The First Suburban Chinatown

The Remaking of Monterey Park, California

Timothy P. Fong
Donald H. Pflueger Local History Award, Historical Society of Southern California, 1999
Outstanding Book Award in the Social Sciences, Association for Asian American Studies, 1995
Book Cover

PB: $35.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-262-4
Publication: Jul 94

HC: $85.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-123-8
Publication: Jan 94

Ebook: $35.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0463-3

240 pages
6 x 9
14 tables, 2 figs., 8 halftones

Ethnicity issues fuel internal strife as a community faces change


Monterey Park, California, only eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles, was dubbed by the media as the "First Suburban Chinatown." The city was a predominantly white middle-class bedroom community in the 1970s when large numbers of Chinese immigrants transformed it into a bustling international boomtown. It is now the only city in the United States with a majority Asian American population. Timothy P. Fong examines the demographic, economic, social, and cultural changes taking place there, and the political reactions to the change.

Fong, a former journalist, reports on how pervasive anti-Asian sentiment fueled a series of initiatives intended to strengthen "community control," including a movement to make English the official language. Recounting the internal strife and the beginnings of recovery, Fong explores how race and ethnicity issues are used as political organizing tools and weapons.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A New and Dynamic Community
1. Ramona Acres to the Chinese Beverly Hills: Demographic Change
2. Enter the Dragon: Economic Change
3. "I Don't Feel at Home Anymore": Social and Cultural Change
4. Community Fragmentation and the Slow-Growth Movement
5. Controlled Growth and the Official-English Movement
6. "City with a Heart"?
7. The Politics of Realignment
8. Theoretical Perspectives on Monterey Park
Conclusion: From Marginal to Mainstream
Select Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Timothy P. Fong teaches at the University of California, Davis, and at California State University, Hayward.


In the Series

  • Asian American History and Culture edited by Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

    Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi, David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong and Linda Trinh Võ, series editors Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.