Huntington Beach that way) that the White suburbs of 1970’s California were a place of vicious White racism is an insipid fantasy. Race was just not important. The other races didn’t behave any differently from Whites, as they all assimilated and left their cultures long behind.
If they don’t act any different, you have to be a real idiot just to hate someone who is different – who looks a little different, is different racially, has a different skin color, or whose ancestors came from a different land. For the most part, it simply did not occur.
We did have some Chicano-type Hispanics who lived in a place called Motown in downtown Huntington Beach. It was a mini-barrio full of graffiti and small gangs and Chicano culture. My friends and I were the only Whites who would befriend these real Chicanos.
I was a racist from childhood! Snark.
They were all into the gang thing, the guys were into the stereotypical Chicano machismo male psychological cultural set, and the girls were all into the stereotypical barrio Latina psychological cultural set.
We made friends with them, but no one ever wanted to, say, go hang out with them on the weekends. They just lived in another world.
Well, Chicano culture hasn’t changed one bit since then, at least the barrio kind. There’s still a vast Hispanic set in the US who are more or less assimilating to whatever American culture means in 2008, though less so than the ones I grew up with. And Motown has come to my town. It’s taken it over. I live now in an entire city full of Huntington Beach Motown 1975. It’s 33 years later, and nothing has changed.
I’m convinced that young barrio Hispanics really do love gang culture. They love it all, the fights, the tattoos, the colors, the sets, the hardass mentality, the gangsta rap, the crime, the money, the knives, the guns, the jail, the prison the probation and yes, even the funerals. They’re in thrall to it. How do I know this? I live with these people, and they are in my home and car night and day.
Older Hispanics love fights too. I hang out in Mexican bars full of drunken illegal aliens, blasting Norteno music, with strippers grinding in the background. It’s kind of a seedy, somewhat dangerous place, but I can usually handle myself in these places.
There are all sorts of really scary looking guys in there, guys who glare at you with menace, older hardcore Norteno gangsters, and guys who just look like criminals. Drunken brawls break out, and the owner won’t even break it up. The chairs and tables fly and all the guys just lap it up. Even the owner loves it his furniture flies. I guess macho Mexican males love a fight. Same way macho young Hispanic males love gangs.
Most importantly, that’s why Hispanic gang culture ain’t going away. All the gang task forces, the social programs, the anti-gang programs, years and what, decades now, and where are we? Worse than ever. And the more we import barrio-prone and gang-prone (that is, those who will go gang/barrio rather than avoiding that) Mesoamericans via immigration, legal or illegal, the more this phenomenon will grow and grow.
In my town when I grew up, White culture and American culture were synonymous. That may be wrong, but that’s just the way it was. For a lot of us, that’s the way it’s always been. Motown and South Central LA were always peripheral to mainstream US culture growing up, and they surely were in my town.
I don’t like it that Motown has come to my town. I like my Hispanics assimilated, thank you very much. Mexican and Hispanic barrio culture is good and bad, like all the rest, but the bad repels me like a face slap. If that makes me a racist, then I will stand up and say I’m a racist, loud and proud. No problem at all.
The Mestizo future is rising behind the hills of America, a jealous, angry, resentful, demanding and haughty yet peculiarly unthinking God, glaring in our faces. American culture and White culture are no longer the same. Motown has come to America and scribbled graffiti over about half of it, and East LA is California.
At some point in the not too distant future, the US will become just another Latin American country. The process of Mestizization, the murderous marriage that wove its tragic yet beautiful tapestry over our continent, yet somehow passed us by, will overtake us yet. We thought we could avoid it, that we were not a part of the mestizo and mulatto Americas after all, but we were only buying time.
America left the United States of, and the Americas walked right in. Why not, with the back door unlocked and swinging wide?
At this point, there is not much to do about it but learn Spanish and plan for the future. Will we be Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Brazil or Colombia? Or Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica or Argentina?
The future is not way off in never never land, out of our minds and our petty little worlds. The future is now. Get active. If you don’t die beforehand, either you come to the future, or it comes to you. Stride forward to greet your new world, smiling or not. At least you will be ready.

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0 thoughts on “Race in a 1970's California Beach Town”

  1. Thats why I never understood why the #1 interracial relationship is white men with asian chicks. I think its because asian girls have heard the good news about the how big the great white schlong is. But to be honest, wm/Latina relationships are like #3 or in the top 5 anyways. I just never understood it. I dont think its “yellow fever”, I think its actually White Fever. Latinas are just much sexier and spicer, like a naughty taco.

    1. My Thai girlfriend stirs my pot daily; she is dirty sweet, but you can only see Special Girl’s like her… on the internet…. I live in Thailand, wow!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Oh Mr. Lindsay, you’re incredibly funny!!! In your opinion, all older Chicanos like to fight and tattoos. Sweetie, don’t make blanket statements! Unfortunately, a lot of those Chicanos that lived in “Motown” (Florida St.) circa 1975 were in Special Ed classes at Perry, Dwyer and then HB HS. I don’t think the Chicanos are the problem, as a lot of them and their families have been in this country maybe longer than a lot of us and they don’t spea Spanish. The problem is illegal immigration and all the baggage that comes with it.

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