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

Tuesday Twitter Talk: The Karate Kid.

Our weekly feature showing you how incisive and funny we can be in 140 characters. This week, Adam Serwer and the National Review Online 's Dan Foster have a back-and-forth about the upcoming movie, The Karate Kid . @AdamSerwer So, anyone else bothered by the new "Karate Kid" movie taking place in China and utilizing Kung Fu? #nerdcomplaints @DanFosterNRO Sooooooo bothered. If they at least make a joke about it in the movie I can deal. Will Smith nepotism also bugs me. @DanFosterNRO Mama Foster used to use rolled up paper towel and blue magic marker to make me Daniel-san's rising sun headbands. @AdamSerwer yeah but I mean if you're the most bankable hollywood star on earth, how do you not try to turn that into a franchise? @DanFosterNRO I still get pins and needles during the whole "Show me, SAND THE FLOOR!" scene @AdamSerwer Yeah I have the trilogy on videocassette @AdamSerwer That movie made an entire generation of kids pine for a cryptic aging mentor @DanFosterNRO Setting me up for...

Teaching for America's Elites.

There's a new policy brief showing that Teach for America teachers -- recent college grads plucked from elite schools -- don't do better than credentialed teachers when it comes to student test scores. And the reason is pretty straightforward: They're inexperienced and generally leave before they develop the skills to be effective educators. Before they're thrown in a classroom, TFAers get five weeks of training and over half leave upon completing their two-year commitment; 80 percent leave after three years. I've always thought the assumption behind TFA -- that all underperforming schools need is an Ivy League Jaime Escalante -- a bit problematic. While research shows teachers have a significant impact on student performance, outcomes are influenced by a range of factors, including parental support, peers, parents' income and the opportunities that arise from it, etc. But even if TFA's narrow goal is to improve the quality of teachers in underperforming schools, it apparently doesn't...

Did Droopy Just Have Depression?

There's an amusing story in today's Wall Street Journal about medical students using fictional television and movie characters to learn how to diagnose psychiatric disorders. Hundred-Acre Wood Ashdown Forest (where Winnie the Pooh lives) might as well have been a psychiatrist's waiting room: Piglet clearly suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, the authors noted. Eeyore has chronic dysthymia (mild depression) and could benefit greatly from an antidepressant. Tigger is hyperactive, impulsive and a risk-taker. The piece is lighthearted, but it brings to mind a more serious concern: If you can diagnose cartoons with depression, how much more rigorous is the process for humans? And at what point does being Oscar the Grouch become a disorder? The unsatisfying answer is that it's difficult to tell; the tools we use for mapping out human emotion -- observation, patients' self-reports -- are still quite crude. But this shouldn't become fodder for those who argue psychiatric disorders aren...

Do Gays Really Make Better Parents?

To the presumed chagrin of social conservatives, the soon-to-be-published results of a 20-year study on lesbian parents doesn’t show that their children are damaged. In fact, the children of lesbian parents tend to be better adjusted socially and more competent academically than the children of heterosexual couples. They also have fewer behavioral problems. Dr. Nanette Gartrell of UCLA Law School, one of the study’s authors, says it’s because lesbian parents tend to be more involved. Part of me wants to say, “Anti-gay '70s crusader Anita Bryant should have been warning people about the dangers straight people pose to children.” But I think this perpetuates the fallacy that how good a parent you are depends in any way on your sexual orientation.

Putting Arizona's SB 1070 on Hold.

The avalanche of lawsuits began as soon as Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona's immigration-enforcement bill on April 23. By my count, five have been filed so far, with a new one springing up every week or so. Usually, civil-rights lawsuits revolve around a tight coalition of advocacy groups and a carefully selected plaintiff, but the challenges to SB 1070 are coming from many different directions -- individual law-enforcement officers, city councils, the federal government, advocacy groups, and religious organizations. On Friday, lawyers in a class-action suit brought by the ACLU, NAACP, and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) asked a federal judge to stop the law from going into effect as scheduled in July until it goes through the courts. Judges generally grant a preliminary injunction when they think the plaintiff could suffer "irreparable harm" if the court doesn't intervene early. Given the number of different plaintiffs who've brought suit, I don't see how the court could...