NovoMetro

Education in Oakland

Oakland’s Detroit Complex

Posted by novometro on October 9, 2006

As the Oakland Athletics take on the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series that begins Tuesday, we can count on at least one offering from the sports commentariat that compares and contrasts the two cities. We already know the adjectives to expect: Gritty, working-class, overshadowed, etc. Race will be an unvoiced subtext. But apart from a black population above the national average, Oakland and Detroit have little in common. Detroit is at the epicenter of the American automobile industry’s slow-motion implosion and has lost 51,000 residents between 2000 and 2005. No one argues that. Oakland’s population is a matter of debate.

Fortunately, we have an alternative to the social commentary coming from the press box at the Coliseum this week. The American Studies Association hosts its annual conference in Oakland, October 12-15. With the title of “The United States from Inside and Out: Transnational American Studies,” race will not be under the surface.

On Saturday, just when the A’s will be (God willing) preparing to sweep the Tigers in Detroit in game four, the ASA will host a panel called “Visualizing Oakland and Bay Area Communities: Art, History, and New Immigration.” Here is the description from the ASA: The current demographics of the city of Oakland illuminate the wide range and complex racial and ethnic diversity of the United States in the new millennium. According to the U.S. Census 2000, whites comprise approximately 31% of Oakland’s population, African Americans 35%, Asians 15%, Latinos 21%, and Pacific Islanders 0.5%. This panel will provide an important visual corrective to the traditionally binary black and white ways race has been imagined in Oakland through an exhibit-format panel that brings together visual work on Chinese, Iranian, Latino, African, and Tongan American communities that have not shared a common space. In contrast to the traditional one-at-a-time group-by-group exhibit approach, this panel will provide a space for exploring the relation of these communities to one another.

Here’s another interesting panel to check out on Thursday. It looks at labor in the East Bay.

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2 Responses to “Oakland’s Detroit Complex”

  1. Here’s a link an Oakland-Detroit comparison article from the Detroit Daily News.

  2. […] Thanks to Oakland Native for directing us to this story from the Detroit Daily News, which did just what we’d predicted. They even have gritty in the lead.. […]

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