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Our America

Triage

- By J. Malcolm Garcia

Some names have been changed for privacy

After Kabul fell to the Taliban, I knew I could do little for my friends and colleagues, Hamid, Faiz, and Aman. Various NGOs and veterans' groups organized Dunkirk-like efforts online to extract Afghans, and their staff insisted they could still help. Time and again these organizations asked me to complete immigration forms for them, the same forms I had already submitted at the behest of other groups. But now, more than two months after Kabul fell, I receive few encouraging messages; those that do come in have mostly devolved into chest thumping, rote insistence that “the mission will continue.” I hoped it would. Yet I have concluded that, despite their best efforts and through no...


Our America

A Shade of Recognition

- By Peter I. Rose

(Photo: A bus stop in San Juan, PR; CC BY-SA 4.0)

On NPR the other day there was a story about sunny, hot, and sticky Los Angeles and the utter lack of shade trees in Watts and other Black and Latino neighborhoods in contrast to their profusion in nearby Beverly Hills and other upscale areas. Hearing this report brought back a vivid memory of an experience I had in Puerto Rico sixty years ago.

A very junior professor of sociology and anthropology in my third or fourth year of teaching, I was thrilled to get a consulting gig with the Social Science section of the Department of Health in San Juan. My boss was to be Ed Suchman, a former teacher of mine for whom I had also worked when I...


Our America

How to Talk to Your Parents About Politics: Part 2

- By Dominique Fong

Photo Credit: Marcela McGreal, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Young Asian Americans describe how they’re coming to terms with political differences at the dinner table and in society

Tip #2: Understand the impact of traumas of the past

Johnny Trinh, a 23-year-old from Westminster, a southern Californian city with the country’s largest population of Vietnamese Americans, started to see how his parents' flight from the Vietnam War shaped who they are and made them cling to certain conservative messages. At first, he felt like they had no common ground, but over time, his criticism of their views softened. He became less quick to judge, and more eager to preserve what he could of...


Our America

How to Talk to Your Parents About Politics: Part 1

- By Dominique Fong

Photo Credit: Marcela McGreal, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Young Asian Americans describe how they’re coming to terms with political differences at the dinner table and in society

When Jamie Gee joined a Black Lives Matter protest last year, the crowd marched peacefully through downtown Oakland until it got to the city’s Chinatown district, where Gee saw some people smashing windows and spraying graffiti on the walls of Chinese businesses.

“That was upsetting,” Gee said. “I could see they were actively hurting my community.” Soon after the protest, Gee, a 34-year-old middle school teacher who is Chinese...


Our America

Are You Listening?

- By Avital Balwit

“Are you listening, NSA?” “Can you hear me  Mark Zuckerberg?” “Are you there Bezos?” At some point, these went from internet-era jokes to truisms, from mocking a conspiracy theory to acknowledging the status quo. While it may not be by these specific actors, most of us accept that we can be listened to—and sometimes are.

One particularly egregious example of this spying comes from the story of Project Pegasus. Over the past few months, a group of NGOs and investigative journalists broke the story that governments are using a powerful spyware called Pegasus to target activists,...


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