Sunday, May 27, 2007

Urban living

So I'm in Boston, my old stomping ground (I did my PhD at the citadel of tedium and woe) for a conference. And it's great being back here. I miss urban living, although not so much that I'd want to move to a city. I guess I miss the rhythm of cities, particularly Boston, and I also miss the diversity. Yeah, that's a cliche, but really, it's just refreshing to see different people. And in particular, it's refreshing to see a lot of Asian Americans. I miss that living in the South--a critical mass of people who look like me.

And why is that important?

Part of it is familiarity and an assumption (perhaps false) that others who look like me may have shared experiences with me, similar sensibilities, family dynamics. Again, not always a guarantee.

Part of it is feeling like if there is a critical mass of Asian Americans, well it suggests a certain open mindedness, perhaps--a certain "cosmopolitan" atmosphere. When there is a real diversity of various ethnic groups, it means that there is a type of ethnic and racial mixing going on, someplace, even if it's in the context of public transportation or the grocery store. Again, not always. There are so many segregated neighborhoods in Boston. And certainly Boston's own racist history is not something to be lauded. But still, the first black governor. A viable Chinatown. And a friend said Southie is getting more tolerant. So a critical mass of Asian Americans in this area, or in an area I would move to or live in, makes me feel more at home, especially coming from California.

Or maybe I just miss really good Asian food.

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