Los Angelenos Vote By Race

I think LA is the most racially diverse big city in America.

The more racial division, the more people vote according to race. The more racial division, the less social capital.

Growing up a WASP, I noticed that WASPs would divide over ideological issues such as gay rights, abortion, etc, while tribes (such as blacks, Jews, Muslims) tend to vote in accord with group interests. By contrast, you can have any opinion on abortion/gay rights, etc and it is unlikely to cost you friendships among your fellow Jews/blacks/Koreans etc.

LA WEEKLY reports: But in liberal Los Angeles, people tend to vote by race. The “black seats” stay black, the “white seats” stay white, the “Latino seats” stay Latino. And while Asians make up the third largest racial group in Los Angeles, no Asian has persuaded voters to elect her or him to the L.A. City Council since Mike Woo first pulled it off in the 1980s — by winning a “white seat” in Hollywood.

Not that Asians are the only ones getting snubbed by the other racial and ethnic groups. In L.A., they’re all snubbing one another.

Best of luck to any Latino running in either a “black seat” or a “white seat” in a school board or City Council election, and the same for black or white candidates trying to win a “Latino seat.”

Take LAUSD’s School Board District 5, a 74 percent Latino urban swath whose white incumbent is being targeted on May 19 by Latino candidate Ref Rodriguez, a successful, up-from-nothing, charter school founder.

Very liberal and Democratic, LAUSD District 5 has a small but voter-rich population of white voters concentrated in areas including Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, Los Feliz and Mount Washington. And the district usually chooses a white representative — currently Bennett Kayser, a vociferous opponent of charter schools. Only once in 20 years has a Latino won the seat, when Yolie Flores beat Kayser in 2006.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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