March 12, 2011

Palo Alto is the New Cupertino

And now, some local news from one of our favorite location, location, locations.

Census: Big spike in Palo Alto’s Asian population

City’s Asian population increased by 73 percent over the past decade, fueling overall population growth of 9.9 percent

by Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Online Staff

Palo Alto’s population spiked by almost 10 percent over the past decade, fueled in large part by a growing Asian community, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

The data, which the bureau released Tuesday afternoon, indicate that Palo Alto’s Asian population jumped from 10,090 in 2000 to 17,461 in 2010 — a 73 percent increase. While Asian Americans made up 17.2 percent of the city’s population 11 years ago, the proportion spiked to 27.1 percent last year, according to the census numbers.

Statewide, the Asian population went up by 31.5 percent over the past decade, census data indicate.
The new data confirm what many Palo Alto officials have publicly acknowledged in recent meetings: The city’s population is growing and become more diverse. The city’s listed total population grew from 58,598 in the 2000 census to 64,403 in the new one — an increase of 9.9 percent. At the same time, the city’s population of white residents dropped from 44,391 to 41,359 over the past decade — a 6.8 percent decline.

Well, isn’t that special?  Seems whatever made Palo Alto so different than its neighbors is less and less the case every day.  Yes, they knew they were rich, but they could also say they were white.  Oh, where are those restrictive covenants when you need them?

Time for a little history, then.

California used to have the Alien Land Law which prohibited non-citizens from purchasing land, but was used primarily to prevent Asians from purchasing property.  The law was found constitutional in 1923 and upheld in 1946, despite the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 (which grew out of wartime diplomacy rather than any concern for civil rights).

When the Supreme Court overruled themselves and barred restrictive covenants in 1948, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) quickly came to the aid of racial separatists with this delightful item added to their ethics code:

“A realtor should not be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or use which clearly will be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”

California law also permitted school districts to set up different schools for Asian students, and if such a school was set up, all Asian students must attend that school.  San Francisco had such a school and triggered an international incident in 1906 when they required Japanese-American children to attend this hitherto Chinese-American school.  Yet California never specifically set up schools for black students, as was typical in the Southeast.  Racially segregated schooling, at least by statute, ended in 1954 after Brown v. Board of Education.

Also look out for the legal phrase “alien ineligible to citizenship” when reading these old laws and statutes.  That’s code for Asians again, and which Asians was spelled out in terms of longitude and latitude.  It sure didn’t apply to Russians and Middle Easterners.  It wasn’t until 1952 that racial restrictions to naturalization were done away with.

And now, in 2011, Palo Alto is getting a little bit more diverse than it has been.  Formerly a city for wealthy, high-achieving white people, Palo Alto will become a city of wealthy and upper-middle class high-achievers, of both European and Asian ancestry.  Diversity rocks!

Meanwhile, we can celebrate the return of de jure segregation, as the article mentions Hoover Elementary School has 78 percent of their students with Asian ancestry.  The photo at left shows what Hoover classes looked like back in 1951.

Check out the highly-charged comments in the online story, the editors of Palo Alto Online are yanking quite a number of them.  Seems there’s a few longtime (or not so longtime) residents who don’t appreciate any changes coming to Palo Alto, because, after all, It’s Special Here.

Comments (37) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:34 am

37 Responses to “Palo Alto is the New Cupertino”

  1. madhaus Says:

    Gawd, late again with the posting. AND this one’s a TL;DR! A Twofer!

  2. PerfectAngel Says:

    And now, in 2011, Palo Alto is getting a little bit more diverse than it has been.
    —-

    In past it was all-white students. Now it is all-Asian students. How does it make it “diverse”? Looks like Palo Alto is new Cupertino, except it has a convenient train track to resolve the issue when things do not work out as expected.

  3. madhaus Says:

    Much more convenient than building a fountain in every single walkway.

  4. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Race in the Bay Area is just so ….. weird. Last night a friend and I went out for sushi. I was thinking, “Normally, this would NOT be a good sushi place, look at all the white people.” But it’s actually a quite decent place, it’s just that in Gilroy, we have tons of white people, Hispanics don’t do the sushi thing yet, and we don’t have enough Asians to make much of a presence in a sushi bar on Friday night.

    Today I was up in …. Cupertino! And had lunch at Lee’s Sandwiches, on Stevens Creek just down from De Anza college, about as Asian an area as you can get. Let me tell you, it wasn’t the presence of too many of us whites making the food kinda … Meh. It was OK, and I was hungry, but their ca phe sua da has an odd taste to it, artificial cream? The pork and rice and fish sauce was good, but the boiled peanuts, boy were they mushy. I actually took ‘em home and gave ‘em to my chickens here.

    OK so race weirdness: The term used back in the day was “the yellow peril”. The fear was, going back over 100 years, that Asians would come in and basically take over. I guess the result would be less jobs for white Americans (surprise, it’s other white Americans who have done that to us) and an unreasonably high level of good food, tasty cooking, fresh veggies, good grades, low crime, and your kids having to study hard in school. And Hello Kitty. Maybe somehow, back in the past, they could see this would all lead to Hello Kitty too.

    So Palo alto’s having more Asians move in. *Shrug*. Big deal. Why not?

  5. DreamT Says:

    #4 – Lee’s Sandwiches’ neighbor is Torre Restaurant, a rather good Italian place. Across is a Persian restaurant, Arya (with live Persian music). Not exactly Cupertino’s “Asian” center. And while its sandwiches are borderline disgusting, Lee’s plain baguettes are more decent (and cheap) than anything you find in nearby grocery stores, speaking from a French perspective.
    I can’t wait until America stop speaking about “races” and switches to, at worst ethnicities, at best cultures. The Philippines alone have 27 main ethnicities, the concept of “race” makes no sense there. And in France, between the Celts, the German Franks, the Arabs from the 800s, the Wisigoths (Spain) and Ostrogoths (Italy), etc… ethnicity itself long ago stopped making sense. And most wars these days are caused by (purposefully) mismatched country boundaries vs. ethnic groups. This persistent focus on “race” is misguided and ignorant, and does not speak well for many of the Palo Alto Online contributors.

  6. Real Estater Says:

    >>This persistent focus on “race” is misguided and ignorant, and does not speak well for many of the Palo Alto Online contributors.

    Come on, this is not a Palo Alto issue. This is an American issue. Palo Alto actually has done a great job of teaching kids about race. My kids learned all about Martin Luther King and Chinese New Year.

  7. madhaus Says:

    #5, do you mean Cafe Torre? They’re okay, but I find their menu a bit limited and I always go expecting it to be better than it ends up being. They’re not bad, by any means, they’re just not great.

    I do like Arya, though. And I’ve never been to Lee’s. Looks like their founder recently passed away.

  8. DreamT Says:

    #7 – yes I mean Cafe Torre… we went at New Year’s eve, closing time and it was a refreshing homely European-style bistro atmosphere. And after all these years of thinking it was just a wine bar, we were pleasantly surprised esp. considering they didn’t bury the food under salt, which is a plus in our book but also means that flavor is subtler than a typical local restaurant.

  9. Real Alex Says:

    Agree, Arya is a nice place. That’s the only place where Arab dance is performed by Russian dancers. :)

  10. Balzac Says:

    > Lee’s plain baguettes are more decent (and cheap) than anything you find in nearby grocery stores, speaking from a French perspective.

    Cheaper, sure, but more decent??? Only if you’ve been raised eating cheap baguettes from supermarkets.

  11. madhaus Says:

    #10, that link to Do Whatever has the same logo as the two kids in the above photo. Coincidence? I think not!

  12. PerfectAngel Says:

    My kids learned all about Martin Luther King and Chinese New Year.
    —–

    Which one of them is bad guy and which one is good guy in this movie? Who won the final battle?

  13. Real Estater Says:

    So Asians are moving to Palo Alto. What about Indians?

  14. madhaus Says:

    This is the ultimate showdown! Of ultimate destiny!

  15. PerfectAngel Says:

    The ultimate destiny of Palo Alto is Cupertinization.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    This is hardly newsworthy to peole who live in Palo Alto. However, most of the migration has been to south of the Oregon Exressway.

  17. Alex Says:

    This is hardly newsworthy to peole who live in Palo Alto. However, most of the migration has been to south of the Oregon Exressway.

    Faux Estater, pretty soon, we’ll be moving to the right side of the stree.

    All your base are belong to us!

  18. Real Estater Says:

    Alex,

    First line of defense is San Jose. Aren’t you like 20 minutes away from there?

  19. Jim D Says:

    De Facto segregation. It means, “in fact”.

    De Jure segregation means “by law”, and, well, most segregation isn’t really de jure anymore. It’s de facto.

    Because most folks go utterly batty (esp in California) whenever they see de jure segregation, even when it makes sense (though usually it doesn’t).

    Sorry, but you often see people say “de facto” when they mean “de jure”, but rarely vis versa – so I thought it was worth saying something.

  20. PerfectAngel Says:

    we’ll be moving to the right side of the stree.
    —-

    Which street? Lincoln?

  21. madhaus Says:

    #19, thanks for explaining that. Learned something new today!

    #20, Lincoln, Middlefield, Alma, you know, busy street. And #18 keeps telling us how busy he is.

  22. PerfectAngel Says:

    #20, Lincoln, Middlefield, Alma, you know, busy street.
    —–

    You mean bus-y streets?

  23. Real Alex Says:

    It would be funny it was not that serious:
    http://www.arounddublinblog.com/2009/11/dublin-deals-with-racial-tension-as-city-continues-to-grow/

    Anyway, all good school districts in Bay Area will be cupertinized this way or another.

  24. nomadic Says:

    #22, it’s amusing to see that you can follow that bus on street view all the way up Lincoln and into the turn on University.

  25. ES Says:

    I think the only perceived issue with the “cupertinoization” of Palo Alto is the March of the Tiger Mothers. All of a sudden, in order to be competitive, little Jimmy, who used to be into baseball and action movies, now has to visit his math, biology, and essay writing tutors for 3 hours a day after school before starting his mandatory 4 hours of piano practice. Oh yeah then 5 hours of homework.

    My boss lives in Lynbrook’s district (where I went oh so many years ago) and back then it was 74% asian- now it’s apparently in the high 80s, and he’s sending his kids to Bellarmine.

  26. Real Alex Says:

    That’s not just about hard studying and anti-social kids. I hear more and more from my asian friends that they want real diversity in lives of their kids. Kids tend to get in groups based on race, language, interests etc.
    Good parents and teachers try to make kids more social and force them to hang out with kids of different races and nationalities. However, I hear a lot from parents whose kids go to Cupertinized schools that non-asian kids can’t make friends and asian folks create some kind of insider/outsider barrier not willing to hang out with outsiders. That really sux. I’m happy that my daughter does not experience that kind of problems at her class where teacher makes everything possible to melt cultural barriers between kids, though some parents do contrary.

  27. DreamT Says:

    so how about the kids that are half West-European, half Asian, and 100% American?

  28. Jonathan Says:

    This article is scary. I grew up in the South Bay and have seen everything turn Asian. It is difficult to make friends, as they have different interests and cultures. It is scary to think that Asians/Indians will take over a beautiful ideal area. I don’t mind Asians, but when they are 80% of a school, its not fun!

    Bottom line: Have more kids white people!

  29. White Estater Says:

    Jonathan must be Alexandra Wallace’s boyfriend.

  30. madhaus Says:

    My kids go to Homestead High, whites may be most common group but no group is over 50% there anymore. That may be the reason there isn’t as much racial pressure there as in a supermajority Asian school such as Monta Vista or Lynbrook.

    My daughter says she is an egg: white on the outside, yellow on the inside, and her boyfriend is the opposite: a banana. Guess #28 wouldn’t approve of who she’s dating but who cares what a racist twit thinks?

  31. Real Estater Says:

    >>My daughter says she is an egg: white on the outside, yellow on the inside, and her boyfriend is the opposite

    Let me guess. Your daughter is into anime, and he is into rock and roll?

  32. Jonathan Says:

    I don’t see what is racist with anything I said. I am simply pointing out that for an American, the culture has changed from what it used to be, which is not necessarily pleasant.

    I have 2nd and 3rd generation Asian-American friends who completely disliked the culture of Monta Vista high school (which is vast majority immigrant asian).

    I understand the Asians moving into the Silicon Valley is due purely to economics. Diversity is OK, but as the post said, 80% of a school being Asian is not diversity.

    Have kids white people = More diversity.

  33. Real Estater Says:

    Jonathan,

    There are 2 ways to solve your problem:

    1. Move to Palo Alto
    2. Move to Arkansas

    How much money you got?

  34. madhaus Says:

    #33, did you forget to read the article on top?

  35. Real Estater Says:

    Talking about real Palo Alto north of the Oregon Expressway.

  36. madhaus Says:

    You ought to read the article, like I said. Asian population going up all over Palo Alto. Take a look around your house and see if it’s true one out of four people are Chinese.

  37. Who? Estater Says:

    Take a look around your house and see if it’s true one out of four people are Chinese.
    —-

    Or take a look in HIS house.


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