Ever since I first read Dreams From My Father, I’ve been struck by similarities between my family and the one that Barack Obama grew up in. As I read about the too-short life of Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, I couldn’t help wondering whether, if she had made a few different choices, she might have had a personal and family life that turned out more like my wife’s and mine.
When I was growing up, it was legal for 18 year olds to drink alcohol, but you had to be 21 to vote. Now, in a triumph of social engineering, it is legal for 18 year olds to vote, but you have to be 21 to drink. It took years of debate involving many layers of government to achieve these changes. Why was so much effort necessary to produce this result?
Both chambers of the General Assembly of Uruguay have passed legislation legalizing marijuana, and the president is expected to sign the bill soon. This will make Uruguay the first country to make marijuana legal. What does this mean for drug policy in the United States and the rest of the world?
Telling Silences: A Doctor’s Tales of Denial by Hillel Halkin M.D. is a book of invitingly-written clinical stories of patients in denial. The stories describe people whose symptoms are dramatic, who don’t tell loved ones or physicians about them, and who “forget” serious diagnoses, sometimes repeatedly.
Judge Shira A. Scheindlin’s ruling that New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional has been viewed as a blow against racial discrimination. Clearly, the targets of the policy are disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos. But are Latinos a race?
After graduating from college decades ago, I took my meager savings and went off to Paris. I wandered all over the city, and happened on a Jewish district with a lot of ethnic restaurants. I looked over the menus and was surprised that, where I expected to see pastrami, I found couscous instead.
George Zimmerman has been described as white, a white Hispanic, and mixed race—but what race is he really? Discussions of race in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case have focused on issues of prejudice and stereotypes, but have generally ignored Americans’ confusion about the concept of race.
In the mid-1970s, while I was a visiting professor in Brazil, I supervised research studying the psychological development (cognitive, emotional, and motoric) of Thalidomide adolescents and preadolescents in the state of São Paulo. So you can imagine how upset I was to discover from the BBC News Magazine that the drug is once again causing birth defects in Brazil.
The New York Times “Invitation to a Dialogue: The Myth of ‘Race’,” (coincidentally the title of my recent book) concerned the assertion that the human species has no biological races, and that the race concept has a long history of being used in the service of social injustice. Unfortunately, the published Dialogue ignored cultural differences in the race concept.
Whole, by the author of The China Study, discusses nutritional evidence for a whole food plant-based diet, holism versus reductionism as scientific strategies, and problems confronted by researchers who challenge dominant research paradigms.
People often use the words envy and jealousy interchangeably, but there are important differences between them. Attempts to understand these two emotions usually focus on the ways they are experienced; but there is another way of looking at them that leads to unexpected insights.
In the wake of marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington, the University of Oregon School of Law recently hosted a drug policy symposium. Many legislators attended; and there was a feeling among the participants that Oregon could well be the next state to take similar action.
The debate over New York City’s 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks has contrasted the need to combat the obesity epidemic with the need to protect individual rights. The regulation raises the same kinds of issues as the debate over legalizing marijuana and downsizing or ending the War on Drugs.
Many people argue as follows, “How can you say that the human species has no biological races, when blacks get sickle cell anemia and whites don’t?” The mistaken reasoning goes as follows: skin color is inherited, and sickle cell disease is inherited, therefore sickle cell disease is caused by race. Therefore races exist.
Rather than attacking drugs as the cause of crime, corruption, and disease, policy should be aimed at attacking the black market created by the War on Drugs, because it is the black market that causes crime, corruption, and disease.
Not Thomas Jefferson. Me. Years ago, when I was living in Brazil, I was standing on line and the woman behind me said, “Shut up, Jefferson!” (“Cale a boca, Jeferson!”) It turned out that she was speaking to her three-year-old son.
The brutal rape and murder of a woman in India has led to widespread protests in that country. How might population trends help to explain Indian attitudes toward rape? Why didn’t such protests occur years ago?
As a young psychologist, I married an anthropologist who studies Brazilian Indians and went off with her and our daughter to live in Brazil. There I became fascinated by the very different way Brazilians think about race—leading ultimately to my latest book, The Myth of Race.
Alcohol prohibition came to an end as a result of the Great Depression, and it is now beginning to look as if marijuana prohibition will come to an end as a result of the Great Recession. The parallels are striking, and they offer suggestions for the way forward.
In 1921 Lewis Terman, developer of the Stanford-Binet IQ test, began research on more than 1,500 bright 10-year-old Californians. Generations of researchers have continued work on the project and have discovered psychological predictors of a long life.
Understanding race and culture helps us answer the question "Who am I?" and has implications for everything from personal relationships and therapy to social policy, international relations, and beyond.