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Race and ethnicity

Breaking: White People Tend to Live Closer to The Beach

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Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

click to enlarge A / LA WEEKLY FLICKR POOL
  • A / LA Weekly Flickr pool
No big surprise here.

As we bid adieu to our May heat wave, new research has "discovered" that minorities tend to live in hotter communities throughout the nation. Why is this no big surprise to us?

It's no big secret that white folks have been moving closer and closer to the coast for decades.

Have you been to Malibu, Pacific Palisades or Manhattan Beach? Lots of white people. And some of them moved there for a reason. (Hey, don't blame the messenger -- we're just pointing it out).

Around here the coastal life brings a cooling, Pacific influence, at least as a side effect of living around bikini-clad women, plenty of Whole Foods markets and lots of homeless people (also mostly white -- discuss).

The core of African American L.A. is still south of the 10 freeway. The epicenter of Asian American Los Angeles is in the San Gabriel Valley, with hot spots in Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Osaka, etc. Latinos, we all know, are everywhere.

Except Malibu, Pacific Palisades or Manhattan Beach. Which brings us to the study:

UC Berkeley researchers used used satellite imagery data to identify warmer communities and then matched those with U.S. Census figures regarding where, exactly, minorities live in America.

Eureka! According to a summary of the paper, published this week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

click to enlarge ERIC DEMARCQ / LA WEEKLY FLICKR POOL
  • Eric Demarcq / LA Weekly Flickr pool

... Heat-prone neighborhoods were disproportionately populated by African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Compared with their white counterparts, African Americans were about 50 percent more likely to live in these communities, while Hispanics were 37 percent and Asians a third more likely to do so.

(Remember this, however: People of color often have skin that's better prepared for life in the sun. We mean, Conan O'Brien? He wouldn't last a day in the Inland Empire. So ... there's that).

Bill Jesdale, research associate in UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, goes on to argue that "racial and ethnic minorities will likely suffer more from the effects of climate change."

Why? Because white people are one foot underwater now as a result of rising sea levels? Guess that will cool you off as the rest of us suffer under hot temps.

Rachel Morello-Frosch, a professor with joint appointments at the College of Natural Resources and the School of Public Health, who helped produce the study, gives us this shocker:

Segregation tends to concentrate racial and ethnic minorities into more densely populated urban areas.

Hot zones, those.

So now you know: Minorities inland. White people coast. Except when we all rush the public sand in back of David Geffen's Malibu place in summer for the annual Gathering of the Brownfolk, a.k.a. Call 911!

See you there.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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