4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

San Diego immigrants

Somalians, Cambodians, Palestinians, Samoans, Mexicans, Afghans, Okies, and Indians from India

“The wonderful thing about the Somalis is they’re very assertive. They’re very proud. They will do well here, assimilating." - Image by Dave Allen
“The wonderful thing about the Somalis is they’re very assertive. They’re very proud. They will do well here, assimilating."

Home Before Dark

“Part of the procedure before praying is washing their feet in the sinks. That was another problem. This was going on in the restrooms, creating water on the floor. It was not received well by other students of other nationalities. They didn’t like that going on. We asked them if they could possibly wash their feet at home instead. We finally had to give out letters from the school, translated into Somali.”

Mary Lang, Feb. 18, 1993 | Read full article

Over some of the OBS graffiti, the letters OKB have been scrawled in white chalk. “That’s the Oriental Killer Boys, mostly Lao. They’re the main enemy.”

Far from the Enormous Past

Graffiti starts appearing on garage and apartment walls. “Oriental Boys No 1,” “Forty-Seventh Menlo Cuzz.” “Bullet Sneek 15-2.” (The 15-2 refers to the alphabet positions of O and B.) But over some of the OBS graffiti, the letters OKB have been scrawled in white chalk. “That’s the Oriental Killer Boys, mostly Lao. They’re the main enemy…. They were just Cambodian kids at high school and junior high getting beat up by the larger black, white, and Hispanic kids.”

Bill Manson, March 31, 1994 | Read full article

Molly Ek: "We were emptying the lake to make a graveyard where they could bury us."

I Would Prefer that He Were Dead

"The forest was flooded that day. My skirt and shirt were ripped. I had to pin them together using thorns...."

She was ten. She had run away from a Khmer Rouge labor camp, where hundreds of children, taken from their families, had to empty a lake measuring five miles around — by bucket. She suddenly remembers why. "We were emptying it to make a graveyard where they could bury us," Molly explains. "The Vietnamese came and saved us.”

Bill Manson, March 31, 1994 | Read full article

St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church

Jesus Christ Walked By Right Outside My House

“The Palestinians built Kuwait. They built Saudi Arabia — I was there nine years; there was no Jordan until the Palestinians made it. Same with Lebanon. And look at the civil services of these countries. Their professionals, their police. We are a backbone of the entire Middle East. Yet the only country we haven’t been able to build is our own. I couldn’t even get back into my country until I could show an American passport.”

Bill Manson, Aug. 18, 1994 | Read full article

San Diego police have received seven reports of migrant workers being robbed, attacked, or harassed by American teens in the Penasquitos area.

Beaner Bashers

He would pull down opposing running backs but wouldn’t slam them to the turf. He would sidestep offensive linemen but wouldn't butt them head on. “He was never really aggressive,” his mother said. Mike’s soft-spoken, subdued nature possibly made him a better problem solver and mediator than head cruncher. At school, he was a member of Mt. Carmel’s Human Relations Committee, a group that tried to ease tensions and disputes between ethnic groups on campus.

Eric Eyre, Aug. 29, 1991 | Read full article

Pramanand Trikannad: "We don’t have formal churches as such, so we have to organize our worship ourselves."

Passage From India: San Diego's Quietly Prosperous Minority

“Although there are now between 800,000 and 1 million Indians in the U.S., they are the elite. The creme de la creme of professionals. That’s changing in the New York metropolitan area with the arrival of thousands of Pakistani working-class people. But in California, Indians are completely professional, middle-class. That’s why their educational level is so high. The average American educational background in number of years is 12.5; but for Indians it’s about 18.”

Lawrence Osborne, Jan. 13, 1994 | Read full article

Zia Waleh in Afghanistan. “I belonged to the Islamic Front of Jihad. We fought the USSR alone. Two million of my people have been lost. One million maimed."

The Silk Road Ends in San Diego

“One of the Russians said, ‘Treat these [Russians] and kill these [Afghans].’ The other doctor said, 'How can I do that?’ The Russian said, 'Like this!’ and he hit the doctor in the face with his rifle butt. And I saw what’s going on. I ran to my own closet, and I pulled out my pistol. I made a lunge; but when I came back, the soldiers had left. So I worked on the three Afghans.”

Bill Manson, Sept. 26, 1996 | Read full article

Jim Heck - like the other Okies I met in San Diego last summer, Heck not only does not forget, he makes a point of remembering

Finding Family

After the family returned to San Diego from their sojourn in Nebraska, they lived in Pacific Beach and Jim graduated from La Jolla High School. Jim says he presented himself as a Nebraskan, not an Okie, which he kept secret. He took journalism, wrote on the school paper, became a ’50s-era surfer and hot-rodder, driving a supercharged dragster. He even dated classmate Raquel Welch. “In essence,” he muses now, “I became a California Okie.”

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jan. 15, 1998 | Read full article

Logona "Koji" Sotoa: A hero is one who knows his culture and who’s strong enough to handle the pain of the tattooing.

You Can't Dance with a Princess if You Don't Have a Tattoo

“When Christianity came to Samoa in the 1800s, the people had no choice about tattoos. If you have a tattoo, all the rights you have in the church, if you’re a deacon or a lay preacher, they are dropped. You can’t be a preacher anymore unless you reapply again. I’m a deacon elder for the whole California district of the Samoan Congregational Church. I was not dropped from my position, but they gave me a warning.”

Linda Nevin, Feb. 12, 1998 | Read full article

Somali men. "All Somalis living in San Diego feel very sorry about what happened on 9/11. It has touched every one of us."

Fear for My Life

"Although I am an American, I don't feel safe. I fear for my life sometimes. I've received threats on my cell phone toward my community and myself. Our mosque has received threats, and people have thrown eggs at it. It was unfortunate what happened to Americans and to the whole nation. All Somalis living in San Diego feel very sorry about what happened on 9/11. It has touched every one of us. We have condolence for our people, “

Robert Kumpel, Nov. 22, 2001 | Read full article

You never get your tattoo alone

"The cultural tattoo starts from the chest, all the way down past the knees. If you really do it in the traditional way it will hurt a lot. Not a little, a lot. You can suffer from it, because you do a lot of bleeding. It's very painful, because you have a person who stretches the skin, you have a person who wipes the blood, you have a person who actually puts it under the skin.”

Shari McCullough, Aug. 5, 2004 | Read full article

Somalis

When You Come to the United States You Think You Find Money on the Ground

San Diego rental prices are an ongoing issue for the Somali community. Most of them reside between 54th Street and 59th Street in the University Avenue section of City Heights known as Little Mogadishu. “Typically they’re going to go where there is affordable housing, like Mid City and City Heights,” McKay said. “You’ll have Somalis settling all through that area, but more and more, families are moving to East County because of rents.”

Shari McCullough, Aug. 26, 2004 | Read full article

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

How Black Friday worked for Tijuana shoppers

The border re-opening seemed to help both sides
“The wonderful thing about the Somalis is they’re very assertive. They’re very proud. They will do well here, assimilating." - Image by Dave Allen
“The wonderful thing about the Somalis is they’re very assertive. They’re very proud. They will do well here, assimilating."

Home Before Dark

“Part of the procedure before praying is washing their feet in the sinks. That was another problem. This was going on in the restrooms, creating water on the floor. It was not received well by other students of other nationalities. They didn’t like that going on. We asked them if they could possibly wash their feet at home instead. We finally had to give out letters from the school, translated into Somali.”

Mary Lang, Feb. 18, 1993 | Read full article

Over some of the OBS graffiti, the letters OKB have been scrawled in white chalk. “That’s the Oriental Killer Boys, mostly Lao. They’re the main enemy.”

Far from the Enormous Past

Graffiti starts appearing on garage and apartment walls. “Oriental Boys No 1,” “Forty-Seventh Menlo Cuzz.” “Bullet Sneek 15-2.” (The 15-2 refers to the alphabet positions of O and B.) But over some of the OBS graffiti, the letters OKB have been scrawled in white chalk. “That’s the Oriental Killer Boys, mostly Lao. They’re the main enemy…. They were just Cambodian kids at high school and junior high getting beat up by the larger black, white, and Hispanic kids.”

Bill Manson, March 31, 1994 | Read full article

Molly Ek: "We were emptying the lake to make a graveyard where they could bury us."

I Would Prefer that He Were Dead

"The forest was flooded that day. My skirt and shirt were ripped. I had to pin them together using thorns...."

She was ten. She had run away from a Khmer Rouge labor camp, where hundreds of children, taken from their families, had to empty a lake measuring five miles around — by bucket. She suddenly remembers why. "We were emptying it to make a graveyard where they could bury us," Molly explains. "The Vietnamese came and saved us.”

Bill Manson, March 31, 1994 | Read full article

St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church

Jesus Christ Walked By Right Outside My House

“The Palestinians built Kuwait. They built Saudi Arabia — I was there nine years; there was no Jordan until the Palestinians made it. Same with Lebanon. And look at the civil services of these countries. Their professionals, their police. We are a backbone of the entire Middle East. Yet the only country we haven’t been able to build is our own. I couldn’t even get back into my country until I could show an American passport.”

Bill Manson, Aug. 18, 1994 | Read full article

San Diego police have received seven reports of migrant workers being robbed, attacked, or harassed by American teens in the Penasquitos area.

Beaner Bashers

He would pull down opposing running backs but wouldn’t slam them to the turf. He would sidestep offensive linemen but wouldn't butt them head on. “He was never really aggressive,” his mother said. Mike’s soft-spoken, subdued nature possibly made him a better problem solver and mediator than head cruncher. At school, he was a member of Mt. Carmel’s Human Relations Committee, a group that tried to ease tensions and disputes between ethnic groups on campus.

Eric Eyre, Aug. 29, 1991 | Read full article

Pramanand Trikannad: "We don’t have formal churches as such, so we have to organize our worship ourselves."

Passage From India: San Diego's Quietly Prosperous Minority

“Although there are now between 800,000 and 1 million Indians in the U.S., they are the elite. The creme de la creme of professionals. That’s changing in the New York metropolitan area with the arrival of thousands of Pakistani working-class people. But in California, Indians are completely professional, middle-class. That’s why their educational level is so high. The average American educational background in number of years is 12.5; but for Indians it’s about 18.”

Lawrence Osborne, Jan. 13, 1994 | Read full article

Zia Waleh in Afghanistan. “I belonged to the Islamic Front of Jihad. We fought the USSR alone. Two million of my people have been lost. One million maimed."

The Silk Road Ends in San Diego

“One of the Russians said, ‘Treat these [Russians] and kill these [Afghans].’ The other doctor said, 'How can I do that?’ The Russian said, 'Like this!’ and he hit the doctor in the face with his rifle butt. And I saw what’s going on. I ran to my own closet, and I pulled out my pistol. I made a lunge; but when I came back, the soldiers had left. So I worked on the three Afghans.”

Bill Manson, Sept. 26, 1996 | Read full article

Jim Heck - like the other Okies I met in San Diego last summer, Heck not only does not forget, he makes a point of remembering

Finding Family

After the family returned to San Diego from their sojourn in Nebraska, they lived in Pacific Beach and Jim graduated from La Jolla High School. Jim says he presented himself as a Nebraskan, not an Okie, which he kept secret. He took journalism, wrote on the school paper, became a ’50s-era surfer and hot-rodder, driving a supercharged dragster. He even dated classmate Raquel Welch. “In essence,” he muses now, “I became a California Okie.”

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jan. 15, 1998 | Read full article

Logona "Koji" Sotoa: A hero is one who knows his culture and who’s strong enough to handle the pain of the tattooing.

You Can't Dance with a Princess if You Don't Have a Tattoo

“When Christianity came to Samoa in the 1800s, the people had no choice about tattoos. If you have a tattoo, all the rights you have in the church, if you’re a deacon or a lay preacher, they are dropped. You can’t be a preacher anymore unless you reapply again. I’m a deacon elder for the whole California district of the Samoan Congregational Church. I was not dropped from my position, but they gave me a warning.”

Linda Nevin, Feb. 12, 1998 | Read full article

Somali men. "All Somalis living in San Diego feel very sorry about what happened on 9/11. It has touched every one of us."

Fear for My Life

"Although I am an American, I don't feel safe. I fear for my life sometimes. I've received threats on my cell phone toward my community and myself. Our mosque has received threats, and people have thrown eggs at it. It was unfortunate what happened to Americans and to the whole nation. All Somalis living in San Diego feel very sorry about what happened on 9/11. It has touched every one of us. We have condolence for our people, “

Robert Kumpel, Nov. 22, 2001 | Read full article

You never get your tattoo alone

"The cultural tattoo starts from the chest, all the way down past the knees. If you really do it in the traditional way it will hurt a lot. Not a little, a lot. You can suffer from it, because you do a lot of bleeding. It's very painful, because you have a person who stretches the skin, you have a person who wipes the blood, you have a person who actually puts it under the skin.”

Shari McCullough, Aug. 5, 2004 | Read full article

Somalis

When You Come to the United States You Think You Find Money on the Ground

San Diego rental prices are an ongoing issue for the Somali community. Most of them reside between 54th Street and 59th Street in the University Avenue section of City Heights known as Little Mogadishu. “Typically they’re going to go where there is affordable housing, like Mid City and City Heights,” McKay said. “You’ll have Somalis settling all through that area, but more and more, families are moving to East County because of rents.”

Shari McCullough, Aug. 26, 2004 | Read full article

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Blue Line trolley to Nobel Drive to Poki One N Half

This is the start of a whole new way to see the county
Next Article

Thank God (and the Irenic) for new all-ages venue

Building Bridges in Clairemont Mesa
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close