Seeking Diverse Neighborhoods in the Bay Area

Parent Q&A

  • Good evening,

    We are moving from NC to the Bay Area and are hoping to find a great neighborhood to raise our multiracial daughter.  We particularly are interested in an area that has Black, Latinx and Asian diversity.  We fell in love with Trsetle Glen/Crocker Highlands, Upper Rockridge and the Piedmont side of Montclair but my husband’s commute will be to Sausalito, so we need to be north of Oakland.  

    Any recommendations on neighborhoods with bay views that are diverse and inclusive?  Also, what schools are recommended (public or private) that would also be options for us?  We want to be connected to the community and the culture of Oakland without putting a heavy burden on my husband each day.  

    I look forward to hearing from everyone,  

    A few houses on Albany Hill have great bay views and access to the reputable Albany public schools (and on the market right now).

    Further north, many, many houses in El Cerrito have amazing views. The public schools are more mixed in reputation, but there are very good private school options with Montessori Family School and Prospect Sierra in El Cerrito. Similarly, Point Richmond has great views.

    I think all communities offer the diversity of the Bay Area in general and easy access to the Richmond Bridge/North Bay.

    Ah, if only there were such a place.  Since the houses with Bay views, in the hills, are very expensive -- usually $1.5M or more in Oak/Berk, and very white neighborhoods.  Berkeley is very diverse as a city but the hills are mostly white.  For what it's worth, we find the people of Berkeley, including the white wealthy ones, to be very progressive and politically left, nice people. Further north, you get El Cerrito, which is mostly white with Asians (25%) and much fewer Latinx and Black people, and more of a mix politically (still leaning liberal).  Further north, there are other towns, such as Vallejo, which is more diverse racially, and also more diverse politically.  As you go into those northern suburbs, you're just more suburban, so visiting there you'll see what you like.  

    To stay on the East Bay, the closer you can get to the 580 stretch that heads straight across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, the better. That means to make the commute at all do able, you’ll need to be looking at probably El Cerrito hills to get the view. It’s a totally different vibe than the areas of Oakland you were referring to, but the views are gorgeous, and the commute would be at least theoretically possible. There are reasonably good public schools up in the hills north of Berkeley (elementary schools Madera and Kensington Hilltop) and private schools that are good.  

    But the area is different in terms of the culture and pace from the areas of Oakland you mentioned. The further up the hill, the less diverse. El Cerrito is not at all urban. Alot of the architecture is post WW II in the flats and partway up the hill, with more variety of arcjitecture evident in the hills. 

    Marina Bay is actually on 580 and has houses right on the water, Point Richmond has homes with views,and is one of the last exits before the bridge.  Point Richmond is a cute small town with a Spanish immersion elementary. Marina Bay has the water front aspect, but is a bedroom community and the public schools are not rated well at all. That area has some limited offerings,no high end restaurants,no  full size grocery stores- it’s a bit off the beaten parh.

    I would suggest you rent a house for a year to get a better grasp of the neighborhoods, of the commute and what your priorities are. Marin is not as diverse as the East Bay but you may end up considering it given challenges with commuting.

    Best of luck and welcome to the Bay Area!

  • Hello all,

    My wife and I have recently moved from Boston to the Bay Area for my job. We are currently renting in Danville and aside from it being totally untouchable to us price-wise, we are not connecting with the community and would really prefer an area with more diversity and more of an LGBTQ presence. It seems like Oakland is the best option for that sort of area but the schools as a whole are not rated well. We have a 3 and 1/2 year old son and an 11 month old daughter and we are hoping to buy within the next year (trying to stay under $850K if we can). Are there areas we are overlooking? Affordable private schools that we should look into to make Oakland work? Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you!!!

    Kira 

    I have two pieces of advice for you.  One is to not make your determination about what schools are good based on the test scores.  Generally, really high test scores correlate with really high incomes among the parents and/or and intense testing focus by the school.  I would think about the kind of climate you'd like for your children to go to school in, and try to find that, with the understanding that in elementary school at least any "gaps" in instruction tend to be easily and almost effortlessly closed by engaged  parents who read to their kids and take them to museums, etc.  I myself went to high school in Danville and was absolutely miserable there and at my elementary school in San Ramon.  The quality of teaching was mediocre at best, but everyone was affluent so the scores looked good.  My daughter, in contrast, goes to Ellerhorst elementary in Pinole, and although I was very nervous at the start of the year because the test scores aren't very good (and in fact almost panicked and moved to private school), we are very happy there and her own test scores are showing remarkable progress.  The school is extremely diverse, and we have been blown away by the kind, supportive, family-like atmosphere of the school.  Some schools achieve good test scores by sacrificing many of the things we value in our children's education: PE, music and movement, science, art, imaginative play, and it was a game changer for us to realize that while we valued quality education, that did not always mean picking the school with the best test scores.

    My second piece of advice would be to check out West Contra Costa County.  I lived in Oakland for a decade and will always love Oakland, but it is pretty much out of reach for under $850k in the kind of family friendly neighborhood I'm imagining you would want (especially when you consider that the listing prices tend to be $100k or more under the eventual sale price).  El Sobrante, Pinole, and Hercules are the hidden gems of the East Bay, and although the WCCUSD schools often are not super highly ranked, we know many, many families who are extremely happy with their neighborhood schools.  I can only speak to Pinole, but it offers a lot of the good parts of growing up in the TriValley area (amenities, greenery, safety) without the competition and snobbery and intense social pressure that made it so awful as a child that didn't fit in in Danville and San Ramon.  The area has been filled with a lot of older folks for a long time, but in the last two years or so, we've seen a huge wave of older folks moving out and young families and couples moving in from Berkeley/Oakland etc.  Check it out! 

    I agree with the previous poster! Schools in West Contra Costa and San Leandro/Hayward may not have great test scores, but many of the students do very well and the schools are very diverse. In fact, Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito is the 4th most ethnically diverse middle school in the entire US. The basic curriculum is the same at every public school in California.

    I'd highly recommend Alameda. It's an island town outside of Oakland that feels like a close-knit community, yet is close to everything. The housing market is competitive, so you'd probably be looking at a 2 bedroom home in your price range, but it's definitely more affordable than Oakland.  The schools are all excellent and the community is extremely welcoming. In particular, I've found it to be super family friendly with lots of events, resources and parent groups. 

  • We are moving to the Oakland Berkeley area in the Summer 2019 with our now 13 year old daughter. We are an interracial (white, Asian and African American) family and so diversity is important both racially and economically. Our daughter is interested in the arts (singing, dancing) as well as sports (Lacrosse). Can anyone recommend areas, neighborhoods and schools we should consider in these cities? Thank you.

    If you're considering private schools, the sky is the limit. You can live in either Berkeley or Oakland. For girls, Julia Morgan School for Girls is an exceptional private school. If you're considering public schools, there is no "bad" school in Berkeley. Many people agree that the Berkeley schools are all in the spectrum of good to great. Also, Berkeley schools are more integrated which means kids get mixed up, leading to diversity but you may not be going to the school that is a block away from you! Oakland public school system has a wider gap because you get neighborhood preference. A handful of Oakland schools are excellent and many schools struggle. Also, OUSD budget cut is something to consider. OSA is an amazing arts magnet public school, but I'm not sure if you can get in mid-year. If you can swing the budget, Piedmont has excellent school system but there isn't much racial or economic diversity. For high school, Oakland Tech is highly regarded and diverse.  I'm not sure where you're moving from, but walkable neighborhoods are incredibly expensive. Hills are not as hotly in demand as flats. If you're ok with Condo/Townhome living or rental but do have means to send your kid to private school and like the suburdan amenities like big box store (Target, Home Depot) and chain restaurants (Chevy's), living in Emeryville is pretty convenient. In Oakland, there are many wonderful neighborhoods. Our favorites in Oakland are Rockdridge, Piedmont Ave. Grand Lake, Lakeshore, Glenview, Dimond, Montclair Village, Lincoln Heights which are all very family friendly and relatively safe. Alameda is another neighborhood that is safe and has good schools. It's not culturally and artistically as exciting as Berkeley or Oakland though. 

    Berkeley High has diversity, a super strong girls Lacrosse team and incredible dance and music programs.

    Berkeley High is still a fantastic school.  It's hard to recommend Oakland public schools, although some of their charter schools are doing well.  School districts in Piedmont, Alameda, Albany, Danville, and Orinda are very strong (and not very diverse).

  • Hi BPN members,  I've been researching on my own for months and I feel like I need some advice on questions that a realtor just can't answer...

    our family of 4 is looking to move to the East Bay in roughly a year.  We work in the alameda area, bay farm island, next to the OAK Airport and currently live on the peninsula.  Looking to decrease travel time and increase family time.

    looking for a 4 bedroom house up to $1.5M, prefer a two story house, good schools - (great schools rating 8 and higher please) - safe area with entertainment activities that would appeal to our kids as they grow.  Our children are heading into middle school years and I want them to be able to have some independence as they get older and I'll of course feel more comfortable if entertainment like movie cinema, etc is relatively close by and safe.

    my husband and I both grew up in very urban settings with urban problems and we'd like a safer environment for our kids.  We're originally from the east coast but we've moved around a lot.

    our kids are great students, really kind people, on their way to being great citizens I hope!  Here's one of my biggest concerns though and something I can't really speak freely to a realtor about.  We are Muslim and my kids are currently the only muslims in their respective classrooms at school.  We are very liberal and progressive but as our children get older they make comments telling us that all of their classmates are Christian and they don't want to tell people they're Muslim, it concerns me, I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin.  

    I am a white hispanic and my husband is of a mixed Indian and Arab origin.  I speak Spanish and our current school is heavily Latino so most people assume our children are Latino but they don't speak Spanish.  They understand some Urdu, Arabic, and Spanish because of grandparents visiting for extended stays but they only speak English.  I feel like the middle and high school years are really tough and I want my children to feel like they fit, right now they feel like outsiders.  One of our children looks more like mom - white/Hispanic and the other looks just like dad - people often Assume Afghan or Persian.

    i've looked in Piedmont and Montclair but I just don't know if these are a good fit even though the commute would be easy and the schools seem good...  any advice would be very much appreciated.  Anyone in the same boat????

     The only other family I know that shares our mix homeschools, ha!

    I've read your post a few times now and still can't quite tell what you're prioritizing. Do you want 1) an ethnically mixed school, where your kids' mixed race won't stand out? 2) to be part of a progressive/liberal high-income Muslim community? 3) to be in Alameda? 4) to be in a very high ranked school? 5) to connect with (or live near) other families who are Hispanic/white/Arab/Indian? I feel like you and your spouse should try to nail down which of these in the big picture are your top 2 or 3, and then hone in on areas that meet those needs first. Off the top of my head, I'd think the Peninsula might be a good bet, or Fremont/SJ, but I am not super familiar with those areas, nor with the progressive Muslim community.

    My kids go to an extremely ethnically diverse public school (WCCUSD) and it's great, but it is truly very mixed, about third Asian, third Latino, sixth Af-Am, and sixth white. It's also low-income, which may correlate with ethnic diversity. Is that okay with you? As I'm sure you know, these Census-based ethnic categories do not ask what one's faith is, so there's no way of measuring "Muslim" population as they may self-report as any race/ethnicity. You may want to attend Muslim cultural events in the East Bay/Alameda, and ask around where the kids go to school.

    In the meantime, as far as the East Bay goes, if I wanted cultural/ethnic diversity in my public school, and was looking in the $1.5M range for a 4-bedroom, I'd certainly look into Berkeley (can you still get a 4-bd there for under $2M?), or the hidden gem of Point Richmond, with bayfront views, a neighborhood which feeds to Korematsu JH in EC and ECHS, both quite ethnically diverse and academically solid if not the 8 you have targeted. Or you could try to get your kids into application-based magnet high school Middle College HS in Richmond, which is a 10 and can get your kids college credit as high schoolers. (Obviously a high score on GreatSchools does not mean a welcoming school to everyone, just check recent news articles about Albany High and Piedmont High.)

    Or move to Alameda next to your work, and spend more time volunteering at the schools and bringing the diversity personally.

    Lots of options once you figure out what's most important to you.

    For commuting to Bay Farm Island and diverse with Muslims as well, maybe look at San Leandro or Fremont. Seriously don't worry about the schools being 8 or higher, the higher ranking typically the less diverse the school; all the schools, even schools that are a 5, will have at least 20% of the students being high-performing and have challenging classes.

    I'd recommend Berkeley - the schools are probably a 7/8 (not that great IMO) but the inclusiveness and diversity is unparalleled.

  • Hello!

    My husband and I are an affluent African-american couple (Pharmacist and Googler) who currently own a home in the peninsula. We have a 1 and 2 year old toddler and do not wish to raise them here in the peninsula due to the lack of other affluent African- Americans in our community (and along the peninsula overall). We plan on staying here for the next 2 years before Kindergarten. Can anyone recommend any great neighborhoods for purchasing a home near or in Berkeley where my kids can walk to attend great public schools, and have a more diverse experience growing up and us not worry about crime, race, or meeting others like themselves? We are also looking for areas accessible to stores, shopping, and a great social scene if desired.

    Before you make the move, you should research how Berkeley assigns public schools, because this may mean that walking to school is not possible. I know people that are not able to attend the schools closest to them, but love how diverse in a socioeconomic way this makes them. If Oakland is also on your radar, Crocker Highlands is a great neighborhood with a great elementary school, not as diverse as we would like, but still lovely in other ways. There certainly are families of all colors in the same ish tax bracket. Piedmont might also be more inclusive than certain Peninsula cities, but still very white. It is also a very small city, so there is a real sense of neighborly connection there for better or worse. I agree it's not for everyone. People who live there do walk to school and it is very child/family focused.

    Parts of South Berkeley are considered "historically" African-American and now have are quite a mixture. However, as the Save Black Berkeley (http://www.saveblackberkeley.org/) movement can surely attest to, many in these communities are selling their homes and leaving. That said, there are definitely upper middle class African Americans in Berkeley neighborhoods from all points west of Sacramento and Alcatraz to University. 

    Hi there.  I would recommend El Cerrito and a few neighborhoods in Richmond.  Fairmont and Harding are both good schools and their cachement areas are very walkable and diverse. If you're worried about the test scores you can move to the hills and send your kids to Madera, but it's mostly white and Asian up there, also you'll need to drive.  Richmond Hills families go to Mira Vista, which is a sweet little K-8 school in the hills, incredibly diverse in every way, with a strong parent community.  Depending on where you live your kids can walk there.  They have a good library, computer lab, band and glee club, and teachers from Richmond Art Center. The numbers aren't as good as Madera but families in the district still transfer their kids to MV because it's a good school. My kid has friends from the neighborhood and I feel safe letting them tear around on their bikes together.  I have friends who live up in Hilltop in some of the developments.  There are a lot of professional class AA families there, although I don't think they send their kids to the local school.  If you want more info you could contact Mocha Moms of West Contra Costa.  They're online and a great group.

  • Me and my family are relocating to California, July of 2017. We are both business graduates, so we're looking to find work within three months of moving. We plan on buying a house (500k to 750k) and finding a wonderful charter school near Berkeley. We were told is Berkeley is gay friendly. We have been searching but several places that many be affordable, are showing high crime. We are also SERIOUSLY looking for diversity. Any suggestions??

    Diversity?  Absolutely NOT a problem. Housing for $500,00 - $750,000, not so much, especially in Berkeley. Housing near (above) the upper end of your price bracket will likely get you a house in a rather "meh" neighborhood, both crime and school-wise. The Richmond Annex just possibly, but you'd then have to be able to afford private school ($20,00 - $35,000 / year). Best of luck. 

    Hi there, when you are moving to such a highly populated area there is always going to be crime issues. While Oakland is known to be one of the worse cities for crime in the US, there are VERY nice areas of Oakland. We lived in El Cerrito and we loved it. "The hills" are really nice and the area is really safe. It gets looked over because it's close to Richmond but we never had any issues there. I suggest renting before buying so you can get an idea of the areas if you are completely new to SFBA.

    Please consider checking out Alameda! The west end in particular is more affordable, and you will get a great neighborhood, low crime, and wonderful, diverse charter schools. We commute from the opposite end of Alameda to one of them - Nea. The school is great, the administration is great, and you will not find a more accepting community of kids and adults from as many backgrounds as you can think of. Good luck with your move!

  • Greetings!

    There's a good chance my family and I will be moving to Berkeley (or surrounding places) for a dream job in Berkeley. My husband is African American and I am light-skinned Latina. We have a beautiful daughter, preschool age. I have three questions:

    1. What are some of the safest and friendliest places for us to consider moving to as an interracial family?

    2. What are some of the best, most diverse and affordable preschools around?

    3. We want to our girl to be bilingual in Spanish and English. Are there any dual immersion preschools (and elementary schools) that we should know about?

    Thank you in advance for your help. I went to UC Berkeley for my undergrad 20 years ago and LOVED it. I'm very fond of Berkeley and would happily move back. Since it's been so long, I wanted to hear what current parents have to say in respect to the above questions (and anything else!). 

    Sincerely Grateful,

    LS

    You should check out Escuela Bilingue Internacional.  It has preschool, elementary and middle school.

    Hi, we live in Albany and love it. It is a hidden gem between El Cerrito, Kensington and Berkeley with a great school system with easy access to the highway and proximity to Bart. We are an interracial couple with a 20 month old daughter and relocated from Los Angeles approximately four years ago. If you have an interest in getting coffee when you are up here, please don't hesitate to contact us. I can be reached at angel.cruzado [at] gmail.com

    I don't have specific answers for #2 and #3, but I think pretty much anywhere in Berkeley will be fine for an interracial family. I say this as a member of an interracial family who has friends who are also interracial families.

    I think some people might inadvertently try to steer you towards more "diverse" (i.e. less-white) areas, but I would ignore them (such steering is highly problematic and I think people may be oblivious to that at times). Instead I would just prioritize things you want out of a neighborhood (e.g. public transit, noise levels, nearby commercial streets, whatever) and focus on finding areas that match that instead. If you have general concerns about crime, my general sense is that south of campus you'll get more petty crime, and south/southwest areas closer to Oakland are a bit more touchy (unfortunately). Living in Berkeley I think the main problem to worry about, crime-wise, is property crime (e.g. car getting broken into) than personal/violent crime. Berkeley is also much, much, much safer than it was 20 years ago, so if you had no problems then than you'll have no problems now.

    I haven't looked into it specifically, but as a partial answer to #3 I believe Berkeley Unified's LeConte provides a district-wide dual-language (Spanish/English) immersion and is in the central school zone. I'm not sure if living in the central zone would help your kids get in since it's a district-wide program. Hopefully others will chime in with helpful info.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Asian Indian family moving from Boston - Silicon Valley?

Aug 2011

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


African-American in Lamorinda?

Feb 2004

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! 
Welcome Wagon


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


Looking for family-friendly multi-racial neighborhood

Jan 2003

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.
a mom


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