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Jose Nunez Jr.

GES 348

Assignment 6 May 4, 2013

A People's Guide to Los Angeles: A Critical Response to a Lecture by Laura Pulido at Northeastern Illinois University. In Luara Pulidos lecture she cleverly points out the lack of attention given to locations where recent immigrants and communities of color reside in the realm of tourism. In addition, the historical narratives offered to visitors of the city bypass these communities, which often have a larger story to tell. The culture and historical geography of Los Angeles is not only one of the elite enclaves of Hollywood, northern LA, and those built as a result of western Anglo expansion. In addition, the variety of ethnic groups in the area, the racial conflicts, and the areas where capital is invested offer a different story that contradicts that of the privileged or economically and politically powerful. In her guidebook, A People's Guide to Los Angeles (2012), she offers an alternative to guide books that only highlight L.A.s elite locations and corporate entertainment spots. Latin American, Native American, African American, Asian, feminist, queer, and many other groups have struggled on the streets of this city. Their history is highlighted at the expense of traditional tourist sites. These suppressed histories include, but are not limited to, the location of the Black Panthers headquarters, militant worker strikes, indigenous stand offs against colonial and religious occupation, or highlighting restaurants that dont qualify for five star status. Further, as elaborated in the text, guidebooks have traditionally reinforced inequality and where created in order to normalize power relations. It argues that guidebooks are political because they promote particular views while ignoring others (Pulido, Barraclough, Cheng, 2012). They create sites of investments for capital, where tourists frequent and spend money.

2 This can lead to socializing both local residents and tourists into placing value in some areas while devaluing others (Pulido, Barraclough, Cheng, 2012). Usually these areas are those, which house low income and/or communities of color. For example, some portions of Long Beach and Fernando Valley are sometimes included in traditional guidebooks but these areas usually house residents who are white, famous, wealthy, and/or have connections to power. Pulidos attempt at highlighting alternative spaces, histories, and geographies in Los Angeles is long over due. While political elites, local authorities, and transnational corporations reap the benefits of the tourism industry and the local privileged class maintains the social structure, the ethnically, economically, and racially diverse core of the city is ignored and/or downplayed. This is particularly true with the Mexican migrant population that has for decades had a major role in building the infrastructure that is modern LA. To ignore this major component in the development of the citys culture, economy, and origins is a major indictment of the way cities overall in the United States. are envisioned. The fact that those in positions of power, authority, and influence can conveniently ignore the racism, inequality, classism, and economic exploitation of people considered less valuable is a chilling view into the logic that informs decisions that affect the common citizen or resident. References Pulido, L., Barraclough, L. R., & Cheng, W. (2012). A people's guide to Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press.