Welcome to LA!

This past week I took some vacation time. Therefore, no 30 min sketches were done. But, I didn't go without pushing the pencil around. This will actually be one of the things I worked on. This one even has a little story to go with it. So, here it goes. For the early part of the week I was in LA with my girlfriend visiting her new niece. So very cute. Coming from New York City, the warm weather was very welcomed. We mainly went over to spend time with the new baby, but we actually got some time to wander around as well. We(I) wanted to see how the locals spend their time. Being Asian, we went to see all the little "Asian" towns. The Chinatowns, Korea towns, and the little Japan. Places that my girlfriend's family would frequent. I enjoyed this greatly because these were the areas I did not get to see in my past visits to LA. One of the days we spent with my girlfriend's college friend and an interesting situation happened. This is one of the only times we were not visiting a Asian community. We visited a shopping area called the Grove. It was a very nice "higher end" shopping strip with a very nice farmer's market. And, since it was close by to where our friend lived, we decided to walk it. Yes, walking in LA. Highly not recommended. We had walked the strip and just enjoyed a home made ice cream and was heading back to the house when something interesting happened as we were making our way out of the parking lot. A car pulled up. A newer model silver four door sedan. As I see the car pull up, naturally I think it is someone looking for directions. Why else would anyone pull up to strangers, right? So, even though I wasn't from the area, I turned my head towards the car. As the car came closer, this is what I encounter. A car full of guys in dress shirts and ties pull up. The over weight being in the front passenger seat leans out the window as far as his fifth chin would allow and proceeds to shout gibberish equivalent to the old school taunting of "ching chong ching chong". And, the rest of the car erupts in laughter as they sped off. I wasn't scared or insulted, but more shocked. I remember thinking "REALLY? Did that just happen? What year is this? Do they still do that? How old were they?" I turned to my girlfriend and friend, and the harassment happened so fast they didn't even realize what just happened. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not one that is overly touchy about racial issues. I rather enjoy racial jokes when performed properly. But, tired old jokes are annoying in the fact that its been done way too many times. Usually, I write people that perform these uncreative acts off as "this lack of self control of theirs will only get them so far in life" or "why don't you concentrate more at your McJob and get me my number 2 and not hurt yourself trying to be clever." But, in this situation it was different. These guys were not "street punks". They were not hanging out on the corner in clothes that didn't fit. They weren't driving a beat up bucket. They were dressed in shirts and ties and driving a newer model car. More than likely, they were well off. These could very well be future bosses or coworker because of their connections. Which in the creative field, we'd hope not to see much of. I know I shouldn't be so shocked. I know racism is alive and strong. But, being confronted with it in LA of all places shocked me. They have two large Chinatowns, a Korea town, a little Japan, and a little Tokyo. The Asians that look "Chinese" are all over the place. And, as soon as I step out of one of the "Asian" towns, I'm faced with this. I'm only shocked because I've been to a good number of states. States where you'd expect racism to jump up and chase you down with a gun rack equipped monster truck. I've gotten my fair share of evil eyes and "what the hell is that" stares. I found them rather amusing. I was even raised in a state where some people still used the "N word" like there was nothing wrong with it. And, in all these states, I have never experienced a drive by harassing. If I had experienced this form of harassment in any of the states you'd expect it from, I would find it rather amusing. Not that I wasn't amused by the experience of the drive by harassment in LA, I was. But, it was also a little disturbing because of the location. I guess I think of LA like a New York City type of community. Where people are generally more accepting because there is so much of a mix when it comes to race and culture. And, to come face to face with an old school drive by taunting was disappointing. I guess it was a unexpected "welcome to LA" experience.


Anonymous said...

Weird. Isn't it unbelievable when stuff like that happens? But, isn't it great we're finally living in a country where it is the exception now, and seems so out of surprising when it does happen? And, believe me, I don't see it in LA any more than I see it in NY. You know, we usually just have drive by shootings out here. Just an insult is all they shot your way? Clearly, you guys missed the full LA experience.

Sue D

Anonymous said...

Look at this, two comments from me on the very same entry! I was reading Floyd Norman's blog today and it made me think of this incident you had.
You might enjoy the rest of Floyd's blog as well. Sue

evan said...

Hey Sue, thanks for the comments. Yeah, I think Floyd's experience is juuust a little worse than mine. I like his blog too. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Merci d'avoir un blog interessant