Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walnut Creek: Diversity

By: Daniela, Laura, Yesenia, and Brian

Walking in the streets of Walnut Creek for the first time, you realize things that others don’t. You try to find something that reminds you of home to make you feel more comfortable. But what if you can’t find anything or anyone that does? The majority of the pedestrians on California Blvd in Walnut Creek were Caucasian. After many people refused to be interviewed, we tried to find non-white minorities. Going into fancy stores and restaurants,we couldn’t find anyone that looked like us. What was very shocking to us was that, during our interviews, people would describe Walnut Creek as “very diverse", but for us it was the opposite. This is because we have different definitions on how diversity looks.

People’s reactions when they saw us were very different than back home in Oakland. There were people that were staring at us, as though they have never seen people like us. For us, it was not as comfortable to be there, and we had to step out of our own comfort zone and interview different people. When we went into a fancy clothing store, we asked one of the workers there if we could interview her. She didn’t reply she simply looked from one person to the other. Then she laughed and told us “NO!” with a rude attitude. It was as though to her, we were just a joke.

At Walnut Creek there was a sense of diversity in food, but not the type of diversity we are used to. There were restaurants of sushi, crepes, wine, and other American restaurants. In Oakland, we might not have as many fancy restaurants, but you can definitely find at least a taco truck, a Chinese restaurant, Vietnamese sandwiches and many more things that we are used to.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had such a strange experience, and it's sad that you had bad experiences there. Do you think they were also not used to seeing teenagers out of school on a school-day? I'm sure that your ethnicity had something to do with it... that's really sad. Well, I'm glad you're doing this project to tell about your experiences. I'm really interested to see what happens when you try to interview people in your own neighborhoods. Actually, I think they might look at you weird there, too -- a big group of teenagers trying to make recordings ... that would get me curious!

Liz, Maryland

Anonymous said...

In your post you said "At Walnut Creek there was a sense of diversity in food, but not the type of diversity we are used to." What kind of diversity are you used to? Are you talking about different kinds of people, or different foods... ?

Samuel, Australia

Anonymous said...

What a great assignment. I live in Oakland and one of the things that I love the most about this city is the diversity (racial, socio-economic, experiences). I am curious, however, if you would find the same segregation you found in W.C. in just going from neighborhood to neighborhood in Oakland. I've noticed the difference in racial diversity just between shopping at the Albertsons in Fruitvale versus the Albertsons in Montclair. These two stores are just a few miles away, but the demographics can be dramatically different. What do you think? Keep up the investigation.

Joe, Oakland

andrew F said...

Great initial impressions. You are set out to discover and critically pick apart some tough issues. One question I had that builds off of Joe from Oakland is: When is diversity of people living in different neighborhoods enough for a "functioning community"? Have you thought of asking people IN Oakland (like the upper Grand Avenue shops, Fruitvale, Downtown, East Oakland areas) what their views of other neighborhoods within Oakland are? What really makes a cohesive community? Keep up the good work. Life Academy Rocks.

-Mr. Fisher

Dream-er said...

Hello! I am Daniela, replying to Samuel From Australia. First of all, I was the one that wrote that "At Walnut Creek there was a sense of diversity.." When we went to walnut Creek, we found restaurants that sold Italian, Thai, and French Food. Still these were foods that we were not familiar with. We even ate "crepes" which are like thin pancakes with different stuffings. Now, if you ask teens in Oakland is they know what that is, I'm pretty sure they won't even know its food!

The kind of diversity that we are used to is more leaning towards mexican, chinese, vietnamese restaurants. I think it has to do with our school's location, actually.

Maybe to other people the food here is not "diverse" because they have been exposed to different cultures, but I guess we all have a different definition of diversity.

Well, thank you very much for checking out of blog and our posts! We really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Replying to Liz from Maryland, Hello my name is Laura, thanks for
responding to our blog. After coming back to Oakland, we were thinking
that the people at Walnut Creek were probably looking at us weird
because they might have been wondering why we weren’t at school and what we
were doing with the cameras. So, maybe it wasn’t all about our
ethnicity. Thanks again for commenting our blog.

Anonymous said...

Replying to Andrew Fisher, in order for our community to function correctly I think we need a little bit of every race. We also visited Fruitvale in Oakland and they said that is not the best community, some people are even scared of some different races. We think that people have to care for each other and their community, that’s the only way we can make a united community.

Dream-er said...

Responding to Joe from Oakland,

My name is Daniela, and I am in WHysUp!
After reading your comment it really made me think, and I feel like this has to do with a lot of things. After we visited Walnut Creek, we visited the Fruitvale Village. When we went to Fruitvale, we saw that it was not as diverse as we thought. Visiting Walnut Creek changed my definition of diversity. At first for us, if there were no whites, than that was diverse. Sounds mean, but that's what I thought. Going to Fruitvale, I realized that we think it’s diverse because we see our own race.

You also mention the two stores that are so close together, yet you see way different demographics. I feel like Oakland is to some extend "segregated" or at least separated into different communities within one community. When we interviewed people in Fruitvale, I asked them what was the majority of the race population there, and most said Hispanics. When I asked one worker why she thought that was, she replied, " Because this is the Fruitvale Area." This is true. In the Fruitvale Area you will see the majority Hispanics, and going downtown Oakland, the majority are Asians, and etc.

I can honestly say that analyzing other communities have changed my own views. Thank you for checking our blog and leaving comments!