Seeking Diverse Neighborhoods in the Bay Area
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Asian Indian family moving from Boston - Silicon Valley?
- African-American in Lamorinda?
- Looking for family-friendly multi-racial neighborhood
My husband and I are thinking of moving to SF (silicon valley) next year or so. We have two kids (5 and 3) and need to find good schools and a family friendly area. We are an Asian Indian family and are professionals. We would love to find an area with moderate number of Asian Indians. We have no idea about SF and would love to get some feedback as to where to start looking for a place to live. We are thinking of renting now and later buy a place. So, we would really appreciate experiences from other first time movers. What do you think of the place ? We really love the weather in SF and the diversity it has to offer. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Ann_2_SF
I have a couple of wonderful friends from India who live in Redwood City and work on the Peninsula. He's in software, recently left a big co to start his own company, and she's a researcher. They have a baby girl and seem happy where they are, where housing is a little more affordable than some other parts of the Bay. I'd be happy to try to put you in touch with them if you'd like, feel free to email me. Emily
There is a large Indian American population in many areas of Silicon Valley - Sunnyvale and Mt. View in particular. Also, in the outer East Bay in Fremont and environs. Most other areas of the bay area have diversity, however.
Two things about SF, in particular: first, there is a lottery to get into public schools, so you could wind up at a school across the city (45+ mins.) from where you live or work. It is a notoriously challenging system. Second, make sure you actually really like the weather in SF. You may already know this, but it is chilly and foggy during most of the summer. good luck
SF is a different place than SV than East Bay. So where are you moving to? Asian Indians are well represented most anywhere you go - really most areas are somewhat racially blind as there is such diversity or unevenness in ratios versus 'norms.' Some communities you will find only one or two 'white' kids in public classrooms full of asians and indians. Other areas may have more latinos, whites, or blacks, but most people are accepting of whatever diversity they find themselves within. Do you want a walking neighborhood for dinner and transport? or a suburban area with a community pool and library branch? Museums and cultural fairs? It varies greatly! We love it here. in San Jose
My husband and I are considering moving to Lafayette/moraga/orinda for the schools. I am African American, he is white. Can anyone give me any insight as to what it would be like for me and my kids to live in the area? We've spend a lot of time in the area (dinner, movies etc) in an effort to get to know the community more, and I have noticed that there are rarely other people of color, with the exception of some asian- american. He grew up in that area and is still friends with most of his high-school friends, and I am friendly with most of their wives (all white), so I know that there are lots of people from there or who live there who think nothing of a mixed-race family, but I worry about my kids rarely seeing anyone who looks like them (at school, at a restaurant, at a movie) unless we traveled through the tunnel...
My family moved to Orinda from Berkeley last May. We are all white, so I can't comment directly on the experience of people of color here. But I'm sorry to say I can confirm the lack of diversity. When my daughter started at the middle school here, she complained that all the girls were tall and thin and blond. She has since made good friends, and they seem to be really nice girls, but I confess that I sometimes have a hard time telling them apart.
The area has some great qualities, though. From what we have seen with kids in elementary and middle school, the schools are quite good. There is a great small town feel, and you often see middle school kids out on their own at the movies and at restaurants like Nations hamburgers, and at the pool in the summer. I think it is a good place for teens because they can have some early freedom here (like I had when I was growing up) and then, when they are older, can get into Oakland and Berkeley and SF via BART to participate in a more urban scene. One thing that has struck me is how many people I have met here that recently moved from Berkely or Albany or elsewhere on the Bay side of the hills. I assume they don't suddenly become more conservative when the moving van enters the tunnel; instead I like to think that they/we will make this area more like Berkeley and its neighbors. More diverse families would be a welcome part of this transformation. Good luck with your decision! anne
I have mostly grown up in Lafayette, with a few years living in Alameda, and I can tell you, those few years taught me A LOT! I never had any children of any color other than white in my schools until I lived in Alameda, where my high school was very diverse, and I was, in fact, a minority myself. As a result, I feel that I learned a lot about cultural and ethnic diversity and came to appreciate ''differentness'' vs. ''sameness''. That said, Lafayette has changed considerably since I was a child. As you said, there are a good number of people of Asian descent in Lafayette, but in the general Lamorinda area, there continue to be very few African Americans. Our family is good friends with a family in which the husband is African American and the mother white in Lamorinda and I don't think that they are treated any differently than all of the other families at the school. In fact, my friend says that she feels very comfortable in this area and that initially, they were worried that they would be ostracized because of their bi-racial family. This is hard for me to assess as they are good friends of ours, but I do know that the daughter is beginning to question why there are not other children with brown skin at her school. Is this bad in and of itself? I don't think so, as she (like me years before!) in a way has the opportunity to appreciate diversity in some form. Currently, I work at our church with teenagers from all different area schools, and I find that despite their cultural diversity, they are very ''white'' -- they for the most part have not experienced economic diversity, ethnic diversity (in that many are very ''Americanized''). Despite their differences in skin color, they are much ! the same in most ways. We are constantly trying to teach them to be mindful of difference and to appreciate it -- we try to get them together with kids from SF, Oakland, etc ... because these kids are very different from kids in those areas, despite sameness in skin color. I don't know if this makes sense, but I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not think you would be considered that ''different'' in Lamorinda, but yes, your daughter would have trouble finding other kids with her same skin color. That's a big thing when you consider that you want her to learn about her ethnicity, but not such a big thing if you want her to look like or ''fit in'' socially with the other kids around her. Hope this helps! lifetime Lamorindan
I attended a birthday party for an old high school friend in Lafayette, and the three of us from Berkeley were the only people of color at the party. My friend who was the only African American joked that ''Lafayette is French for 'no black people.''' Everyone was very friendly but it definitely was strange. You have to be willing to think of yourself as sort of a suburban pioneer (the Chron had a great article semi-recently with a similar title regarding this very topic). How do you feel about the total absence of African American culture and role models in the schools and community (I mean REAL culture, not just hip-hop clothes and music)? How will you feel if your children are removed from African American culture as adults? And yes, your children will experience some amount of distress at some point as the ''only'' or ''one of the few'' in school. As a teacher in Berkeley, I have never heard a kid of color say it was no big deal or not noticeable that most everyone else in their other/former school was white. Most of them were very relieved to be in Berkeley schools for that reason, but none of them seemed traumatized by their previous experience either. All this is to say that I think the trade-offs are real and are not just a matter of other people being nice, or welcoming or open-minded. It's about you and your kids and what you want or need from the place where they will spend their formative years. -- Also raising biracial kids
I grew up in Moraga, and presently live in Lafayette. Being white, I am not sure I can really answer your question as to how you might feel here, as you are correct in that there are not many African-American families here (I believe there are two families at our elementary school). However, I just wanted to write to say that I sincerely hope you will consider moving here, and that I am sure you would be warmly welcomed in this community. Most of the people I talk to who live around here name the lack of diversity as one of the few drawbacks, so slowly, I hope that will change!
My wife and I are the same racial make-up as you and your husband. We have lived and raised our two children in Lafayette for the past 11 years. Our children are thriving, have many friends, participate in sports, and other community based activities.
We have debates about whether our biracial children are best served in the Lamorinda community. I do not know what the right answer is, but will give you my thoughts. There are many families that we know that have other racial backgrounds other than European. Most of these families are interracial or asian. Here are some of the families that we know in our community: Chinese-Chinese, African American- European American, European American-Phillipines, Hispanic- Jewish and more. We are here and I hope you join us. The main reason I stay here as many other parents in this community, is for the education. My biracial children deserve the same high level of education and expectations of them as the blond child sitting in the next seat. So far, my children have been doing well academically. I do not look to the Lamorinda community to provide diversity or cultural education. We try to do that in other ways.
As a balance, we also do participate in other activities in Berkeley. We attend the City of Berkeley family camp at Tuolumne. We have other biracial family friends that live in Berkeley. David
We are looking to move to a family friendly, safe and especially multiracial neighborhood somewhere between Alameda and San Leandro. Can anyone recommend such an area? Thanks a lot.
We live in the Redwood Heights area of Oakland (technically, we're actually Leona Heights). We have a really diverse neighborhood -- not only multiracial but queer-friendly too. Lots of families and kids and a good elementary school. For me, our neighborhood represents the best Oakland has to offer: diversity, good weather, and a family-friendly feeling. You didn't say whether you were looking to rent or buy, but I think there are a few rentals in our neighborhood, although most houses are owner-occupied. Ilana