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Latino/a Mobility in California History

Genevieve Carpio, Javier Cienfuegos, Ivonne Gonzalez, Karen Lazcano, Katherine Lee Berry, Joshua Mandell, Christofer Rodelo, Alfonso Toro, Authors

This comment was written by Ivonne Gonzalez on 16 Nov 2014.

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Making Connections: Paris, the Metro, and Chicana Poetry

I really enjoyed reading the first part of Folklore of the Freeway, as I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could make connections to other topics of study I've encountered during my time here at Yale. For example, Avila's discussion on Haussmanization makes a connection to the development of roads and paved streets in Paris, and how that affected mainly lower-class citizens whose homes were destroyed. It made me think about the modern-day banlieues in Paris, which are technically the suburbs or outer rings of Paris, but are actually the places where low-income immigrants reside. How does L.A.'s urban layout create a similar or different experience for immigrant communities compared to those in Paris? In Paris, there are also highways that divide or enclose the wealthier, inner parts of the city. Avila's reference to Haussmanization is highly relevant, as it points to the origins of urban divide (East vs West) according to social class, and later, ethnicity/race.

Fonzy asks about what other public structures affect low-income communities of color, and I would add that the Metro (public transit) system is a big one. It's not coincidental that the metro's worst service areas are in the ghettoes and barrios. Community activists have been fighting for a while to challenge new developments in the neighborhoods, or even the bus fare.

I also wanted to make a connection between the freeway-inspired poetry in Chapter 2 and the poetry of Marisela Norte, who is a Chicana poet who wrote poetry while riding the Metro public bus in East L.A. Connecting these Chicana poets shows us that cultural expression has been used in a very particular manner to document a specific urban cultural experience that is highly influenced by questions of mobility and landscape.
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