the American mind strives to figure out the world by taking it apart and examining its pieces. Show a Japanese and an American the same cartoon of an aquarium, and the American will remember details mostly about the moving fish while the Japanese observer will likely later be able to describe the seaweed, the bubbles, and other objects in the background. Shown another way, in a different test analytic Americans will do better on something called the “rod and frame” task, where one has to judge whether a line is vertical even though the frame around it is skewed. Americans see the line as apart from the frame, just as they see themselves as apart from the group.
On a human tip I’m trying to tell the truth. One of the things that writers who happen to be male do is not tell the truth [about women characters]. I’m not saying I’m 100 percent successful at it but I do it fairly well. Female characters are often portrayed as super pitiful, super sexual, or super strong. I wanted to make a space for the women in my work to be all of those things and to be regretful. The women in my family taught me how to be empathetic, but also they also taught me how to fight. They’re incredibly committed to their understanding of God, but they’re also regretful, and not just about mistakes that involve men. One thing I haven’t been able to do as a writer is to express the character of black women my age. I have a hard time writing those characters [honestly]. Those characters hardly ever have any flaws or they’re too flawed. But I’ll write myself out of it, just like any sort of problem. I’m working on it.
Inspiring fear in criminals by targeting anyone who shares their racial background was the sometimes unstated subtext of stop-and-frisk, and the reason why many support racial and ethnic profiling from street crime to the war on terror. It’s also why stop-and-frisk was so clearly unconstitutional. “The goal of deterring crime is laudable,” Scheindlin wrote, “but this method is unconstitutional.” Defenders of stop-and-frisk seemed to know that from the beginning. They just hoped that if they could convince people it worked, it wouldn’t matter.
They believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of dead-end jobs is a college degree. But over and over again, I heard stories of bewilderment and betrayal. They lack the skills and knowledge they need to navigate an increasingly complex, costly, and competitive higher-education system. Whether confused about majors, stymied by bureaucracy, crippled by loan debt, or left feeling like they don’t belong, working-class men and women have come to see their relationship with college as a broken social contract. As they see it, they bought into the promise of higher education but got nothing but disappointment and loss in return.

You wanna know what it was like as a kid eating tacos? If I took tacos to school, everyone would say shame on you. There was a lot of shame eating a taco back then. You had to hide them. You couldn’t eat them in front of nobody. And this was among a school that was 80 to 90 percent Anglo and very few Mexicans. So I had to hide my food. But now, 80 to 90 percent of Anglos eat tacos! I would say 80 to 90 percent of my customers are Anglo. And they eat tacos like they’ve never had anything before in their life! So things have changed. I think to myself, I remember a time when I would get made fun of. And now everybody’s eating tacos. It’s not just Mexicans anymore.— Robert Vasquez, Tamale House Airport Boulevard