2023 Lawrence W. Levine Award Winner, Organization of American Historians
Between the 1980s and the first decade of the twenty-first century, Asian Americans in Los Angeles moved toward becoming a racial majority in the communities of the East San Gabriel Valley. By the late 1990s, their "model minority" status resulted in greater influence in local culture, neighborhood politics, and policies regarding the use of suburban space. In the "country living" subdivisions, which featured symbols of Western agrarianism including horse trails, ranch fencing, and Spanish colonial architecture, white homeowners encouraged assimilation and enacted policies suppressing unwanted "changes"—that is, increased density and influence of Asian culture. While some Asian suburbanites challenged whites' concerns, many others did not. Rather, white critics found support from affluent Asian homeowners who also wished to protect their class privilege and suburbia's conservative Anglocentric milieu. In Resisting Change in Suburbia, award-winning historian James Zarsadiaz explains how myths of suburbia, the American West, and the American Dream informed regional planning, suburban design, and ideas about race and belonging.