Scott Mehl recent shared an article from Aljazeera America titled “America still divided by race”.

I found this very interesting as I often find myself crossing multiple ethnic, racial, and socio-economic lines in any given day. So this made me curious to take a survey of all the neighborhoods that I have lived in to see the trend over the course of my life.

(Point A) I was born in 1984 at Granda Hills Community Hospital. (Point B) My family lived in the city of San Fernando / Sylmar area and we later moved to Mission Hills (Point C). I would commute from Mission Hills (Point C) to Canoga Park (Point D), which was a predominately white/asian upper middle class area, for the first couple years of elementary school. I am the son of Mexican parents with my Mom from Mexico City and my Dad from Kansas, but his parents were from Northern Mexico. Imagine me as this 1.5 generational kid who loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and would interrupt the Mariachi playlist on the local taco shop jukebox to play one of Michael Jackson’s latest hits. Little did I know when the movie LA Bamba came out in 1987 that I would take a lot of inspiration from Ritchie Valens later on in life who he himself was from San Fernando and crossed many cultural and ethnic lines in his own right during the 1950’s.


My family moved from Mission Hills to a small rural town 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles (Point E) called Acton, CA: population approximately 1,500 people in 1993. We lived on a dirt road and had to commute for everything. We were one of the few Mexican families in the area and it was a cultural adjustment to say the least. The area was home to “California Cowboys”, and families of LAPD, LAFD, and the general city expat who was seeking rural solitude. We had a dog, as small two bedroom house on an acre of undeveloped land, and an epic view of the north-side of the Angeles National Forest with the city of Pasadena directly on the other side. In my teenage years I would often day dream about life in LA and what I would do once I was old enough to move back.


I went to high school in Lancaster, CA (Point F). It was a 30 minute commute one way from home to school and the majority of my friends lived closer to campus. I was again one of the few Mexican students in a predominately white upper-middle class school. I had dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer so I could build roller coasters for a living, but I eventually became a graphic designer with a strong math and science background after being declined admission from all the engineering schools I applied to. All latino parents at the time aspired for their sons to become doctors, scientists, or engineers and mine where no different. So they were a bit shocked when I ended up pursuing a career in design.


I have been living in “The City of Los Angeles Proper” since 2005 and have lived in various neighborhoods within the city (Points G–L). It wasn’t until I moved to the city that I gained an appreciation for vegetables (outside of the city vegetables are poorly cooked or over cooked making them taste disgusting), became an urban explorer, and learned how to quickly transition across different cultural, ethnic, and socio-econmic lines. It’s not rare that you’ll find me hanging out in a cafe in Brentwood and later driving to East LA to get some tamales for dinner. It’s also not rare for me to meet up for coffee with a friend in Malibu and later drive out to Sylmar for a family dinner. Although there are still very distinct racial divides in Los Angeles I serve as an example that they can be crossed and even bridged for others from both sides to cross as well.