CHICAGO -- When I was in college, my roommate and I would together drive the six hours to our southern Illinois campus the day before the spring semester started. Our tradition was that, while my friend took a turn driving, I would read aloud Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, which was printed in our local newspaper annually on ...Read more
CHICAGO -- For many years, well before Donald Trump was elected, immigration hawks complained about the practice of so-called "catch and release."
These observers just couldn't understand how migrants who were caught living illegally in the country, or attempting to enter, weren't just bounced back to their country of origin right away instead ...Read more
CHICAGO -- My son, his best friend, Dave, and I were chatting over a pizza last weekend when Dave dropped some (absolutely incorrect) information: The elderly are forgoing nursing homes for cruise ships, because the room and board cost about the same, plus you get entertainment and travel.
Again -- this is not a real phenomenon. A few healthy, ...Read more
CHICAGO -- A fellow journalist friend recently posted photos of Julián Castro from last summer, showing the former presidential candidate in the wee hours of the morning after a long day on the campaign trail in Michigan.
There Castro was: still crisp in his suit, sitting ever-so-properly while chowing on a famed Coney Dog.
Oh Julián ... he ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Ugh -- I know I'm such a downer all the time. So much policy, so many research reports and data-data-data about the most powerless people in society.
Then every New Year, I tell about how to be kinder, smarter, more active and less dependent on your digital devices -- all wonderful life goals that require time and energy.
CHICAGO -- For many, this week will be chock-full of family dinners, making it a perfect time to talk about why they're great for bringing people together -- but not a silver bullet for ensuring children's academic success.
Family dinners are the stuff of legend. Throughout history, countless brilliant minds have credited their enhanced ...Read more
CHICAGO -- For the uninitiated, it will come as a bit of a surprise that the familiar pronoun "they" has been named Merriam-Webster's word of the year.
No longer just another form of "them," which we use to refer to two or more people, "they" has been crowned the official nonbinary pronoun of the English language.
Basically, it's the word you'...Read more
CHICAGO -- I read so many books in 2019 that I had a miserably hard time trying to decide which ones to include in my "favorites" list this year.
Usually, I present a roster of books that are diverse, but not specifically about diversity -- books that blur our differences while sharpening the issues that affect us all, regardless of our race, ...Read more
CHICAGO -- The newly signed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has one claim to fame: It's bipartisan legislation that was passed while the president is facing impeachment.
Aside from that, the tepid legislation's biggest historical accomplishment might only be not getting constantly referred to as "NAFTA 2.0" -- if, in fact, it can get away ...Read more
CHICAGO -- The beauty of being human is that you can hold two seemingly opposite positions in your heart at the same time.
Our fragmented, partisan society -- in the era of cable news and social media -- isn't good at portraying this reality, especially when it comes to religious or political issues.
But people who pursue a spiritual practice ...Read more
CHICAGO -- In May 2018, 26 female professors signed an open letter to the media asking that coverage of a celebrated Latino author's #MeToo scandal be treated with restraint and fairness. They did so not because they doubted the veracity of the allegations, but because his characterization as a sexual predator would add to the degrading and ...Read more
CHICAGO -- There are a few key milestones in the first semester of a college freshman's life: the first few days away, especially if they're on a far-off campus; the first big paper to write; the first big exam. Teary calls home or anguished texts may come in the night, along with family and friends' reassurances that all will be well.
Then ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Words alone can't convey the disgust and outrage I feel over the Trump administration's cruel and careless treatment of migrants and refugees at the border.
In the spring of 2018, President Trump asked his top immigration and homeland security officials to end the so-called "catch and release" practice. He did this even though the ...Read more
CHICAGO -- We are surrounded by grief, fear and strife, yet for about a week or so each year, we're scolded for not being thankful enough. Sadly, gratitude has become yet another corporatized platitude designed to tug the heartstrings and open the wallet.
The command to show appreciation can be purchased on pillows, mugs, mouse pads and candle ...Read more
CHICAGO -- The mainstream media has two settings when it comes to Latino voters: "The Sleeping Giant will determine the next president!" and "A confounding mystery endures: Latino voters don't turn out to vote, but why?!"
A primer: There is no such thing as a "Latino community." Latino voters are diverse -- from many different countries and ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Steel yourself -- the book "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration" is infuriating, heart-wrenching reading.
New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear set up their book's narrative by cataloging the administration's disjointed efforts to fulfill contradictory campaign promises. President Trump ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Parents are constantly told that reading to their children will instill vital communication skills and that modeling engaged reading will set their kids on a course to becoming bookworms.
It doesn't matter how much you adore books, how many hours you spend enjoying the 998th read-aloud of "Go, Dog. Go!" or how many tomes...Read more
CHICAGO -- A recent column in which I asked readers to do some introspection about their own racial beliefs spurred many infuriated emails.
Some people took offense at my implication that a white person who feels strongly that his or her race is being discriminated against might be likelier, among other things, to wear a MAGA hat.
Why is it so...Read more
CHICAGO -- Though some people proudly think of America as a nation of immigrants, many forget that the pilgrims on the Mayflower were immigrants, too. And, of course, waves of immigrants have been arriving on the shores of the United States for so long that social science has more than a century of hard, statistical data about them.
The factoid...Read more
CHICAGO -- A recent Pew Research Center survey on perceived discrimination in America seems to confirm what some already believe is gospel: There is a disturbing and gaping divide between Republicans and Democrats on race.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents agreed that there is "a lot/some" ...Read more