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Hollywood has a long history of “passing movies”—films in which Black characters pass for white—usually starring white actors. Even as these films have attempted to depict the devastating effect of racism in America, they have trafficked in tired tropes about Blackness. But a new movie from actor-writer-director Rebecca Hall takes the problematic c…
 
Was anybody willing to be a spiritual adviser to a Muslim man on death row? That’s the question that went out by email to a local group of interfaith leaders in Indiana. Nobody answered. After a week without responses, the management professor Yusuf Ahmed Nur stepped forward. A Somali immigrant who volunteered at his local mosque, Nur would counsel…
 
Just as the Navajo researcher Rene Begay started to fall in love with the field of genetics, she learned that the Navajo Nation had banned all genetic testing on tribal land. Now she is struggling to figure out what the future of genetics might look like, and whether the Navajo and other Indigenous communities should be a part of it. Further readin…
 
Last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor announced that the Supreme Court had broken with tradition and changed its rules for oral argument. This came after a study revealed that women are disproportionately interrupted by men in the highest court in America. This week, we’re re-airing a More Perfect episode about the Northwestern University research tha…
 
The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode, The Atlantic’s religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor in chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to …
 
Ashley C. Ford was just a baby when her father was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. Prison phone calls—a $1.4 billion industry in the United States—were often prohibitively expensive for her family, so Ford maintained a fragmentary relationship with him through handwritten letters and short visits, while her loved ones tried to shield her from he…
 
This week, President Joe Biden rolled out a large-scale federal mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for two-thirds of the American workforce, impacting more than 100 million people across the public and private sectors. Some lawmakers have already called the mandate unconstitutional, and Arizona is the first state to sue to block it. This week …
 
The Atlantic staff writer Hannah Giorgis grew up in the ’90s, watching dozens of Black characters on TV. Living Single, Sister, Sister, Moesha, and Smart Guy were just a few of the shows led by Black casts. But at some point in the 2000s, those story lines and some of the Black writers behind them seemed to disappear. In a cover story for The Atlan…
 
On September 11, 2001, Bobby McIlvaine was killed, along with nearly 3,000 other Americans. In the 20 years since, his parents and brother have searched for ways to live through, and with, their grief. The writer Jennifer Senior’s brother was Bobby’s roommate when he died, and in the cover story for The Atlantic’s September issue, she visited with …
 
Here in the United States, 19-year-old Aséna Tahir Izgil feels as though she’s a “grandma.” Aséna is Uyghur, an ethnic minority being imprisoned in labor camps by the Chinese government. The pain she witnessed before escaping in 2017 has aged her beyond her years, she says, making it hard to relate to American teenagers. “They talk about … TikToks …
 
Ever since Kerri Strug and the Magnificent Seven won Olympic gold in 1996, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team has been a point of pride for many Americans. But over the past five years, athletes have been coming forward with allegations of widespread abuse in the sport. Former gymnasts say they were forced to train and compete with broken bones and t…
 
The epic, oft-told origin story of Texas centers on the Lone Star State’s most infamous battle: the Battle of the Alamo, where American heroes such as Davy Crockett fought to the death against the Mexican army to secure Texas’s independence. The only problem, according to the writer and journalist Bryan Burrough, is that this founding legend isn’t …
 
In June, the Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on college sports: Student athletes will now be able to receive educational benefits such as free laptops and paid internships. The decision may have seemed relatively small, but in this episode of the Experiment podcast, the Atlantic staff writer Adam Harris explains how it could change the way we …
 
Hate crimes in the United States have reached their highest levels in more than a decade, prompting bipartisan support for legislation to combat them and increased resources for law enforcement. But the recent COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act has spurred resistance from an unexpected source: activist groups that represent the people these laws are meant to…
 
Last summer, an unexplained phenomenon gripped nightly newscasts and Facebook groups across America: Unsolicited deliveries of obscurely labeled seed packages, seemingly from China, were being sent to Americans’ homes. Recipients reported the packages to local police, news stations, and agriculture departments; searched message boards for explanati…
 
From the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Rock to the rise of the pandemic “quarantini,” alcohol has been a foundation of American society and culture. The Atlantic's Kate Julian explores how this tool for cohesion and cooperation eventually became a means of coping, and what history can teach us about improving our drinking habits. This conversation …
 
The COVID-19 pandemic shattered social norms around physical closeness and intimacy. As the world reopens, how do we learn to touch other people again—even in normal, everyday ways? The Atlantic staff writer Emma Green seeks advice from the iconic sex therapist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Ruth on how to find pleasure and purpose after life-changing …
 
The Columbia professor Carl Hart spent his career studying the effects of drugs, and uses heroin himself. In his book Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he argues that not only can drug use be safer, but that it’s our right. This week on The Experiment: how villainizing drug use interferes with our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Be part…
 
In the face of death, grief, and indifference, what can people do to make a change? In trying to understand a year of tragedy and conflict, correspondent Tracie Hunte looks back 30 years to explore the U.S. AIDS epidemic and how protesters balanced rage and anguish with pointed and often painstaking political action. This week on The Experiment, we…
 
Katharine Smyth is 39 years old and has never, to her knowledge, had an orgasm. This fact didn’t worry her very much until her 30s, when a divorce and a series of dates with frustrated men made her think she might never find love again. So she embarked on a quest—diving deep into an industry designed to solve her problem, searching for a feeling th…
 
Lecrae Moore came up in a Christian culture deeply entwined with politics: Evangelicals were Republicans, and Republicans were evangelicals. As a Black college student, he found a sense of belonging in Bible study. His mentors and community were predominantly white and very conservative, but that didn’t really bother him. He found success as an art…
 
These days, everyone assumes that this is just a fact of life: Evangelicals are Republicans, and Republicans are evangelicals. The powerful alliance culminated in the 2016 election of Donald Trump, tying the reputation of Christianity in America to the Trump brand—maybe permanently. It wasn’t always like this. One man—a political operative from Geo…
 
Dating shows often push contestants to extreme measures in pursuit of love. Reality-show producers will impose fake deadlines, physical obstacles, and manufactured drama to create the juiciest spectacle. But on TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, a high-stakes and wildly popular reality show, the producers didn’t need to dream up a deadline: It’s a requirement of…
 
One night in the spring of 2005, Anissa Jordan was sitting in a car in San Francisco while her boyfriend attempted to rob a young man nearby. Shortly after, police arrested both Anissa and her boyfriend. Anissa was detained and dressed in an orange jumpsuit before she learned that the young man had been shot and killed that night and that she and h…
 
In her fight for women’s rights, the then–ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg did something unexpected: She argued on behalf of men. “It didn’t matter to her if the plaintiff was a man or a woman,” says the Georgetown law professor Wendy Williams. “Because in most of those cases, the discrimination against the man was derivative of a prior and worse di…
 
The national-park system has been touted as “America’s best idea.” David Treuer, an Ojibwe author and historian, says we can make that idea even better—by giving national parks back to Native Americans. “By virtue of the parks returning to Native control, I would like people, when they’re standing at the foot of El Capitan, to look up knowing they’…
 
The patients of the nurse practitioner and aspiring reality star Jeffrey Young say he helped them like nobody else could. Federal prosecutors who charged him in a massive opioid bust say he overprescribed painkillers, often for “money, notoriety, and sexual favors.” Young’s case provides a rare glimpse into the ways patients wind up addicted to the…
 
In 1902, a Swedish American pastor named Henning Jacobson refused to get the smallpox vaccine. This launched a chain of events that landed the Massachusetts pastor in a landmark 1905 Supreme Court case in which the Court considered the delicate balancing act between individual liberty over our bodies and our duty to one another. "We can be grateful…
 
Do Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans share an identity? The answer wasn’t necessarily clear before 1980. That’s when the Census Bureau introduced a pair of new terms, Hispanic and Latino, to its decennial count. The addition was the result of years of advocacy and negotiation: Being counted on the census meant the potential for far more governmen…
 
To mid-aughts celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, they were high fashion. To the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Eva Mendes they’re a sign of defeat; they declare to the world, as Jerry tells George Costanza in the Seinfeld pilot, “I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.” And since the start of the pandemic, sweatpants have b…
 
When Mike Belderrain hunted down the biggest elk of his life, he didn’t know he’d stumbled into a “zone of death,” the remote home of a legal glitch that could short-circuit the Constitution—a place where, technically, you could get away with murder. At a time when we’re surrounded by preventable deaths, we document one journey to avert disaster. •…
 
It’s easy to forget that the United States started as an experiment: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all. That was the idea. On this weekly show, we check in on how that experiment is going. The Experiment: stories from an unfinished country. From The Atlantic and WNYC Studios. Be part of …
 
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