Growing Up Black In OC

OC Weekly music editor Nate Jackson on the fights, the questions—and the witty comebacks

The bar erupted in laughter.

Yeah, easy line. But when it comes to how my blackness commingles with my OC-ness, the one thing I'm most proud of being is an optimist. I'm not a bitter black guy. Despite memories of being harassed, looked down upon and isolated, I also don't forget the times I've been embraced and accepted because of my differences from the people around me. I'm still pretty much willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt when they step up to shake my hand. If I expect that for myself, I know I have to be willing to give it. Regardless of color, that's what a man does. And that is what I am.

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I not only grew up in the OC, I'm third generation. I don't have one bad memory of growing up in Orange County and neither did my mother and her siblings. (Can't speak for my grandmother, she passed away long before I was born.) 

Maybe we were lucky. Maybe it was because we were Spanish speaking Black Hispanics who grew up in a predominately Hispanic area. I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I've never hesitated to go *anywhere* in Orange County. Not a city, not a restuarant, not one single solitary place. I've never felt uncomfortable or as if I was being watched and or singled out. 

I love Orange County and it will always be my home. I think maybe it's easier for a female of African descent? Who knows? Who cares? I, like the rest of my family, live my life and have absolutely no time or inclination to worry about who may or may not be noticing that I am of African descent. 

Besides, as my grandfather used to say, "The only color a wise man sees is green."


Growing up BLACK in Orange County California's, OC is southeast of Los Angeles. I also lived in OC way back when we were proud NEGROS. I married my wife in a Black Church in OC a week before I arrived in Vietnam; she was also raised in the OC in the 1950's. Our two children were raised in OC. My granddaughter also raised in OC is a second year student at CSUF and a graduate of an OC High School as were her mom and uncle.  Only problem we encountered were racial profiling by various police departments.

Black people buy in OC for the same reason other races security, great school, close to employment and to protect our real estate investment. There are black churches in OC, Civil Rights organizations, business, restaurants, social organizations, and a Black Weekly Newspaper ''The Tri County Bulletin'' that has reported on social, educational, religious and news of importance to OC's African American readers.Thanks to civil rights advances, educational and employment opportunities there are many black folk living in the OC. 

There is not a large populations of US in the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Westside Venice and Santa Monica, San Gabriel Valley, Inland Empire, Valencia area, Palmdale Lancaster, Pasadena Altadena Monrovia. In ten years we will be a small population in Watts, Willowbrook, Compton and South Central LA .Bottom line is what difference does it make? 


Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas

Being Black in OC would be ALOT safer than being white in South Central LA. Just sayin


I'm a lot like this guy. It's rare to hear any offense from white people in orange county really. You either become the token black guy, or you're around people who are somewhat mindful of what they say around you. Most well to do white people in orange county are sensitive enough not to do shit around you if at all. There is plenty of racism but its veiled enough not to be an everyday issue. If OC had a comparable number of blacks to  Long Beach, then yes, I think you would see a ton more racism. Its a weird balancing act that isn't really right, but it isn't exactly harmful either.


OC Weekly and it's white hating, OC loathing readers, ought to take a good look at that last paragraph.

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

For every one black guy in OC that feels uncomfortable, there are 69 who are doing just fine and have no problems.

Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@theburningdown Maybe, just maybe, OC is nicer than Long Beach because we don't have a 'comparable number' of that population group. 


U should take a good look inside ur moms ass. Did u even read the article take ur douchey sunglasses off and read again. Its not white hating its a persons life experience. If it sounds like white hating then u should reflect on how u act as a white person

18usc241 topcommenter

@GustavoArellano @City_Data_Forum Because he pulled that "factoid" straight out of his rear-end. Otherwise known as:

Step one in OC law enforcement investigatory procedure.