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Articles on American culture

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1899 lithograph of white minstrel performer Carroll Johnson depicted in blackface, right. Library of Congress

Why blackface?

The public was shocked by the blackface image on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page. But if blackface is now taboo, there was a time when it played a big role in American culture.
For decades, native-born American Jews changed their names to improve their job prospects. Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com

Why are some Americans changing their names?

The demographics of name change petitioners today – and the reasons that they give – tell a complicated story of race, class and culture.
DACA supporters march to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to protest after the September 2017 announcement that the program would be suspended with a six-month delay. AP Photo/Matt York

In the DACA debate, which version of America – nice or nasty – will prevail?

Throughout America’s history, a duality has existed: On one side, there has been the belligerent, aggressive America. On the other, the generous, amiable one.
Younger Americans tend to be comfortable relying on ride services and foregoing car ownership. BeyondDC

To Uber or not? Why car ownership may no longer be a good deal

Using ride-hailing services full-time would mean avoiding the hassles of owning a car. But it could cost less, too – depending on how you value your time otherwise spent behind the wheel.
Yggdrasil, the tree that supports the world in Norse myth, can be found in America in Neil Gaiman’s mash-up of world religion. Starz

Guide to the classics: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

American Gods imagines a US where ancient gods exist at “right angles to reality”, asking why we have mythologies and why we need them.

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