Suburban Inspiration for Exploration

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Chino Hills: a city consisting mostly of matching, two story, track homes where families often attempt to hide their imperfections behind well-kept houses with flawlessly manicured lawns. I have lived in Chino Hills my whole life, and while the entire city is not like this, as I live in the one “blighted” neighborhood (as labeled by the local newspaper), the majority strives to be the iconic “white picket fence” family home. My parents bought our one-story house in the so-called “ghetto” neighborhood of Los Serranos, deemed so for the lack of sidewalks and curbs, and the older, diverse houses, 20 years ago before Chino Hills was even a city, and before the mass takeover of housing developments and shopping centers.

Growing up in the only “barrio” in a mostly suburban neighborhood, people often made assumptions about me or my family, based solely off of my geographical location in a city. It was often assumed that I was poor, and as a young child, one of my friends wasn’t allowed to come to my house because their parents believed I lived in a dangerous area. The distance between my house and the rest of “non-blighted” Chino Hills is a matter of blocks, and yet due to these few blocks people’s perceptions of me changed from that...

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