Can Los Angeles Elect a City Council That Reflects Our Values?

It's Hard to Legislate Decency—But Changing Demographics and New Technologies Require New Ethics and Rules

Politics is full of high-stakes battles and strategies concocted behind closed doors. But that’s no excuse for the level of venality, toxicity, self-aggrandizement, condescension, hubris, and racism exposed in the leaked recording on redistricting that recently shook the Los Angeles City Council.

Nothing about the conversation—in which councilmembers Gilbert Cedillo and Kevin de León listened quietly as then-council president Nury Martinez spewed hate—was blatantly illegal. But it was shocking. It revealed deep hypocrisy among leaders who, in a public setting, would be the first to claim that they condemn racism and …

How Mahjong Laid Tiles for Chinese America | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Mahjong Laid Tiles for Chinese America

The Popular Game Helped Forge a New Identity as it Crossed Classes, Genders, and Generations

The rumble of shuffling mahjong tiles filled the air in Chinatowns across the United States in the 1920s. Before even seeing the game, you could hear it being played in …

Does America Really Want to Be a Nation of Immigrants? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Journalist Jia Lynn Yang Wins the 11th Annual Zócalo Book Prize

One Mighty and Irresistible Tide Challenges the Well-Worn American Immigration Narrative

Jia Lynn Yang, national editor at the New York Times, is the winner of the 11th annual Zócalo Book Prize for her debut book, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic …

The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

By Repackaging the Myths of the Tragic Octoroon and the Self-Made Woman, Lulu White Crafted a Persona That Haunts Beyoncé's "Formation"

In 2016, music and pop-culture idol Beyoncé released the album Lemonade to rapturous reviews. As a historian of New Orleans, I was especially intrigued by the video for one of …

Why the Enigmatic ‘Turks’ of South Carolina Still Struggle to Belong in America

For Generations, a Mysterious Ethnic Group Was Shunned, but New Research Sheds Light on Its Revolutionary War Origins

Sumter County is located in South Carolina’s midlands, about an hour and a half from the Atlantic coastline in one direction and from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the other. …