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February 04 2014


‘Tiger Mom’ Talks Culture And Success In America

“Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, back, this time with her take – an explosive look — at what makes some ethnic and cultural groups successful in America.

Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld are both professors of law at Yale University Law School. They are also the authors of

Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, are both professors of law at Yale University Law School. They are also the authors of “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.” (Penguin Press)


Amy Chua, co-author of “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups In America.” Also author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” Professor of law at Yale Law School. (@amychua)

Jed Rubenfeld, co-author of “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups In America.” Also author of “Freedom and Time“ and “Revolution by Judiciary: The Structure of American Constitutional Law.”

Richard Alba, professor of sociology at the Graduate Center at City University of New York. Author of “Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America” and “Remaking the American Mainstream Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration.”

From Tom’s Reading List

TIME: The ‘Tiger Mom’ Superiority Complex – “A new strain of racial, ethnic and cultural reductivism has crept into the American psyche and public discourse. Whereas making sweeping observations about, say, African-American or Hispanic culture–flattering or unflattering–remains unthinkable in polite company, it has become relatively normal in the past 10 years to comment on the supposed cultural superiority of various ‘model minorities.’ I call it the new racism–and I take it rather personally.”

New York Times Magazine: Confessions of a Tiger Couple — “The book is a work of Gladwellian sociology that enters the same cultural minefield as ‘Battle Hymn.’ Looking at minorities like Mormons, Nigerian immigrants, Asian-Americans and Jews, among others, Chua and Rubenfeld contend that successful groups share three traits: a superiority complex, feelings of insecurity and impulse control. America, they conclude, used to be a ‘triple-package culture’ before it succumbed to ‘instant-gratification disorder.”

The Jewish Week: Good And Bad News On Jewish Push For Success – “While anyone can possess these traits, their research suggests that some groups are instilling them more frequently than others and with greater success: every one of America’s most successful groups believes that there is something exceptional about their group; being an outsider has been a source of insecurity evident in all of America’s most successful rising groups; and contemporary American parenting is focused on ‘feeling good and living in the moment,’ while every one of America’s most successful rising groups has inculcated disciplined habits into their children. ”

Read An Excerpt Of “The Triple Package” By Amy Chua And Jed Rubenfeld

February 03 2014


Shedding Light On Forced Marriage In America

Forced marriage in America. Muslim. Hindu. Jewish. More. A big new exposé tells the story. We’ll hear it.

Vadya Sri tells the story of her forced marriage, which happened more than 25 years ago. (Courtesy Sarah Fournier)

Vadya Sri tells the story of her forced marriage, which happened more than 25 years ago. (Courtesy Sarah Fournier)


Alyana Alfaro, co-author of an Al Jazeera America four-part series on forced marriage in America. (@AlyanaAlfaro)

Vidya Sri, fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Founder of GangaShakti, a support and research organization for women in forced marriages.

Fraidy Reiss, founder and executive director of Unchained at Last, an organization dedicated to helping women avoid and leave forced marriages. (@thefraidycat)

From Tom’s Reading List

Al Jazeera America: Till death do us part: The forgotten US victims of forced marriage — “For those who might think that forced marriage isn’t much of an issue in the U.S., a host of organizations, scholars and victims beg to differ. A constellation of factors — from cultural misunderstandings to lack of legislation — keeps the issue in the shadows here, although activists are hoping that a growing awareness in Europe will bring changes in the U.S. as well.”

Salon: Can a spoon end forced marriage? — “Last year, the U.K. Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit received its largest cluster of complaints — 400 of them —  between the months of June and August. It’s estimated that anywhere between 1,500 and 5,000 girls in the UK are forced into marriage every year – and up to a third of them are under age 16. And girls trapped into marriage and motherhood are girls who are being abused, period.”

Columbia Journalism Review: How I got that story – “ I’m French and my grandmother was in the Jewish community in France, and got into sort of an arranged marriage—but she didn’t really have the choice to say no. She wasn’t threatened or anything, or what we describe in the article, but it’s a slippery slope…It was weird for me to think about the fact that my grandparents and my mother and me wouldn’t exist without that marriage.”

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December 05 2013


Richard Rodriguez On Modern Spiritual Identity

Mexican-American essayist and big thinker Richard Rodriguez joins us on identity, immigration and the human spirit.


Richard Rodriguez, essayist, journalist and author of “Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography.” Also author of “Brown: The Last Discovery of America,” “Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father” and “Hunger Of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez.”

Rudy Lopez, community activist and senior organizer with F.I.R.M., the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

From Tom’s Reading List

PBS: Writer Richard Rodriguez introduces readers to ‘seasons of belief and doubt’ — “My religious tradition has always accepted doubt as part of the procedure of believing in God. And I think that becomes a kind of a protection against extremism. But religion is under assault right now from various places. There’s something called a new atheism in the air that is coming into the country. And it has a dogmatism to it that doesn’t quite understand that religion itself has within it disbelief, that there isn’t a religious life of, what shall I say, seasons of belief and doubt.”

New America Media: When Love Prevails – Latino Families at the Center of Immigrant and LGBT Rights — “The political act of coming out has also propelled support for comprehensive immigration reform. Dreamers and other immigrants have inspired a movement by coming out as undocumented. Their courage has inspired others to fight deportations of family, friends, and entire communities.”

Boston Globe: ‘Darling’ by Richard Rodriguez – “Despite its opening epiphany, this is not a political work — Rodriguez proposes no solutions (though he takes stern swipes at atheism, including that of fellow public intellectuals like the late Christopher Hitchens). Rather, he offers an efflorescence of subtle questions that may be more useful than the blunt ones that dominate today’s media and public conversation.”

Read An Excerpt From “Darling” By Richard Rodriguez

November 15 2013


August 21 2013


Vote Compass: Asylum seeker policy splits ALP supporters - RN Drive - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Labor voters are torn on the issue of asylum seekers, with nearly half unhappy with Kevin Rudd's vow to stop any asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat from settling here. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/vote-compass3a-asylum-seeker-policy-splits-labor-supporters/4903080

May 12 2013


Epstein on Immigration

Some observations about immigration, with suitable caveats on a moving target

July 15 2011


October 15 2010


The Storyteller: Leslie Marmon Silko

Native American novelist Leslie Marmon Silko on the power of nature, family, and story, in her new memoir "The Turquoise Ledge."

September 02 2010


Hellbound Alleee Show 140: Jury Duty

Francois and I return after 13 months to relate a story about my almost serving on a Federal Immigration case, and Francois pontificates.

July 30 2010


Arizona’s Immigration Law: The Legal Road Ahead

The legal road ahead for Arizona’s immigration law. We look at the appeals and the arguments to come.

July 01 2010


Jocelyn' Story | American Friends Service Committee

16-year-old Jocelyn recounts the last day she saw her mother and how her family's life has changed since the deportation.
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