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HoT_GEOG_1 - Trang Ho GEOG100 First Assignment Essay on...

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Trang Ho GEOG100 First Assignment – Essay on Place, Race and Reinvention The assigned readings like Reluctant Metropolis , What’s Good for Boyle Heights Is Good for the Jews , and the novel Southland all have several recurring themes about the society within the city of Los Angeles. These themes include the relationship between space and power, the impact of the past legacy on opportunities and justice, and the connection between one’s racial and personal identity. However, the academic authors address the issues by using historical and statistical facts, while Nina Revoyr artfully employs symbolism, dialogue and character development to blend these themes into her vivid painting of a restless, intriguing and diverse L.A. The academic writings observe Los Angles from afar, depicting it as a strange and struggling creature; on the other hand, the city portrayed in Southland is endearing and unique despite its flaws. In his passage What’s Good for Boyle Heights Is Good for the Jews , George Sanchez discussed the relationship between space and power by introducing the distinction between the Westside and Eastside of L.A. With the 1908 city zoning ordinances and the real estate industry’s racial segregation initiation, West L.A. is “marked as a middle class and a zone of whiteness” (Sanchez 2004, p. 635). The Jewish community within this residential area of L.A. consists of many Hollywood elites, such as “studio chiefs, actors, directors, producers and writers” (Sanchez 2004, p. 636). On the other hand, because they are excluded from the residential Westside, the “working-class migrants from Mexico, Asia, the American South, and the urban Northwest and Midwest” reside in the industrial zones like Boyle Heights in the Eastside and Southside (Sanchez 2004, p. 635). The fact that those with higher social status could use their wealth and political influence to exclude the minority and ethnic groups from residing within the same community is an unpleasant example of power over space. Sanchez’s description the East and South of L.A. certainly gives the readers an impression of the “underdog” – struggling, poor working- 1
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class neighborhoods. However, reading Nina Revoyr’s Southland , the readers can appreciate another kind of “power”, which lies in the rich diversity within Crenshaw neighborhood in South L.A., the central location in the novel. We cannot help but fall in love with Crenshaw through Revoyr’s vivid and personable descriptions:
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