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Illustration showing Asian Americans protesting, covid virus, anti-Asian hate on the streets, small businesses closing, portraying a tumultuous 2020.

The Conversation

Alexander Chee and Cathy Park Hong on how the pandemic has cracked open discrimination against Asian American communities

In the fall of 2019 I received an email from the poet and critic Cathy Park Hong telling me she had written an essay collection, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. She asked me to read it and consider it for a blurb. I receive roughly three or four requests…

As long as we focus on deaths and statistics, the bigger story of Covid-19 will go untold

OnOn Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Alex Goldstein, the founder of a Boston strategic-communications company, spent the entire day counting mail-in ballots for the Massachusetts presidential primary. He was locked into an unventilated, 20-by-20-foot room with 30 other volunteers, most of them elderly. …

The coronavirus has realigned the pleasure principle as we struggle between the need for desire and safety

Last March, while under New York’s strictest lockdown, I felt overwhelmed by before-times portrayals of lust, sensuality, and unencumbered joy. I’d have fleeting fantasies about flying to parts of the country where they were still having sweat-soaked orgies and raucous dinner parties. I watched movies like Call Me By Your…

The future of journalism is being written at America’s college newspapers

In November 2019, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to Northwestern University to make a speech he called “The Real Meaning of the Trump Agenda.” Sessions, who had been invited by the College Republicans, had been out of office for a year. …

Our conversations could be frustrating, but they also gave me hope. Was I a fool to think we were getting somewhere?

Three days after the 2016 election, I posted an invitation on Facebook. I was looking for Donald Trump voters who wanted to come over for dinner at my house, which is just a short walk from the White House in Washington, D.C. I wanted to understand why over 62 million…

The young Black mayor of Stockton, California, was a progressive superstar. Then a feisty local blog decided he had to go.

The plot against Michael Tubbs, the first Black mayor of Stockton, California, and the youngest person ever to run a major U.S. city, was conceived even before he took the oath of office, at the age of 26, on January 9, 2017.

The mayorship was not a job for the…

The lie at the heart of the Pham family ‘pass to freedom’

In August, my mother forwarded me an email. “Trump administration taps Vietnam refugee as new ICE chief,” it said. I opened it, and learned that my cousin, Tony Pham, had just been appointed to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Tony’s ascent to this position instilled great pride in…


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