The Pain of Surviving the San Fernando Valley Can Make You Powerful

In Two Memoirs, Activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Comedian-Actress Tiffany Haddish Reveal How ’90s L.A. Shaped Them

How can Californians rise from horrific local circumstances to national influence?

Two recent books offer one answer: It may help to have grown up amid the racism and institutional failures of Los Angeles in the 1990s.

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The two books are both popular and compelling memoirs from African-American women and Southern Californians now in their 30s. But the authors are very different people. One is the Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a deeply serious activist whose memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist, …

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Why America Keeps Battling to Live Up to the 14th Amendment

From Its Post-Civil War Origins to Today's Immigration Debates, the Constitutional Guarantee of Equal Protection and 'Birthright Citizenship' Has Been Bitterly Contested

The first clause of the 14th Amendment is a scant 28 words long. Yet when the amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, it advanced the crucial task of turning …

Here Are Two Voting Reforms That Could Counter America’s Hyperpolarization

When Used Together, 'Ranked Choice' and 'Top Two' Elections Would Strengthen Major Parties and Favor Moderate Politicians

Political polarization has spread across the globe. The ensuing ideological purity might make each warring faction appear stronger, but in reality, hyperpolarization weakens parties by making them less appealing to …

When Racist Language Spreads, Immigrants Suffer—and the Social Fabric Frays

The Recurring Backlash Against U.S. Newcomers Triggers Threats to Health, Safety, and the Rule of Law

If immigrant children are exposed to racist hate speech, how will it affect their mental and physical health? If elected officials indulge in immigrant-bashing rhetoric, could they embolden white supremacists …

How the Know Nothing Party Turned Nativism into a Political Strategy

In the 1840s and '50s, Secretive Anti-Immigrant Societies Played on National Fears Fed by the Spread of Slavery

Though the United States is a nation built by immigrants, nativism—the fear of immigrants and the desire to restrict their entry into the country or curtail their rights (or both)—has …