Gabriel Arana

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.

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Recent Articles

You Don't Have to be Gay to Do the Right Thing.

On one hand it's a good thing that former RNC Chair and Bush's 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman came out of the closet , the most prominent Republican to do so thus far. I of course applaud anyone who comes out, even if they've been comfortable with their sexual orientation personally for some time. Some people treat being gay like it's a dirty secret, a "private matter" that shouldn't be mentioned in polite company, but in addition to the fact that straight people freely parade their sexuality all over the place, keeping mum about your sexual orientation helps gay people remain the invisible targets of discrimination. Statistics show that someone is more likely to support gay rights if he or she knows someone gay personally -- and vice versa -- so one can only hope that having a prominent Republican come out will help, at least in a small way, the party move away from its virulently anti-gay agenda. However, as critics have pointed out, Mehlman stood by idly as the Bush...

An Ebonics Primer.

To chime in on Jamelle 's post about the DEA's effort to hire Ebonics speakers, I'd like to point out that African American Vernacular English (AAVE) -- like all languages and dialects -- doesn't just refer to vocabulary differences. For some background: Linguistic differences tend to arise when groups are socially isolated. Over time, these difference can diverge so much from the original they are considered a different dialect or language (the litmus test is mutual intelligibility, so depending on whom you talk to, AAVE is either a dialect of English or a separate language). AAVE shares many features of the Southern dialect of American English, though as with standard English, there are regional differences. Unfortunately, discussions about AAVE are generally limited to slang terms -- in the case that Jamelle's addressing, terms related to the drug trade. But in fact, there are a lot of other linguistic features that characterize AAVE. On the syntactic front, AAVE speakers have a...

The Little Picture: Hearts and Minds.

(Flickr/ISAF) U.S. Army 1st Lt. Alexander Johnson, an incoming platoon leader with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, takes notes while visiting with Afghan farmers and community leaders near Combat Outpost Monti, Afghanistan.

A Public Plan for Connecticut?

Joanne Kenen reports that despite political and financial hurdles, Connecticut is moving forward with its own state-level public option : After several years of debate about expanding coverage, a couple of gubernatorial vetoes, and assorted false starts, Connecticut in 2009 created "SustiNet" -- a framework for what could become a state insurance plan as early as 2012, two years before the state's insurance exchange is up and running as part of national reform. Once the exchange is in place, individuals and small businesses will be able to choose between SustiNet and one of the commercial health plans. KEEP READING . . .

Sticking It to the Man

When an employee blows his top, the company is often the one to blame.

JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)
Forget Joe the Plumber. America has a new working-class hero: Steven Slater. The 39-year-old JetBlue flight attendant got into a tiff with a disobedient passenger who, after refusing to sit down as the plane taxied, accidentally hit Slater in the head with a bag. Slater took to the plane's intercom system. "To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker: fuck you. I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it," Slater said before grabbing some beer from the plane's galley and making his getaway via the inflatable emergency chute. (Slater perhaps misspoke -- he has been a flight attendant for 20 years.) Police later arrested Slater at his home in Queens and charged him with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and trespassing. Within hours of the incident, supporters erected a Facebook page soliciting funds for his legal defense. The page, which as of Friday had 195,000 fans, reads like a human-resources complaint file. "On behalf of the millions of unsung, often abused...