Where I live now is on the lip of the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Valley has some of the best Chinese food outside China. No. Lie.
There are two communities with outstanding schools K-12 here: community A is largely white and Asian in racial/cultural composition. Community B is slightly more diverse, with a racial/cultural makeup of mostly white, Asian and Latino.
One of the reasons we wanted to move is to expose the Unreliable Narrator to more Chinese language study, and a geographic and gastronomic community of Chinese/Taiwanese and other Asian Americans. Our old neighborhood didn’t really have this feature. And we’re not really connected to Chinatown, which is located in downtown Los Angeles. But Community A is full of wealthy, ladies who lunch and mah-jong playing tai-tais, many of whom are recently immigrated. I just don’t have much in common with them either. What on earth would we talk about? Could I invite them to an Obama fundraiser, or are they too busy worrying about the latest Taiwanese election? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily. It’s just a matter of emphasis.) Hmmm. Years from now, my kid and theirs would be locked in deadly competition for entrance into Harvard. I just don’t know if I have what it takes to turn my kid into a grade-grubbing automaton with unexpected thug tendencies, a la Better Luck Tomorrow.
Also, I’m of the opinion that white + another nonwhite group does not equal diverse. There have to be at least 3 different groups going on for it to even start making sense. Community B has this, although nothing will ever equal living in Oakland, CA, which has almost the perfect proportions of whites: Asians: Latinos: African Americans. But still. You do the best you can, and having freaking unbelievably good Vietnamese food nearby? Well, that makes up for a world of ills.
I knew Community B was the right place for us when one Saturday afternoon, we stopped at a historic old sody shoppe and had a hot dog, fries, and a chocolate milkshake served by diffident pimply-faced local teens, and across the corner a bunch of anti-war, pro-Obama supporters set up their signs and the other locals driving on through honked with appreciation.
Those are our values, right there. Old fashioned virtues and commie-mommie-ism. Love it, or bite me.