United States

America is not post-racial. Events in Charleston and Ferguson prove that. Events in Charleston and Ferguson scream “We need a new revolution.” And while that total overhaul—which must be social and cultural and educational and financial and political—must address race, it cannot be focused exclusively on race. (More…)

I’m not sure why I kept watching after Bill Clinton had finished his victory speech back in November, 1992. People don’t usually care what the future Vice President has to say. But something in Al Gore’s manner compelled me. Six minutes in I found out why: “It is, symbolically, an expression of the reality that sectional wounds of the past are finally and irrevocably healed.” (More…)

I don’t pretend to have answers. Not a single one. All I can do is offer some snapshots from my own life, moments that have made me question my whiteness, moments that have led me to check the “other” box. (More…)

First Iggy Azalea. Then Rachel Dolezal. Why are all these white girls playing black? Is it just for the currency? To advance their careers? Or does it point to some uncomfortable truths, something messy, something that is not easily categorized as a “black” or “white” issue? (More…)

Today is the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s arrival in New York Harbor. To celebrate, Google has offered up one of its “doodles”, in which a disproportionately huge rendering of the bronze lady dwarfs the ship that is bringing her to the United States. She appears to be tipping over, as if she were about to fall into the sea. It’s a strangely resonant image. (More…)

When most people visit the Washington D.C. area, they think of visiting the Smithsonian, or perhaps the White House or Pentagon. But when I met up with a friend on a recent trip there, we had our hearts set on an abandoned mental asylum. (More…)

In the mall adjacent to Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem, you’ll find this giant image of a hamburger — no cheese, naturally — branded as “Big America”. It’s hard to imagine a better visual allegory for the relationship between the United States and the embattled nation which receives so much of its annual giving, if that’s what you want to see. But the reality is more complicated. (More…)

Like many Americans, I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about David Letterman’s final shows. But it wasn’t until the past few days that I actually watched them “live”. Aside from sporting events, I almost never watch television in a traditional way anymore. So when I finally managed to tune into our local CBS affiliate at 10:30pm, it felt almost like time travel. (More…)

When my family moved to Maryland in the summer of 1979, I was only eleven years old. Yet I already knew enough American history to be intrigued by the prospect of living south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I had absorbed enough from family vacations to have a pretty clear sense of what that would have meant in a state like Georgia or South Carolina. Maryland, though, confused me. (More…)

Climate change is dominating the global news cycle as never before. With every catastrophic storm and highly unusual spate of weather, the possibility that we have irreparably destabilized the Earth’s delicate ecological balance looms larger. Even in the United States, where, despite — or perhaps because of — a comparatively high standard of living and learning, denial of this dire situation has been rampant, the tide is tuning. (More…)

Sometimes accidents of timing reveal what is no accident. The news media was preoccupied with two stories this past Monday: the letter that 47 Republican senators sent to Iranian leaders warning them that any agreement signed by the President might not outlast his term, and the outrage over footage of an Oklahoma fraternity singing a racist song that invoked lynching. (More…)

Ever since the midterm elections in the United States, not a day goes by without news of some new offensive by the Right on a “hard” target of the modern welfare state: labor unions, environmental protections and, most prominently, public education. To some, the pace and power of the attacks signal the dawn of a political age; to others, they simply represent another stage in the Reagan Revolution. (More…)