Michelle Raji

Michelle Raji is a medical student at the University of Texas at Austin and a former intern at the Texas Observer.

Casey Gerald’s Memoir Isn’t the Inspirational Tale You Think It Is

By his mid-20s, Casey Gerald — who grew up poor in Dallas — had an eye-popping résumé and an impressive career. So why did he walk away from the “circus of success”?

In 2015, George W. Bush rested his hand on Casey Gerald’s shoulder at a buffet in Dallas. The president wanted to ask Gerald, then an intern at Lehman Brothers, a presumptuous question: Was his father around when he was growing … Read More


‘American Hate’ Author on Hate Crimes, Free Speech and Alex Jones

Author and civil rights attorney Arjun Sethi on listening to survivors, the difficulty of prosecuting hate crimes and what the media can do better.

A mosque in Victoria, Texas, burns. Two black girls escape a deadly attack that claims the lives of two in Portland, Oregon. A Jewish family is chased out of their small Montana town by neo-Nazis. These stories of hate capture … Read More


‘I Can’t Date Jesus’ Chronicles Growing up Black, Queer and Catholic in Houston

Michael Arceneaux’s first book is a logical extension of the polemic, confessional style he’s perfected online.

The book begins, “Before that day, I hadn’t been to church in five Beyoncé albums.” Some people measure time in years; others, like Houston-born, Harlem-based culture writer Michael Arceneaux, in musical tectonic shifts. Arceneaux’s personal essay collection, I Can’t Date … Read More


Amid Record Youth Suicide Attempts, Texas Lags in Prevention Training for Teachers

Despite a 2015 law requiring suicide prevention training for teachers, state officials say they do not monitor or enforce the requirement.

Pretty much everyone at Fairfield High School liked Jonathan Childers, a 15-year-old with kind brown eyes and a wide smile. The freshman played football, lifted weights for the school team and raised animals in the FFA. He had lots of … Read More

rodney mcmillian

Artist Rodney McMillian Wants Viewers to Grapple with Race — and Register to Vote

From a 2-D White House to a video juxtaposing the KKK and the Texas Capitol, McMillian’s conceptual art is symbolic yet cryptic.

The first thing you see as you walk into the latest exhibit at the Contemporary Austin is a voter registration desk. A small digital flag and the words “REGISTER TO VOTE HERE” are displayed on a screen. It’s not a … Read More

Texas Legislature

Ken Paxton: ‘The More We Talk About Gun Regulation, the More People Are Gonna Die’

While delivering the conservative response to mass shootings, Paxton got his facts mixed up again, this time at the state GOP convention.

Conservative thought leader Ken Paxton delivered the “constitutional response to mass shootings” Friday at the 2018 Texas Republican Convention, which included barricading doors, arming parishioners and taking cues from Israeli policies that don’t actually exist. “The more we talk about … Read More