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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Los Angeles Skin

An offspring of “Racial Reconciliation” a post from

Since living in LA, I have been amazed by the many different blends of ethinicity I’ve seen. One night, while my parents were visiting us, we decided to eat at a restaurant on Manhattan pier. The table next to us was full of people, obviously a party. At first, I didn’t really notice the beautiful women sitting at the table, but little by little they caught my eye. They were around my age, twenty-five. They had long dark brown hair and features that I can only recall as Indian-ish. I couldn't figure out their ethnicity. Their features were so blended that they simply looked exotic, like they had walked out of some paradise jungle. I like to imagine that Adam and Eve were this way, a mélange of nationality that simply glowed with the warmth of humanity.
This question of ethinicity has struck me many times since living in LA. It's not uncommon to meet people who are part white, part Indonesian, and part Hawaiian (real example of a friend).
But it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I realized my fascination with ethnicity was bordering on ignorance and prejudice. I was writing at a local coffee shop when I spotted a beautiful woman, again about my age, with a small baby sleeping in a carrier at her feet. She had rough, straight black hair that flopped around her petite brown features. She was almost mahogany tinted. Her eyes were almond shaped, but her nose was small and pointed. Her cheeks were smooth and high, and her mouth was delicate. I caught myself staring at her. “Who is she?” I kept wondering. “Where did she come from?” I couldn’t decide if she was mixed or just some kind of nationality I’d never seen before. And Judging by the shade of her baby’s skin she had inter-married too. I kept watching her trying to crack the code of her ethnicity. “Did she grow up in LA? Who were her parents and how did they come to the states?”
At that moment a teenage boy skated into the coffee shop and slid by her. He glanced at her, jumped off his board, and ordered a drink. Suddenly I realized, “That boy doesn’t see a ‘foreigner’ when he looks at her. To him she is just a pretty American.”
I have decided that the face of America is changing and I am sliding into that pale minority known as “white.” I’m glad for it, relieved in fact! Suddenly, this city feels alive and warm with the glow of melanin.


Anonymous E.F. said...

I really like this piece about ethnicity, Christin. That's how it is here in Auckland too. There are 54 different countries represented by people at my school so it is deffinetly a mixing pot of cultures.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...


Wonderful's intresting how easily admiration can slide into something unintended.

By the way, my blog address is: (I'm not savvy enough to simply have a "com" ending). The post that you were referring to can be found at:

You're the best, Tin.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

oopps! Yes please everyone, check out Amanda's blog at the correct address.
Thanks Mandy! ;-)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

I wish I could visit your school, Em. 54 countries? Wow.

3:18 PM  

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