What Quinceañeras Can Teach Adults—as Well as Young Girls—About Values

The Latin American 15th-Birthday Ritual Symbolizes a Generational Transfer of Power

I became interested in the quinceañera a few years ago when a publisher commissioned me to write a book for a series focusing on cultural phenomenon within different ethnic and racial communities. For Latinos, the editors had selected the quinceañera.

With all the hefty issues affecting us (immigration reform, education equity, the fate of DREAMers, the increasing incarceration of Latino youth), I couldn’t believe they’d choose such a Latino-lite topic as the made-in-the-USA quinceañera! Struggling immigrant families were “throwing the house out the window” with expenditures way beyond their …

More In: race

The Golden State’s Unpopular Pro-Slavery Governor

The First American Executive of California Was a Pioneering Man of the West—and the South

Peter Hardeman Burnett had probably the most impressive list of achievements of any leader in the early American West. He served on the supreme court of the Oregon Territory and …

How UCLA Helped Break the Color Barrier in College Athletics

Jackie Robinson and Tom Bradley Were Among Sports Stars Who Proved That Integration Made Schools More Competitive

The arrival of five athletes, all African American, on the UCLA campus in the late 1930s would prove to be a moment of destiny, not just for college sports but …

The Runner Who Helped Irish Americans Lose Their Hyphen

"Bricklayer Bill" Kennedy Won the 1917 Boston Marathon Wrapped in the U.S. Flag

When I was a kid, my Dad would take me to Heartbreak Hill, rain or shine, to watch the Boston Marathon. For our family, the race held special meaning, because …

The Myth of a “Lost White Tribe” That Created a Global Racial Caste System

Pseudo-Scientific Theories About a "Perfect" Race Still Drive Ethnic Violence Today

18th-century German anatomist Johann Blumenbach kept a collection of 250 human skulls, but he found one skull particularly enchanting. “My beautiful typical head of a young Georgian female,” he wrote, …

What Grandaddy Taught Me About Race in America

From Little Rock to L.A., Learning to See Colors Beyond Black and White

I lived most of my childhood convinced that my grandfather, Calvin Muldrow, was Superman. On summer evenings, I’d perch atop his knee as we sat on the creaky back …