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Is Orange County the Asian American Dream Come True?

o understand Orange County's unique place in the Asian American consciousness one must reconcile several seemingly conflicting images. First, Orange County has traditionally been one of the state's richest, whitest and most conservative counties. Second, it is home to UC Irvine, easily the most prestigious university in which Asians actually outnumber Whites 2-1 (54% to 28%). Third, it hosts the nation's largest Vietnamese population (145,000). Fourth, it's the home of the import-car racing craze, prompting some to dub UCI the University of Civics and Integras.
Orange County
Home of the Asian American Dream?

     Stroll around Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza, the nation's toniest shopping center, and you will question the Census figures that place the Asian/Pacific Islander American population at only 460,000 (or 15.3%) of Orange County's 3 million. The crowds of Chinese, Corean and Vietnamese shoppers will convince you it must be 30% or more. In some ways you would be correct. Demographic trends suggest the County's white population is downright geriatric and shrinking at accelerating rates. Including white Hispanics, it is nominally 64% of OC population but it fields barely 44% of public school enrollment.
     The fastest growing segment of the population is Asian, with a staggering 65% growth between 1990 and 2000. Already Orange County is the sixth largest AA metro area and is headed toward the number 4 spot by the next census. For one thing Westminster's Little Saigon is the mecca for Vietnamese Americans, one of the nation's two fastest-growing Asian nationalities. In the wake of Saigon's fall in 1975 the first big wave of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants began their American lives in nearby Camp Pendleton before building Little Saigon on parcels of what were once Japanese American strawberry fields and orange groves. Today Little Saigon is easily Orange County's most spectacular ethnic enclave.
     Chinese Americans are a distant second in terms of OC's Asian population, with a population of 65,000. Most are professionals who tend to meld into picture-perfect communities like Irvine (30% Asian), Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills and even ritzy Lemon Heights and Newport Beach. Many are former LA and Bay Area residents fleeing traffic and crime. In the process they helped turn the County into Silicon Valley South.
     Not far from Little Saigon is Orange County's own Koreatown stretching over a half mile along Garden Grove Boulevard. With a 60,000 strong community, Coreans are OC's third largest AA population. Like the Chinese, most lead suburban lives, whisking their kids to highly-rated schools in the hushed comfort of Benzes and oversized utes. The County also attracts significant but less visible populations of Filipino, Japanese and Indian Americans. Collectively, Asian Americans are the County's most affluent segment, buying homes valued at twice the county average.
     Is Orange County the embodiment of the Asian American dream? Or is it the place where the AA identity goes to die? Or both?

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(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:57:56 PM)


such as? You could provide some examples. I been in the city for a very long time now.
AC Dropout
   Monday, May 20, 2002 at 13:22:05 (PDT)
To AC Dropout,

New York may look mixed, but in reality, it isn't. It's not California, and it's not Orange County. You know about increasing anti-Asian resentments, anti-Asian violence, and anti-Asian etc. in NYC?
   Friday, May 17, 2002 at 09:50:07 (PDT)
Deja, what is your point? I was responding to an earlier post about certain races causing trouble.
TSJ    Monday, May 13, 2002 at 18:17:47 (PDT)
Happy OC Chick,

What college did you attend in NYC. How can you say NYC doens't have a mix of foriegn cultures?
AC Dropout
   Friday, May 10, 2002 at 08:35:52 (PDT)
I have lived in Orange County all my life until I recently moved to New York City to attend college.I think that Orange County is an amazing place for Asian Americans because as a result of growing up in such a diverse community, I never was aware of how "different" i was because i was asian. I was accepted and loved by all races and i really like that about Orange County. It was conservative but sooo accepting and open minded that I never had to second guess my culture or identity until i moved out to places where cultures were not so mixed.
Happy OC Chick
   Wednesday, May 08, 2002 at 21:48:31 (PDT)
response to you're jsut giving an example between Chinese rascals and Black doctors, but why don't you see it the other way around. i know you must of been through one of those situations where lil' Asian rascals starting troubles, but why not put it the other way around? i'm not saying that Asian don't start trouble, what i'm saying is that every race or ethnics has rascals running around starting troubles somewhere or some place. i mean i see black rascals starts trouble too, not jsut black even mexican and other ethnics, so it is not a matter of jsut pin point out jsut the Asian. so i don't agree with your example, even though it is your opinion for the fact that is how you see them when they are portrait themselves. you should see that there are more Asian who don't act radically in that way. We Asian are traditionally taught to be humble and to be harmony so don't be blind judges Asian by jsut a few ignorant, young rascals who are not aware of their actions.
   Saturday, May 04, 2002 at 17:37:31 (PDT)
Yeah, but it's not a matter of some race all being the same way. It's who is more likely to be a certain way. If I said there were two groups in a bar, blacks and Chinese, and one of them started trouble, who would you most likely associate it with? Now, of course, if it was a group of Chinese rascals and some black doctors, obviously, the Chinese guys would be more troublesome. If any of you have taken statistics, you will know where I'm coming from.
TSJ    Wednesday, April 17, 2002 at 14:31:45 (PDT)
To all ya'll who are posting, i love O.C. its a place i call home. It where diversified peoples come and unite to make this place how it is. So to all those ignorant peoles dissin' my peoples(any ethnic) in O.C. then take your behind and bring it elsewhere! Peace, Luv, and Unity!
ps: a lil' poem for ya'll

Orange County!
"O.C.? what does it stand for me?
It stand for individuality & equality.
It stand for nationality & culturally.
It stand for ethnically diversity!

It stand for many, for many like me!

It stand for Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
It stand for Hmong, Laos, Thai, and Vietnamese.
It stand for ethnicity in O.C.!

It stand for many, for many like me!"

written by: Deja
copyright April, 2002 Deja Inc.
Deja    Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 17:12:59 (PDT)