The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Stanford professor discusses racial identities of California cities

SMU students, faculty and those interested in ethnic relations gathered Tuesday night in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room of the DeGolyer Library to listen to the lecture “Cities of Color: The New Racial Frontier in California’s Minority-Majority Cities” by Albert M. Camarillo, professor of history at Stanford University.

The evening began with a reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room and moved across the building a half-hour later for the presentation. While some people sat in seats either in rows or by tables, others had to stand in the back.

SMU’s Professor John Chavez introduced his colleague and friend Professor Camarillo, and also mentioned that Camarillo had written a book on ethnicity in the United States, for which he had written the forward.

Camarillo’s presentation detailed major demographic changes in three California cities: Compton, Seaside and East Palo Alto. Accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation with pie charts, graphs and tables to illustrate changes in every city, his lecture gave a look at the way population demographics have shifted over the years.

Rather than focusing on white-ethnic relations, Camarillo discussed the relationships among ethnic groups, specifically Latinos and African-Americans. One of the major problems between these two groups lies in a lack of cooperation. In cities where Latinos are the majority with political influence, African-Americans are shut out. The same goes in reverse: Where African-Americans have city council control, the Latinos feel held back.

Although race relations remain a very serious topic, Camarillo’s lecture was peppered with some comedic moments. At one point, he asked the audience, “If I say ‘Compton,’ what do you say?” The reply: “Dr. Dre.”

At the question-and-answer portion following the lecture, Camarillo mentioned commercials on public television that emphasizes pride in one’s heritage. After watching one of these commercials, his son, who was four years old at the time, proclaimed, “I’m proud to be Japanese-American,” of which Camarillo stated, “we had a long talk afterward.”

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