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'The Browning of America'

PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Ray Suarez discusses immigration’s effect on the population

By Zarrin Ahmed
On March 26, 2013

  • Ray Suarez, a senior correspondent for the PBS news program ‘NewsHour,’ gave a lecture yesterday in the Student Union Theater called ‘The Browning of America,’ about the shifting demographics of the country as the effects of immigration become visibly apparent. Zarrin Ahmed/The Daily Campus


The PBS NewsHour's Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez, formerly from NPR, spoke of current immigration outlooks and issues in his lecture titled "The Browning of America" at the Student Union Theater Tuesday afternoon. 

"The social map is being redrawn in our lives and we're lucky enough to watch it," said Suarez as he dove into a detailed explanation into the one-sided view of immigration, current social and ethnic changes in America and ideas about the future of America culturally and ethnically. 

Suarez is the author of two books, has contributed to numerous others, hosts foreign broadcasts and had previously been the host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation." He is currently the lead correspondent for The NewsHour's global health coverage, reporting on some of the world's most threatening and little-known health crises from Africa, Latin American and Asia.

At the beginning of the program, Director of PRLACC Fany Hannon welcomed the audience. She was followed by Jennifer Morenus, the Assistant Director of PRLACC, who introduced Suarez. 

Suarez began the event by explaining an aspect of immigration and America that is widely unacknowledged, and that's the fact that America was a result of contending cultures and multiple empires, not just the British, French and Spanish. There was Spanish influence in America long before what we considered the "first towns" were built. St Augustine in Florida was built in 1665 and until 1841, it stayed under the Spanish control. Suarez showed the crowd how immigration is something that is constantly being transferred and is a two way street  - not only do immigrants affect America, but immigrants are affected by America as well. 

Suarez demonstrated how changes are already underway and that there are an increasing number of Americans who trace their ancestry back to the Spanish. He supported his claims with culturally specific statistics about things like language and education - places where racial lines are drawn. He verbally produced timelines of events and factors that went into shaping the immigration of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Africans. 

After the lecture, the floor was open to a question and answer session in which audience members were allowed to walk up to two microphones and ask questions. Rebecca Washington, a sixth semester Urban and Community Studies and Geography double major, went to the event to learn more about different cultures and see the similarities and differences in ethnic histories. 

"Looking at it historically and geographically, it was very interesting," she said. "He was very knowledgeable. He answered my question quickly and even though he went off an a tangent he explained a lot more."

PRLACC hosted a reception afterwards where all were welcome to take refreshments and have a chance to talk to Suarez.

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