The Modesto Girls are a Family Miracle

How Five Sisters (and Their Brothers) Survived Childhood and Stuck Together in Stanislaus County

California changes too fast. The new so quickly replaces the old. People come and go with a blur. I often feel like you can’t count on anything staying here anymore.

But you can count on the Modesto Girls.

These five sisters—my first cousins, once removed—have never had glamorous jobs. They didn’t get fancy educations. Little in life has come easy to them.

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But they are always there when there’s work to be done, when my mom’s side of the family is in need, or just …

The 1992 Horror Film That Made a Monster Out of a Chicago Housing Project

In Candyman, the Notorious Cabrini-Green Complex Is Haunted by Urban Myths and Racial Paranoia

In the 1992 horror film Candyman, Helen, a white graduate student researching urban legends, is looking into the myth of a hook-handed apparition who is said to appear when his …

Why Poor Americans Are So Patriotic

Even in Hard Times, Pride in Country Offers Comfort, Security, and the Hope That Life Will Get Better

Why do the worst-off American citizens love their country so much?

Patriotism may be defined as a belief in the greatness, if not superiority, of one’s country relative to others. Depending …

The Ghetto’s Complex and Troubled Legacy

Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea

In 2017, we often hear the word “ghetto” come up in music lyrics and casual conversation, out of the mouths of politicians and activists. We know what it means; it …

Welcome to the Affluent Central Coast, California’s Child Poverty Capital

How the Rising Cost of Living and, Paradoxically, the Availability of Jobs Are Tough on Families

Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine-and-wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them.

And not just because Nicole Kidman has thrown her star power into producing …

How an Idyllic Italian Village Was Crippled by Family-Centrism

A Watershed Study Connects Nepotism to Poverty, Distrust, and Neglect of the Public Good

More than 60 years ago, an American family arrived in a seemingly idyllic town in Southern Italy. Stone buildings resembled “a white beehive against the top of a mountain.” Donkeys …