Why Asian Americans Are Leaving for the Suburbs

Op-Ed: What Asian immigrants, seeking the American dream, found in Southern California suburbs

By James P. Smith

In the past few days, I’ve seen an article by former USC President Steven Sample in the Los Angeles Times titled “Why would any student or employer, regardless of race or ethnicity, want to live in the suburbs?” Sample says, “If you want to move to the suburbs and work on a college campus, where do you want to be? It has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.” Sample is a college administrator, who left for the suburbs, to manage the USC campus. He is a white, straight, upper-middle class male. He is part of the 1-in-6 Asian Americans who have moved to the suburbs.

This article was originally published on June 9, 2017, in The Asian American Perspective.

“Why would any student or employer, regardless of race or ethnicity, want to live in the suburbs?” said Steven Sample, a former USC President who left for the suburbs and now runs a school in Orange County. “It has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

This is the kind of attitude that has made this issue one of the most polarized in the last decade. On one side is the suburban white who is happy to see Asian Americans moving to urban centers (Los Angeles, San Diego, and other places like it), and on the other side is the suburban Asian American who thinks there are other options out there.

These stereotypes were on full display on the news recently with an article in the Los Angeles Times that described Orange County as a “white utopia.” The Times wrote, “For generations, the people of this region have sought a peaceful, stable, white-only town in the middle of the Mojave Desert.”

The Asian American community in Orange County was outraged. They complained that the article did not include any pictures or information

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