Oscar J. Mayorga

Ph.D.student in Sociology


Oscar J. Mayorga was born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami FL. He has worked in various capacities in higher education institutions for the last 15 years in the Northeast, where he was the Director of a Cross-Cultural Center and Chief Diversity Officer. When Oscar is not working, he enjoys family bike rides across Southern California with his partner and two young children.

Project Description

Oscar’s project will use novel textual analytical techniques to examine the discourse surrounding the various California immigration ballot initiatives between 1900 to 1999. We will be analyzing articles and editorials in Southern California Newspapers during that time period. There are two competing hypotheses: one is that immigration is racialized and can be understood within racial formation theory. The other is that immigration is framed as primarily an economic issue, subject to only locals’ concerns about the social ills associated with poverty. I hypothesize the economic language used in the immigration discourse does not represent the de-racialization of immigration discourse or the decline of extreme variants of nativism in Southern California, but rather shows an emergence of a new racial code or vocabulary for expressing many long standing and strong ethno-racial sentiments. This study will also provide a substantial methodological contribution. The project will use supervised textual machine learning to analyze hundred years of news articles, op-eds, letter to the editors and editorials.