By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Brown Invasion. No, I’m not talking about all those Latinos stealing our jobs, selling our kids drugs, and hooting at our wives.
Hey, that’s old news. Even right-wingers are tired of peddling such fictions.
I’m referring to the recent study that showed ethnic minorities are no longer content to live in barrios and inner cities. For example, “metropolitan New York is being rapidly reshaped as blacks, Latinos, Asians and immigrants surge into the suburbs.”
Yes, my friends, it’s a damn surge out there. Watch out, suburbia.
I used to live in NYC, and my neighborhood, although primarily white, was decently mixed. The same is true of the LA area in which I live now. It’s one reason that I’ve loved both neighborhoods.
However, I have never lived in a suburb, nor do I have any desire to do so. Every time I visit a friend who has bought a house on a cul-de-sac, I get a little jittery, like the 1950s are going to suddenly explode all over me. I expect to look over a manicured lawn and there, in the distance, see a nuclear family in black and white, playing croquet and drinking lemonade.
But that’s just my hang-up. As much as I love living in cities, it would be a sad commentary if every Hispanic thought exactly as I do. By all means, if the Rodriguez family wants to take the commuter rail, I say enjoy the ride.
Still, it’s not like Latinos are blending in effortlessly with their suburban compatriots. That old barrier — segregation — exists even when Hispanics leave the big bad city behind. Latinos tend to be “typically clustered in ethnically or racially monolithic communities,” even in suburbia. So Wally and the Beaver won’t necessarily be hanging with Juan and Maria.
But perhaps that’s in the future, and maybe there are other positive developments yet to come. For example, suburbanites may have more diversity at their key parties someday.
And perhaps the whole concept of suburban angst will have to be redefined. Maybe a couple named Hernandez will feel ennui for once.
This opens up exciting possibilities. Perhaps a Hispanic director will remake “American Beauty” or “The Ice Storm,” but with Latinos in the lead. And of course, maybe someone can take another shot at “Revolutionary Road.”
If so, can we talk Kate Winslet into playing a Latina?
Yes, I still have a monster crush on the woman; sue me.