There Goes the Neighborhood
Dear Mexican: My wife and I are looking to buy our first house. Being young(ish) and hip(ish), we're looking into buying in Santa Ana. It's amazing how much house and land you can get for $350K compared with the two-bedroom stacked cracker boxes in South O.C. My question is two-fold: Has Santa Ana always been predominately Latino, and if not, when did this demographic shift occur? Growing up in south O.C. in the 1980s, Santa Ana was just a place where white kids DID NOT GO. Second, the neighborhoods: Why are some so pristine and some sort of terrifying? Wilshire Square and Washington Square are gorgeous, but you go a couple of streets over, and it looks like a São Paulo favela. Mr. X
Dear Gabacho: Déjame put it in a national context for non-Orange County readers. Gentle cabrones, the gabacho refers to O.C.'s county seat, the largest city in the United States with an all-Latino city council and one that's about 90 percent Latino. All major cities or metropolitan areas have a neighborhood or ciudad like this, a place the Reconquista gobbled up, that got demonized for decades by scaredy-cat gabachos and that Brave New Urbanists are planning to gentrify. The hipsters that are already there, meanwhile, adore their new barrio because of the low rents, older housing stock and quaint neighbors, neighbors they'll call code enforcement on the minute the music is too loud on a Sunday morning.
Back to the gabacho: SanTana always had Mexican neighborhoods because of housing covenants that restricted where they could buy homes. Once the Supreme Court ruled such regulations unconstitutional, Mexicans (and African-Americans, as well) tried to move on up in the city, only to have gabachos of your parents' generation move to soulless suburbs, where they bred privileged pendejos like yourself who exaggerate about EVERYTHING. You've been to a favela? Of course not, because your hipster ass would either be turned into a drug mule or a puddle of quivering piss.
Why do Mexicans love Van Damme? El Karatekero Loco
Dear Wab: An immigrant who speaks bad English, who kicks everyone's ass for getting in his way, who beds multiple women yet has a heart of gold, who seems to fight for vengeance or honor (and usually both) and always wins — what isn't there to love?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.