Los Angeles gets a bad rap, and it’s completely unwarranted

OPINION: Most of the things people say they don’t like about L.A. have absolutely nothing to do with the locals.

A patron wears a mask while waiting for a food order at Grand Central Market Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Let me just say up front that as a person born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, I PUT ON FOR MY CITY. 

“I Love L.A.” is not just a song and a phrase that appears on T-shirts bought by tourists on Venice Beach. It is both a motto and a mantra. People who are from here recognize the greatness of our city, and we will defend it to the bitter end because we love it here. 

After all, what’s not to love? We have great beaches, good food, fabulous nightlife, outstanding weather, easy access to fun outdoor activities, and within two hours, you can be in the snow if you want to even though winters here never get quite that cold. 

Also? We have the world champion Los Angeles Lakers. Please don’t @ me. I’ll be busy counting our championship banners, losers. 

I got to thinking about my love for our city recently when on Twitter, someone suggested that L.A. does not have good, authentic Mexican food. They said that our Mexican food is tamed down to appeal to the tastebuds of white people. 

Jet plane flying above downtown Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

I was immediately appalled and offended. Where exactly did you go for Mexican food? Chilis? 

We literally live in Northern Mexico. You don’t have to venture that far around the city to find good, authentic Mexican food of all types. There are taco trucks parked in gas stations with lines wrapped around the corner full of actual Mexicans who will vouch for the food. That’s all you need to know. 

That exchange made me think about all the other complaints people have about L.A., and how they are all tied to people either not understanding the city, not knowing where to go or using transplants to the city as their barometer for how the city is. 

One of the greatest complaints you hear about Los Angeles is that people are fake. This one galls me the most because Los Angeles natives are some of the coolest, most laid-back people you will ever meet in your life. We just want to chill and have a good time. There is no pretense here. We are who we are no matter what part of the city we grew up in. 

The people who tend to be the fakest are the transplants who come here from other cities with their built-up notions of what the “Hollywood life” is supposed to be like. To be clear, unless we work in the industry, most Los Angeles natives don’t even fuck with Hollywood like that. We steer totally clear. 

Not to mention it’s different for us. Being that the industry is right here, most of us grew up going to school with the children of famous people or with people who would eventually go on to be famous themselves. For example, I went to school with a lot of people who went on to the NBA, members of the Pharcyde, one member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (although they all went to my high school, only one was my age and in my class), David Arquette, Jason Hervey, The Good Girls, Son Doobie of Funk Doobiest (what’s up, Jason!?) and so many others. 

Because of our proximity to it, we tend to not be as star-struck as others because seeing a celebrity buying tampons at Target is a regular thing for us. It’s the norm here. 

A man sells Lakers merchandise outside of the Staples Center on October 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

We don’t put on airs, and we don’t act like we are better than anyone. Again, those are the people who come here from other places, affect a “Hollywood attitude,” and try to make y’all think you are missing out on something. Which, technically you are, but you can easily come catch these vibes if you would just be cool and not insult us the way you do. 

The one complaint about L.A. that I will actually allow is the complaint about traffic. Traffic is horrendous here, but if you were an L.A. native, you would know all the side street shortcuts to take and which streets to avoid at which times. 

It’s about knowing your city and staying in your lane. 

I’m sure plenty of other cities have these same issues with people complaining about things just cause they don’t understand or don’t really know. It’s a thing with people who visit other places. 

I guess if I could offer one bit of advice it would be to keep your criticisms of another city down until you actually understand and get to know the place. 

You may just find out you like it after all. 

Barring that, Los Angeles is the greatest city of all time, and I shan’t be argued with about it.

Monique Judge

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.

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