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Confusion And Hurt Still Linger On A CSU Campus After Racist Slurs Were Printed In A Student Newspaper

A Latina woman with brown hair, black-rimmed glasses, and a sleeve of tattoos on her right arm wears a black t-shirt that reads "CSUDH" in red letters with a yellow outline. She stands holding her left arm at her hip and looks outward toward right of frame as the sun shines on her face. Behind her, to the right of frame there's a large sign in red and yellow letters that reads "CSUDH." Palm trees can be seen out of focus in the background.
Elizabeth Corral at CSU Dominquez Hills.
(Ashley Balderrama
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Last fall, four words upended the entire journalism department at California State University, Dominguez Hill.

The staff of the school newspaper, The Bulletin, was preparing a special issue to honor Hispanic Heritage Month. Student journalists were busy writing, interviewing and designing the 12-page edition. They were excited.

A lot of eyes were on the project. There was a social media plan. It was a big deal for all involved.

How Could This Happen

Yet, when students workers, faculty and staff opened the online link to the publication that was set to hit campus the next day, many were horrified. They saw a cover full of words against a light blue background. Words like “Chicano/a”, “Boricua” and “Mixed,” but also four racist slurs that have been used over the decades to denigrate members of the larger Latino community.

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It wasn’t a mistake.

This list of words, including the slurs, was the plan for the cover.

As faculty and staff tried to uncover what happened, it soon became clear that none of the student journalists knew where those words came from — because they hadn’t designed the cover, or even seen it.

How could something like this happen? In a journalism department? At a school where almost 7 out of 10 students on campus identify as Latino or Hispanic?

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That question of “how” is something the whole campus has been wrestling with for months. Faculty, students, and the newspaper’s adviser spoke to my colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez about who knew what, and when, as well as the other big question: how to move forward, especially for students who say that their sense of belonging at the school was undermined by this unfortunate choice.

To understand how students and faculty are trying to address those questions, read Adolfo’s detailed story here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

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The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze 

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding. 

  • After this month’s storms, there is still a LOT of debris clogging up our dams. Like a lot. Like $225 million of clean up. Los Angeles County Public Works is concentrating on five of the reservoirs right now. Here’s why it matters
  • After the Monterey Park shooting, a lot of attention is being paid to the mental health of older members of the Asian American Pacific Islander Community, who may be unsure or unclear on how to seek help. My colleagues have pulled together some thoughts about how to reach out to loved ones who might in need. Also, Brian De Los Santos talks about these issues on the How to LA podcast. Sometimes all it takes is asking, “how are you?” 
  • Community colleges in Southern California are increasing the amount of attention they put on basic needs for students. Many colleges report that students sleep in their cars or struggle to find their next meal while balancing their studies. Jackie Orchard visited Long Beach City College to see what services are being offered on campus.
  • The Climate Action Campaign has released the Orange County Climate Action Plan Report Card and its not good. They scored climate policies from every Orange County city to grade their policies based on content, effectiveness, and implementation and determined its "decades behind" in terms of policy.
  • A missing hiker was found alive in the Mt. Baldy area, but there are still no signs of actor Julian Sands who was reported missing nearly two weeks ago after going on solo hike.
  • A pending California law that would have increased pay and improved working conditions for fast food workers in the state is now on hold. Challengers to the law gathered enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot in 2024.
  • The James Beard Foundation has just released its list of semi-finalists, and a slew of L.A. and OC-based chefs and restauranteurs have received plenty of love.
  • A new book draws from a broad range of research to explain the power of apologies, why we don't always get good ones, and the best way to tell someone you're sorry.
  • Longtime NBC4 sports anchor Fred Roggin talked to us about his decision to leave everyday TV work and what's next.
  • You might have seen news organizations twisting themselves a bit to describe Michelle Yeoh's place in Oscar history. While Yeoh is the first person known to be Asian to get a nomination as leading actress, back in the 1930s another nominee hid her heritage due to rampant discrimination at the time. Read Mike Roe's short history of Merle Oberon's career.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing!

Where To Find Peace And Quiet In The Middle Of The City

A sunlit stone bridge over a pond covered with lily pads
Huntington Gardens
(Steve Sharp
Unsplash )

I don’t know about you, but 2023 has already been a year! And we are still in January. Between the news and just life, it seems like we could all use a nice breather… and some space to just sloooooow down.

Luckily, we live in a city where there’s a whole bunch of natural beauty and places to find peace among the chaos in Los Angeles. My colleagues at the How to LA podcast went in search of some of these spots that I think you might want to check out:

  • The Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is in West Adams on the grounds of a gorgeous Italian Villa built back in the 1910s. It is truly an oasis in the middle of the city with a real labyrinth similar to the one at the Chartres Cathedral in France.
  • The Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is just off the ocean in the Pacific Palisades. There is a meditation garden (reservations required for parking) and a temple that’s open for Sunday services (no reservation required).
  • The Huntington in Pasadena has 16 themed gardens. You can walk and find a quiet corner in almost any spot. HTLA Brian De Los Santos recommends a visit to the Rose Garden and to find a bench on the grass and just sit with your thoughts. 

Our host Brian De Los Santos says he did find some peace just walking around these places. Take a listen to the podcast — there’s even a walking meditation tutorial at the end. Just hearing it might help you breathe a little easier.

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