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

Graham's Deep, Dark Secret: He Likes Immigration Reform.

Looks like the nativist group Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) is getting desperate. William Gheen 's rant at a rally "outing" Sen. Lindsey Graham , who supports comprehensive immigration reform, has gone viral. Though Graham has said repeatedly that he is not gay (just single), ALIPAC insists on pushing this line. The organization sent out a press release praising Gheen for correcting the "information imbalance": When you have a U.S. Senator from such a conservative state like South Carolina working hand in hand with Obama and New York liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer to pass an Amnesty bill for illegal aliens, there is something very wrong. So ALIPAC thinks the only possible reason Graham could support immigration reform is because liberals are holding his "alternative lifestyle" over his head? The logic here is so bizarre I have trouble seeing how Gheen could believe it himself. The press release explains: William Gheen called on Senator Lindsey Graham to be honest with...

The Anecdote Fallacy.

As immigrant-rights supporters urge Gov. Jan Brewer to veto Arizona's tough new immigration bill, Randal Archibold at The New York Times examines how a state with one of the largest Latino populations has come so close to passing the country's most punitive anti-immigrant bill yet. He notes John McCain 's change of heart on comprehensive immigration reform and details the political rise of the bill's chief architect, state Rep. Russell Pearce , who went from a Republican "embarrassment" to a party leader. While Arizona's turn to the right has been in the works for some time, Archibold notes that at least some nativist sentiment has been stoked by the recent murder of a border-area rancher by an undocumented immigrant. It strikes me how much discussion of immigration debate is driven by anecdotal evidence. This is of course not limited to the immigration debate -- how many health-care reform conversations revolved around the scenario of a Brit waiting in line for care? -- and...

The Moral Behind Arizona's Draconian Immigration Bill.

Most of the reaction to Arizona's passage of a draconian immigration bill -- one that is almost identical to the 2006 bill that set off mass immigration-rights protests across the country -- has focused on whether it will lead to racial profiling. SB 1070, which was approved by the state Legislature Tuesday and is expected to be signed by Gov. Jan Brewer , makes undocumented presence in the state a criminal, rather than a civil, offense. It also empowers local law-enforcement officials to determine the citizenship status of a person if there is a "reasonable suspicion" he or she is undocumented. "Reasonable suspicion," civil-liberties groups and journalists worry, could be nothing more than dark skin. As Adam Luna points out , the "anti-discrimination" provision it contains -- which says race cannot be the only reason someone is questioned -- is strikingly similar to amendments used by segregationists to try to eviscerate the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But the bigger problem is that it...

Who's Free to Discriminate?

A Supreme Court case highlights how religious conservatives tend to forget that the separation of church and state protects religion from government -- not the other way around.

In a case that involves dozens of religious groups as well as gay- and civil-rights organizations, the Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez on Monday. The justices will consider whether UC Hastings College of Law – a public institution – can deny funding to a campus religious group for violating the school's nondiscrimination policy. The Christian Legal Society, which requires its members to sign a pledge disavowing "fornication, adultery, and homosexual conduct," sued Hastings for refusing to recognize the student organization because it discriminates against gays. The unusually large number of amicus briefs in the case – 38 – is a testament to its importance. The Court's decision could have widespread implications for how religious organizations are funded by government institutions. It is also seen as a test for how the Roberts court handles church-state conflicts. For liberals, CLS v. Martinez is about discrimination and tolerance...

John McWhorter's Silly Analysis of 'Palinspeak.'

John McWhorter has an analysis of "Palinspeak" at The New Republic that has gotten quite a bit of attention . As a trained linguist (by happenstance I was a PhD candidate at Cornell, where McWhorter taught, before switching to journalism), I think his take is refreshingly devoid of cliché alarmism over the "decline of the English language." McWhorter makes the interesting observation that the style of political speech has shifted from the rigid scripted performances of politicians like Warren G. Harding to a more casual, unprepared style. But McWhorter goes too far in providing a psychological profile of Sarah Palin based on her linguistic tics. He writes: What truly distinguishes Palin’s speech is its utter subjectivity: that is, she speaks very much from the inside of her head, as someone watching the issues from a considerable distance. The evidence McWhorter provides for this assertion is that Palin uses "distancing words" -- that instead of this or the , there instead of here :...

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