If you want to get a sense of the shifting racial demographics in the OC and the rest of the state then riding the bus is one way to do it and I've been doing it since I was 5 years old (1965).
In the 60's, out in the west end of Los Angeles County, the passengers on what few busses made it out that far and beyond, into San Bernardino and Riverside County, were all Caucasian.
In the 70's more and more passengers were African-American as those that could left the inner city of Los Angeles and headed for the suburbs and, in the 80's, beyond into the then boonies of the other 2 counties.
In the late 80's there was a mini-boomlet of Asians heading out that way.
In the 90's all that began to change and this has been reflected in Orange Countym as well, over the last decade.
Immigration, legal and illegal, of Spanish speaking folks from Mexico and points south began to be more than just a trickle until it has become a sort of flood according to some of the more interested parties concerned with the issue.
In the early 90's the usual pattern of those who could afford to leave the inner city for the suburbs doing so held true, but over the last decade immigration has played a big part in spreading predominantly Spanish speaking people all across the state.
There are some folks who are worried about California becoming Mexifornia, with the majority of the population becoming Spanish-only speakers and the whole state devolving into 3rd world status. They want to cut off Latin-Americans at the US border, until something can be done about those who are here, especially those here illegally.
There are folks who see that there is a pattern of Spanish speaking immigrants assimilating into American culture like 19th century European immigrants before them and want to see what can be done to encourage this process along faster than it's going.
I ride the busses, including here in Orange County, finding myself surrounded by folks speaking in a tongue other than English and I see the continuing White (and some Black) Flight and the frighting state-wide (and nationwide) decline in voter turn out for even school board elections, and wonder if the folks in the 1st group are 100% correct in their concerns.
The shift has also been shown by who has made and sold us our Big Macs and Jumbo Jacks over the last 30 years, and who work in our department stores.
I am finding myself, more and more, trying to make a purchase from folks I am having trouble communicating with because they either don't speak much English, or they don't speak it well.
In the work place, if you don't speak Spanish, you will increasingly find yourself surrounded with folks you can't communicate with and have little in common with.
Many of the folks stocking shelves at night, at places like TARGET and WALMART, are Spanish speaking.
How do I know this? When I worked the morning shift for Target, as a cashier for 2 years, they came off work and made purchases on my lane some having to write down their employee number for me to understand them when I try to give them their discount.
I often found myself in a break room where everyone but me is speaking Spanish.
At least my fellow cashiers were young people with an excellent grasp of English. These 20-somethings are assimilated to our country in ways their parents and many of their neighbors will never be.
They were nice, friendly, folks who I enjoyed working with.
We were trained to be fast, fun and friendly on our lanes and on the sales floor, but how can it be fun when being fast, and friendly is made difficult by the fact that guest, after guest, after guest, speaks fractured English, or no English at all and, on the lanes, you can't get their attention right away because they are so wrapped up in talking, in Spanish, to their friends and family gathered around them?
Then I see that there are those who have come here not to take advantage of the system but to get a better life for themselves and their family, and as time goes by, to assimilate themselves and future generations, into our vast melting pot by adding their cultural distinctiveness while at the same time learning English and learning to appreciate what being an American is supposed to be about, finding ways to participate in the Democratic Process of making their new neighborhood, city, county, state and nation the best that it can be.
While I agree that illegal immigration, and the strain it puts on our systems is a major, growing, problem that needs to be addressed punishing those trying to get here legally, as well, should not be part of the solution.
Despite appearances, and there ARE alot of appearances, Caucasian America is not made up of a Raciallly-biased majority of red-necks and the majority of African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos know this.
The trick continues be for all Americans to not let the race-baters and other agitaters among all our disparate groups define the debate and agenda the way they want it and for all of us to work together toward a better America for all.
In California and among many people, nationally, to think these thoughts and to say them openly is to be branded the enemy and worse.
Immigration issues are not new to our nation. they were prevelant in the 19th and early 20th century when mainly European (and some Asian in the West)) Immigrants flooded the nation, especially the East Coast.
My faith in America being able to assimilate its current flood of immigrants in the same way it did before will be tested sorely over the coming years.
All I see my fellows doing these days though is calling folks who disagree with their views names instead of sitting down to think up solutions.
No wonder people who are able are leaving California as soon as they can do so.