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Becoming an American citizen in the age of Trump

Namwali Serpell, associate professor of English | September 25, 2017

“I feel proud to be a U.S. citizen at a time like this. And I feel ashamed to be a U.S. citizen at a time like this. This ambivalence, I have come to realize, is the most American thing about me.”

GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal ACA worst one yet for California

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | September 20, 2017

Co-authored by Laurel Lucia, Ian Perry and Ken Jacobs; crossposted from the blog of the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Once again, Congress is considering a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major cuts to Medicaid. Next week, the Senate may vote on this latest repeal effort, led by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham … Continue reading »

On speech and belonging

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | September 18, 2017

Today and in the upcoming weeks there are those scheduled to make appearances on our campus who are not coming here for dialogue. These speakers are not using their right to speak merely to communicate, they are using speech carefully crafted to harm, to demonize, to disparage, to create a sense of fear about anyone they deem Other. … Continue reading »

The Great Wall of UC Berkeley vs. Baby Face Shapiro

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor |

The UC administration has gone AWOL, deserting their posts and responsibilities as leaders of one of the world’s finest public universities. The current threat is Baby Face Ben Shapiro, a smart aleck, wisecracking, racist, sexist, misogynist, Islamaphobic, bully to be sure. The little bully right-wing prodigy argues that transgender people are delusional and suffering from … Continue reading »

Trump swings a wrecking ball at U.S.-Asia relations

T.J. Pempel, professor of political science | September 13, 2017

Few analysts in the United States or East Asia anticipated the speed with which the Trump administration would swing a wrecking ball into the complex and longstanding machinery of the United States’ relations with the Asia Pacific. Yet in its first six months, it is well on its way to eviscerating many of the most … Continue reading »

The false media focus on violence: If it bleeds it still leads

Jen Schradie, research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | September 7, 2017

On Sunday, August 27, in downtown Berkeley, I witnessed thousands of protesters raising their voices against a planned white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” rally. In my decades as a documentary filmmaker of activism and now an academic studying movements and media, it was one of the most positive, diverse and unifying gatherings I ever experienced. While … Continue reading »

Canada should welcome America’s ‘dreamers’

Irene Bloemraad, professor of sociology | August 29, 2017

By Irene Bloemraad and Ratna Omidvar This commentary is reposted from The Globe and Mail in Canada, where it originally appeared in February 2017. We are now witnessing the casualties of new United States policies arriving at Canadian borders. More might soon follow as those who lack residence documents face a grim future and the … Continue reading »

On sexism in economics

Emily Eisner, eeisner | August 24, 2017

An undergraduate honors thesis written by UC Berkeley economics major Alice Wu exposes the rampant misogyny cluttering Economics Job Market Rumors, an anonymous forum.

What’s going on?

Charles Henry, professor emeritus, African American studies | August 21, 2017

Brother, brother, brother, We don’t need to escalate, War is not the answer, Only love can conquer hate, I know we’ve got to find a way, To bring some lovin’ here today, What’s going on. Yesterday a church choir in Oakland sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” as a part of the church service. It … Continue reading »

On statues, and what can and cannot be said

Andrew Shanken, professor of architecture | August 18, 2017

I’ve been loath to write about what’s happening with Confederate statues, but a few sleepless nights cured my diffidence. As an architectural historian who works on memorials and has dabbled in the history of historic preservation, I’ve vacillated over the years between a Ruskinian position (“let it moulder”) and a Rieglian position, trying to establish … Continue reading »

What can be done about hate speech?

Erwin Chemerinsky, Berkeley Law dean |

The tragic events in Charlottesville again raise the question of why expressions of hate should be tolerated and deemed protected by the First Amendment. Most European nations do not allow hate speech, such as the vile white supremacist, racist and anti-Semitic speech that occurred last week in Virginia. Would we be better off as a … Continue reading »

Hate and hurt in America: On Charlottesville

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | August 14, 2017

Like many people, I am deeply bothered by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. I give my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to those who went to Charlottesville to stand up for decency, fairness, and equality, and who put their beliefs on the line against hate. I apologize to Heather Heyer’s family that we as … Continue reading »

Bipartisan health care reform could be a winner

Ben Handel, assistant professor of economics | August 9, 2017

Most of the discussion surrounding U.S. health care reform in 2017 has focused on efforts to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. These efforts have been unilateral, supported only by some Republicans and opposed by nearly all Democrats. With the apparent recent failure of this legislation, there has been some talk of … Continue reading »

Whispering past the graveyard: Confronting Iran

Mahmood Monshipouri, visiting associate professor, Middle Eastern Studies | August 3, 2017

Why is the United States edging closer to a military confrontation with Iran? The Trump administration appears to be contemplating such a scenario, while embarking on a dicey enterprise with little or no understanding of the possible consequences. Regardless of how we understand and interpret the rhetoric of regime change coming out of the Trump … Continue reading »

Trump, Kim Jong Un: 2 scorpions in a bottle

T.J. Pempel, professor of political science | August 1, 2017

Last Friday, North Korea launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile in July, its 14th for the year. Together with North Korea’s expanding nuclear stockpile, such tests demonstrate the regime’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is nearing his goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the continental United States. When combined with Kim’s popular image as even less rational and more unpredictable than President Trump, the obvious question for Californians is: How worried should we be?

Police shootings: How many more must perish before we see justice?

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, assistant professor of history | July 27, 2017

One year to the day that Dylann Roof murdered nine African Americans in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a jury exonerated Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile. In African American communities around the country, few individuals were surprised at the verdict. More than anything, individuals expressed deeper sorrow and intensified disappointment because, once again, many of us held out hope that the justice system would hold the man who killed another human being accountable.

Trump and race

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | July 21, 2017

Many months after the election of Donald Trump, new data and research findings continue to provide fresh light on that critical historical moment. The main strand of this research is a search to understand who voted for each candidate, and what motivated their vote. The results are not entirely intuitive, increasingly complex, and, as pundits … Continue reading »

Senate Republicans’ health bill especially hurts the lowest-income Californians

Laurel Lucia, Labor Center Health Care Program director | June 22, 2017

Co-authored by Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center The health bill released by Senate Republicans today would be devastating to low-income Californians and their access to health coverage. While the proposed Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is largely similar to the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House … Continue reading »

Do your homework before you apply FOIA

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics |

When I arrived in Berkeley in the 1973, the biggest show in town was the Watergate hearing. I admired the brilliant journalists uncovering the Watergate cover-up, and it led me to further admire America. I also learned that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is essential in sustaining the capabilities of free press. But, as … Continue reading »