Saturday, June 03, 2006

Exodus in Orange

Residents who've lived a big chunk of their lives in a neighborhood of Orange, California, are moving out in mass because ... well, you are supposed to understand why from reading the newspaper report, but you aren't supposed to ask why or talk about it directly.

The Hills left East Vine Avenue two weeks ago. The Wigginses plan to leave in a month or so. And just last week, the Hansons put up a for-sale sign.

In a few months, most of Carol Fulton's longtime neighbors will be gone. And in a flash, summer barbecues, Fourth of July parades and baseball games at the East Vine cul-de-sac will become distant memories. Fulton sits on her front porch, pensive and surveying the neighborhood. It has changed drastically, she says.

The familiar smells and sounds of backyard barbecues are replaced by mariachi music and the honking horn of a shaved-ice cart. Fulton sees unfamiliar cars and people streaming onto the street. Overcrowding caused by boarding homes - more than two leases on the same property - is an issue that city officials and residents have grappled with for years.

The article goes on to talk about a "parking crunch" and a "more transient community" developing, "multiple families" and "day laborers."

Anyone who knows today's America understands the hints. But although the story allows as how Mrs. Fulton's neighbor didn't understand English, nowhere will you find the words illegal immigrants or Mexicans. It isn't proper, according to mainstream journalism, to state certain things directly. It might arouse the natives and then God knows what could happen.

Beginning slowly, then getting up to full steam in the '90s, the United States has come to resemble the Soviet Union in its strictures on what may be said in public or published. There's an orthodox Party line on anything to do with race or ethnicity. Violate it and you lose your job, and if you're important enough, the media turn on you. There are dissidents, but deviation from the orthodoxy can only be transmitted mouth-to-ear in private or through a samizdat network, mainly the blogosphere.

That this story was published at all, even if the key points have to be transmitted in code, is progress of a sort. It would almost surely have been spiked a few years ago. And it's hard to criticize the reporter for bad faith -- identifying the neighborhood vandals as Mexican illegals would have had the gangsters of La Raza screaming "Racist!" and probably would have been more than her job was worth.
But race is not the issue, Fulton says. She would be incensed at any neighbor who disrespected her privacy and property.
Those are some of the saddest words I've read in a long time.

Mrs. Fulton, who with her family has been forced out of the neighborhood she's lived in since 1986, sounds almost apologetic about it. She has to make sure no one imagines it's because of the, er, you know, that the area has been taken over by, well, you know.

She can expect no sympathy from the Liberal Establishment, of course. Everybody knows people are all the same, one great Family of Man. Even if they have different customs, who's to say there's anything wrong with mariachi music and pissing on lawns? America doesn't belong to any particular tradition or way of life. It's just an idea of freedom, and anybody on earth can jump in and boogie. Don't the taco stands and the signs in Spanish add their bit to the glorious mosaic? Celebrate diversity! Only a racist would move out because their neighborhood has been added to the Third World.

And that's how it will continue to go, until people in Mrs. Fulton's situation are willing to say, "We're leaving our home of 20 years because we can't stand to be surrounded by a bunch of low-life illegal immigrant Mexicans who've turned our town into a slum."

Not yet. Not quite yet.

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