South L.A. Is a Story of Both Segregation and Desegregation

Homeownership in the Area Has Been Gaining Since the 1990s, Even as Prosperous Residents Move Out

The first big change in South Los Angeles over the last half-century has been the shift of concentrated black communities westward into newer and better housing. The second big change is the replacement of those concentrated black communities, especially those near Central Avenue, by Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and other Latinos.

By 2010 this ethnic change in South L.A. had continued such that people of Mexican ethnicity outnumbered blacks everywhere east of Interstate 110, from Watts north to Interstate 10.

The two of us have long studied the ethnic quilt of Southern …

Life in Iran Is a Wistful Elegy for the Past

On a Trip Back to My Father’s Homeland, I Found a Country Made Generous by Its Sorrow

It was late April, and the snow had only just melted in Meygoon, a mountain town north of Tehran.

I had arrived in Iran the night before and was staying …

Tater Tot Hotdish, Minnesota Soul Food

My Home State’s Favorite No-Fuss Meal Is a Tribute to Its No-Nonsense Spirit

I am a Minnesota writer. I realized this only after my first book was published in 2009. One reader called it “a crash course in being Minnesotan.” Reviewers noted that …

Home Is Wherever There Is Peace

I Left Venezuela's Political Chaos and I Have Been Searching for an Escape Route Ever Since

Growing up in my hometown of Caracas, I wanted nothing more than to be seen as a sifrina. To be, in Venezuelan slang, counted among the rich kids—a spoiled, fashionable …

Longing for L.A.

How Nostalgia, Memory, and Jet Lag Connect Me to the City

I ran away from home at 14 years old. I didn’t grab a backpack and go sleep at a friend’s. I didn’t steal away in the middle of the night. …

Rio de Janeiro’s Violence Makes No Sense

A Journalist Grapples With Her City's Brutality

Every Wednesday, a farmers’ market sprung up in the cobblestoned square facing my Rio de Janeiro apartment. The clank and bang of vendors building makeshift stalls woke me up at …