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"Koreatown" Fracas Disrupts Uber-Diverse Oakland
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February 01, 2010, 10:23 PM
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This California item represents a small skirmish in the ongoing diversity wars, specifically the sub-topic of territory. Humans are tribal beings, and immigrants would prefer to define their ethnic space rather than assimilate with the values to the national American community.

Seoul searching for new name in Oakland, San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2010

Oakland`s losing its Seoul.

Under pressure from Koreatown`s thousands of non-Koreans, the neighborhood`s new "Oakland`s Got Seoul" welcome banners will soon come down.

In their place will be something that better reflects an area that some say is hardly Korean at all. The 14-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue is also home to Ethiopians, Afghans, African Americans, artists and others who don`t identify as Korean.

"When people saw the Koreatown banners, they said, `Where did that come from?` " said Mohsin Sharif, co-owner of the Oasis Market, a Middle Eastern grocery in the heart of Koreatown. "The fact is, there`s a lot more than Koreans here."

Naturally, there is a price tag the taxpayers must bear.

The cost to install the original banners: $12,000, covered by a city redevelopment grant. The cost to take them down: $5,000, also paid by the city.

Over the next few weeks, the Koreatown merchants association will hold a series of neighborhood meetings to decide how to better define the nebulous area sandwiched between Uptown and Temescal.

"I think we need to be more inclusive," said Darlene Drapkin, director of the Koreatown Northgate community benefit district. "If we want to attract business, we have to be more open about the different nodes here."

The glorious promises of diversity haven`t worked out, as we see here in the Once-Golden State. Instead of a kumbaya rainbow of happy people, the reality is one squabble after another over turf.