Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her Twitter is @gurleygg, and her email is ggurley@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Black Is Beautiful, But Hair Is Still Political

How a suburban Boston charter school’s dress code underscores whites’ obsession with African American hair

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock) I n the spring of 2014, the Army banned black women soldiers from wearing natural hairstyles like cornrows, even though those easy-care looks meant that some women could give up the scalp-damaging chemical relaxers used to straighten tightly curled African American hair. The Army endured weeks of withering abuse and a congressional intervention before the service finally ditched the policy. Today, the Army and other branches spell out precise haircare parameters that permit natural styles that do not run afoul of grooming regulations. The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, apparently missed this heads-up on the absurdity of forcing African Americans to conform to white haircare grooming standards. African American students make up 20 percent of the nearly 1,500 students at the K–12 school and outperform their peers in the region. But as the furor over the school’s discriminatory hair policies simmers, school officials...

That Sinking Feeling: Trump’s Coast Guard Charm Offensive

(Photo: AP/Susan Walsh)
(Photo: AP/Susan Walsh) President Trump salutes as he leaves commencement exercises at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, on May 17, 2017. D onald Trump’s exquisite sense of personal indignation over slights real and imagined was on full display Wednesday at the commencement exercises for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2017. And for those keeping score, the contradictions between Trump’s words and his actions were difficult to ignore. In March, contrary to his zeal for all things military, President Trump had proposed slashing the Coast Guard budget by $1.3 billion, a 12 percent cut that made the Guard the only one of the five military branches subject to the administration’s slash-and-burn budget. A bipartisan group of senators ultimately blocked the cuts. Two months later, Trump came to New London, Connecticut, passing over his attempt to decimate the Guard but taking care to lick his gaping emotional wounds. “No politician in history has been treated...

Q&A: Can Black America Stay Strong Under Trump?

National Urban League President Marc Morial sees African American social and economic progress holding steady. But he warns that the Trump threat is real and activists must stay focused if they want to see better political results.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial speaks about the 2017 State of Black America report at the National Urban League in Washington. The state of black America, says the National Urban League, is strong. The Obama administration created 15 million new jobs, while the black unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in a decade. High school graduation rates improved; the Affordable Care Act improved health outcomes and reduced the numbers of the uninsured. The National Urban League’s 2017 State of Black America “Protecting our Progress” report looks at these indicators and also compares African American and Latino progress to whites’ in nearly 70 metropolitan areas to provide a snapshot of current social and economic well-being of the two groups. But the improving condition of black America was then (Obama Time) and this is now (Trump Time). However ineptly they go about it, President Trump and congressional Republicans aim to set in motion a...

A Monumental Cave-In

Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump go after the lands set aside to preserve America’s natural heritage—even though they’ve already started to provide economic benefits.

Bureau of Land Management/Public Domain
Bureau of Land Management/Public Domain Indian Creek and Cliffside, Bears Ears National Monument O n his first day on the job in Washington, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rode to his new office on a National Park Service horse. Next week, he heads to Utah for another horse-powered photo op through the tougher terrain of the Bears Ears, which President Obama designated a national monument. “I'm going to ride a horse, like Teddy Roosevelt, and see the land and talk to the Navajo and the nations of tribes,” Zinke said . The trip is part of Zinke’s review of large-area national monument designations made under presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama (although Bush established just four of the 24 monuments.). Theodore Roosevelt would likely be outraged by the underlying mission—scaling back the monuments—that Zinke has been tapped to carry out as he trots along on whatever trusty steed his Utah hosts rustle up for him. Zinke’s boss, President Donald Trump, recently signed...

Turning Up the Heat on WMATA

Serious maintenance issues continue to plague Washington’s transit system, but securing a dependable funding source remains the biggest hurdle

AJ Mast via AP Images
AJ Mast via AP Images A Metro train pulls into a station in Washington, D.C. F ires in Washington’s Metrorail system are so frequent and predictable (invariably involving the Red Line, the system’s oldest and most travelled route) that there are t-shirts, a website, and at least one active Twitter account devoted to exclusively to Metro fires. But comic relief is fleeting for the region’s commuters who are well aware of the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) fatal mishaps . Thursday morning’s commute, which saw smoke from an overheated rail fastener billowing through tunnels, provided more evidence, as if any were needed, that Metro is a mess. The fire-prone Red Line managed to mark Take Your Child To Work Day in a way that the parents and kids crammed into railcars or stranded on platforms or forced to seek alternate routes will never forget. In recent years, ridership has declined significantly and every near miss sends more people above ground for safer and more...

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