Trash Talk interview with Author

“Trash Talk: Anti-Obama Lore and Race in the Twenty-First Century” explores the rumors, legends, and conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama since his initial run for President in 2004, and continuing to present day. We spoke with author and professor Patricia A. Turner (Departments of African American Studies, and World Arts and Culture/Dance) who discusses how these rumors, legends, and lore often focus on identity by attacking Barack Obama’s faith, patriotism, sexual orientation, and citizenship, and speaks to the impact of such attacks on the political and sociological landscape both now and throughout history.

0:04 – Intro
0:46 – Main argument and contribution of the book
1:38 – Description of Anti-Obama lore
4:18 – Did you think Obama’s presidency would constitute a post-racial America?
6:32 – Why should this folklore be taken into account?
8:06 – Why is this a critical book to read and/or assign?

Dept. African American Studies –
Dept. of World Arts and Culture/Dance –
Arthur Ashe Legacy Program –

Interviewer: Dr. Celia Lacayo, Associate Director of Community Engagement, UCLA Social Sciences & Professor Chicana/o & Central American Studies and African American Studies Department

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences experts and other faculty.

Single-mom and full-time SEIU-USWW Janitor Jenny Meija and her two sons pictured with a computer provided by Building Skills Partnership’s digital equity initiatives.

By Lucy González, Graduate Student Researcher; Sophia L. Ángeles, Graduate Student Researcher; Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on families. Low-wage essential workers, such as janitors, have been hit particularly hard. The work demands placed on janitors dramatically increased as new safety standards were instated by 2020 COVID-19 protocols. Front-line janitors were at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and their families also faced serious financial challenges due to job loss and reduction of work hours. The difficulty of juggling parent-worker responsibilities impacted their well-being and mental health. However, few studies have explored the unique experiences of janitor parents and their critical role in the pandemic.

In the fall of 2021, the UCLA Labor Center conducted 16 interviews with janitor parents who are members of the Building Skills Partnership and SEIU-USWW (Service International Employees Union-United Service Workers West) and have children attending LAUSD schools. The study’s goal was twofold: 1) to understand how changing working conditions affected janitors as parents and workers and 2) to understand how an ever-evolving year of online learning shaped parent workers’ ability to support their children. Preliminary findings point to janitor parents’ resiliency in light of the challenges they encountered.

First, our research team found that the sanitation training janitor parents received in the workplace made them acutely aware and critical of their children’s school sanitary practices. Selene,* a Guatemalan mother of two students, shared her worries after learning that her children were tasked with disinfecting shared spaces. She cited that disinfection practices needed to be performed by professionals on a daily basis. Janitor parents’ access to specialized training equipped them to act as health brokers as they consistently discussed best health practices with their children to keep them safe from COVID-19.

Reflecting nationwide trends, more than half of the janitor parents reported that their children struggled academically. Parents cited the lack of personalized communication and consistent support from teachers and school staff as contributing factors. Iris, a Latina mother of two, shared that she reached out to her daughter’s school counselor for help, but never heard back. She believed this lack of support was due to her Latina ethnicity, as she had received negative responses from school staff when she called speaking Spanish versus the more positive responses she experienced when she spoke English.

Single janitor parents also consistently struggled. Nora, an Honduran single mother of two children with special needs, shared how burnt out she was juggling work and parenting since the start of pandemic:

“As a single mother, how is it going on a daily basis? Very hard. It is very hard because I have to be at 100% … I go to work at 6pm until 2:30am … I sleep for just 3 hours … Then go drop them off … Then I take classes … After, I have to pick up my sons. Then I serve them dinner. Can you imagine? I have no life.”

To support janitor parents, we suggest the following recommendations::

  1. Provide coordinated support and resources for working parents, particularly single parent households (e.g., flexible childcare options, financial assistance).
  2. Ensure that school-parent communication is multilingual and through varied and accessible formats.

An article on this research is forthcoming. Read our previous report on the UCLA Labor Center’s programs with worker parents, Learning Together! An Innovative Tutoring Program for Low-Wage Janitor, Garment and Domestic Worker Children (click HERE to download).

Lucy González is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center and is a recent MSW graduate. She plans to be a school social worker to work on creating a safe and culturally inclusive school environment for all children.

Sophia L. Ángeles is a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Labor Center’s Worker and Learner project and a PhD candidate in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies.. Her research focuses on the intersection of immigration and language to examine newcomer youths’ educational experiences and their K–16 trajectories.

Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Ed.D., is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center and teaches for UCLA Labor Studies and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Her research and teaching focus on developing culturally relevant, participatory educational models with first- and second-generation university students, community members, and youth, with a focus on the organizing efforts of low-wage workers to combat labor and workplace violations.

* All names are pseudonyms to protect our participant’s identity.

LA Social Science wants to highlight some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

The Department of Communication offers an outstanding summer program. The classes featured during sessions A and C are taught by our esteemed faculty and are full-credit UCLA courses. Our highly sought-after courses cover a wide range of topics in a convenient and personalized class setting with smaller class sizes. For UCLA students, these courses afford the opportunity to graduate early, or complete the 45-unit minimum to apply for admission to the program. For non-UCLA and high school students, it is a chance to take classes at UCLA and experience the wonderful campus. For international students, it is a chance to engage in the rigorous academic environment of UCLA while experiencing the great city of Los Angeles. This summer we offer the following courses:

Summer Session A: June 21-July 29 (Six Week)

COMM 1 – Principles of Oral Communication [Hurwitz]
COMM 1A – Public Speaking for Nonnative Speakers [Negrete]
COMM 1B – Learning American English and Culture from Movies [Negrete]
COMM 10 – Introduction to Communication [Suman]
COMM 100 – Communication Science [Jones/Bryant]
COMM 109 – Entrepreneurial Communication [Peterson]
COMM 114 – Understanding Relationships [Suman]
COMM 157 – Celebrity, Fame, and Social Media  [Peterson]
COMM 188A – Sex and the Cinema [Hurwitz]
COMM 195 – Summer Internship Course [Johnson/Svenson]

Summer Session A3: June 21-July 8 (Three Week Intensive)

COMM 187 – Ethical and Policy Issues in Institutions of Mass Comm [Newton]
COMM 188 – Careers in Communication [Johnson]
COMM 188A – Program in Film Finance [Lewis]

Summer Session B3: July 11-29 (Three Week Intensive)

COMM 148 – Integrated Marketing [Feramisco]

Summer Session C: August 1-September 9 (Six Week)

COMM 1 – Principles of Oral Communication [Hurwitz]
COMM 1A – Public Speaking for Nonnative Speakers [Negrete]
COMM 1B – Learning American English and Culture from Movies [Negrete]
COMM 110 – Gender and Communication [Kicenski]
COMM 140  – Theory of Persuasive Communication [Suman]
COMM 148 – Integrated Marketing [Feramisco]
COMM 156 – Social Networking [Peterson]
COMM 166 – Inside Hollywood [Peterson]
COMM 170  – Legal Communication [Huppin]
COMM 195 – Summer Internship Course [Johnson/Svenson]

Enroll Today!

Organized and moderated by Professor Giulia Sissa (Classics, Political Science, Comparative Literature – UCLA).

Follow this link to register to attend online with Zoom on May 31 starting at 9am.

“Decolonizing Classics” is a novel challenge for scholars in the Humanities and, even more pointedly, for those who study the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. The stake is not merely relevance, usefulness or epistemic legitimacy, but also political credentials. The “Classics” in education and in academia are being asked to give account of their role in shaping not just cultures, but cultural identities; not just representations, but self-representations. Multiple responses are possible, from indifference to indignation, from defensiveness to solidarity, from haughty erudition to chirpy vulgarization. But this challenge is thought-provoking rather than threatening. These historical circumstances should prompt an experimental, critical, creative meditation on our practices of learning and teaching. What can be done, what should be done and how can we act in our double life, as experts of those early global worlds and as citizens of this present, planetary world?

At the end of a long seminar on the resources of “comparative thinking,” in the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory, this roundtable will start a discussion on the future of Greece and Rome in our own cultural horizon. We will begin to showcase old and new heuristic approaches, which can help us reorient our research and refresh our language in a non-ethnocentric, non-linear, non-idealizing – non neoclassical – perspective.

SCHEDULE (Pacific Time)

9:00 AM – Giulia Sissa, UCLA
9:15 AM – Zrinka Stahuljak, UCLA
9:30 AM – Manuele Gragnolati, Sorbonne Université
9:45 AM – Ute Heidmann, Université de Lausanne
10:00 AM – Discussion
10:15 AM – Marco Formisano, Ghent University
10:30 AM – Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
11:00 AM – Cléo Carastro, EHESS, Paris
11:15 AM – Renaud Gagné, University of Cambridge
11:30 AM – Tristan Bradshaw, University of Wollongong and Ben Brown, University of Sydney
11:45 AM – Discussion
12:30 PM – Conclusion

Click here to download a PDF flyer for this event.

LA Social Science recently interviewed Dr. Raúl Hinojosa, an Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies and Founding Director of the North American Integration and Development Center (NAID), about his center’s conference on March 4 reflecting on its 25 years of research and innovation.

Interview Chapters:

00:20 – Welcome

01:05 – Dr. Hinojosa, please tell us about your conference “Empowering Diasporas to Address Root Causes: 25 Years of UCLA NAID Center Research & Innovation.” I understand it covered various areas of UCLA NAID Center research and policy innovation, which had three panels of research, policy, and community leaders from the US, Mexico, and Central America, highlighting recent publications and current pilot policy pilot projects.

07:11 – Perhaps you can tell us about the mission of the NAID Center and the highlights of its achievements over the past 25 years. Also, can you tell us about the first panel which I understand highlighted your book written about the North American Development Bank: historical trajectory and lessons learned?

15:57 – Can you tell us about the second panel designed to highlight a new policy monograph “Addressing the Root Causes of Migration,” to be published by the UCLA NAID Center and the DC based Migration Policy Institute? I understand you also unveiled UCLA NAID transnational data mapping website for online detailed geographic visibility in the US, Mexico and Central America. Also, what are the policy recommendations of the NAID-MPI monograph on Promoting the Reinvestment of Remittances and Migrant Savings for Addressing Root Causes of Migration?

26:00 – The third panel is entitled “Transnational Indigenous Empowerment,” which I understand highlighted a financial empowerment pilot project in San Quintin BC organized with Mexican Indigenous “microbanks” and local universities with the support of the NADBank. Can you also talk about how this conference is a part of future trajectory of the NAID Center? I understand the NAID Center, and partners are working on transnational migration and global climate change.


Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA Division of Social Sciences experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

LA Social Science interviews Dr. Sherene Razack, Distinguished Professor in Gender Studies & Penney Kanner Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at UCLA. Her new book titled, Nothing Has to Make Sense: Upholding White Supremacy Through Anti-Muslim Racism, argues that the figure of the Muslim reveals a world divided between the deserving and the disposable, where people of European origin are the former and all others are confined in various ways to regimes of disposability. Emerging from critical race theory, and bridging with Islamophobia/critical religious studies, it demonstrates that anti-Muslim racism is a revelatory window into the operation of white supremacy as a global force.

Interview Chapters:

00:04 – Intro

01:00 – What is the main contribution of this book?

04:23 – Meaning of “Christian White Supremacy”?

06:58 – How has popular culture and anti-Muslim racism changed over time?

09:54 – Why should someone read this book?

To learn more, check out Professor Razack’s book, Nothing Has to Make Sense: Upholding White Supremacy Through Anti-Muslim Racism.


Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

LA Social Science interviews Dr. José Loya, a UCLA Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and a faculty affiliate with the Chicano Studies Research Center. His research examines racial stratification among Latinxs in the mortgage market. He discusses how discrimination in housing creates barriers for upward mobility in the Latinx community.

Interview Chapters:

00:00 – Intro

00:39 – Social stratification and racial discrimination in housing

01:03 – Article in Race and Social Problems Journal

02:12 – Research methods

02:51 – Interesting findings – tri-racial hierarchy

04:27 – Research impact on Latinx community

05:20 – Closing


Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.


Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022
Time: 3:00-4:30PM PST
Location: Online/Zoom (registration required)



Survivors of domestic and sexual violence who defend themselves are systemically targeted for punishment by the legal system. Join us for the launch of Defending Self-Defense, a community-based, survivor-centered research report that identifies key patterns in the criminalization of self-defense and recommendations to transform the conditions of criminalized survival.

This report is produced by Survived & Punished, Project Nia, and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.

Survived and Punished (S&P) is a national organization that advocates for the decriminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence through community organizing, policy advocacy, and engaged research. S&P provides publications and organizing tools that help highlight the intersections of prisons and gender violence, as well as mobilize grassroots support for criminalized survivors. S&P also includes the following three local/regional affiliates: Love & Protect in Chicago, S&P New York, and S&P California. CSW’s Thinking Gender 2020 conference featured an art exhibit showcasing S&P’s work and accomplishments, as well as a keynote address by Mariame Kaba, a co-founder of Survived & Punished. Kaba is also the founder and director of Project Nia, a grassroots organization that fights to end youth incarceration.

UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. Up to 1 hour of general MCLE credit will be available (see Further Readings below).

Event participants:

Survived & Punished

  • Mariame Kaba (respondent)

Defending Self-Defense Research Team

  • Alisa Bierria
  • Colby Lenz
  • Sydney Moon

Defending Self-Defense Survivor Advisory Council

  • Liyah Birru
  • Tewkunzi Green
  • Robbie Hall
  • Wendy Howard
  • Roshawn Knight
  • Ky Peterson
  • Anastazia Schmid

Further Readings:

Cosponsored by:

  • Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law
  • Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA School of Law
  • Williams Institute
  • Department of Gender Studies

LA Social Science interviewed Dr. Marcus Hunter, Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the UCLA Division of Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, and Mr. Christian D. Green, M.A. in African American Studies at UCLA and current adjunct professor. They discussed their role on the national, local, and regional events celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that took place on January 18. Dr. Hunter participated in the 4th Annual National Day of Racial Healing. They discussed their work with legislators, media, and community-based organizations.  Specifically, they discuss the educational resources they are advocating to be part of the U.S. Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Commission and Reparations for African Americans and at the local level.

Learn more about the January 18 events HERE.


Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

On January 18th, 2022, the 4th Annual National Day of Racial Healing will take place. Alongside a slate of national, local, and regional events hosted and sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter, the Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA, will be moderating a culminating panel on Facebook Live with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Dr. Gail Christopher, and Dr. Ron Daniels. The panel will focus on and bring further awareness to legislative efforts on the Hill to enact the first-ever U.S. Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Commission and Reparations for African Americans.

RSVP for the virtual panel HERE.

For more information, click HERE.

Check back with LA Social Science for interviews and more posts regarding the issues discussed in this panel.