Brandon Loran Maxwell

Brandon Loran Maxwell is a Mexican American writer, speaker and essayist. His writings have appeared at The Hill, Salon, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, The Oregonian, and The Foundation For Economic Education, among others. He often writes about prison reform, immigration reform, pop culture, music, and Chicano culture. He resides on the West Coast.

Why There Will Never Be Another Tupac

A few may come close, but there will never be another one quite like him.

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I Served My Time But I Will Never Be Free

Steel doors crashed shut behind me as I stepped outside onto the curb. Sunshine splashed down onto the back of my neck. In less than 2 months, I had lost 20 pounds, grown a full head of hair again, and gained a new appreciation for the virtues of solitude. When you’re a “violent offender,” after all, 20 hours a day in a cell is the standard, not the exception. The

The “Woke” Police Raid Chicano History

Last week, multiple chapters from the 50-year-old student group MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) voted to drop “Chicanx” from their name, arguing it has homophobic and sexist connotations. The move, which was met with fierce criticism across generational lines, also comes on the heels of a separate debate in which PC activists are trying to change the word Latino to “Latinx” in order to make it more “gender neutral”

5 Myths About Illegal Immigration

In the following video, I address 5 myths about illegal immigration. This includes the myth that immigrants don’t pay taxes. The myth that undocumented immigrants disproportionately commit crime. The myth that undocumented immigrants steal American jobs. And the myth that undocumented immigrants abuse welfare services. To keep up with future videos, subscribe here. Brandon Loran MaxwellBrandon Loran Maxwell is a Mexican American writer, speaker and essayist. His writings have appeared

Frost: The Rise Of A Chicano Rap Legend

Hip hop might have first emerged in the 70s against a backdrop of cocaine fueled optimism, but the commercial pinnacle of hip hop emerged in the 90s against a backdrop of uncertainty—a tumultuous age that likewise gave birth to the Los Angeles riots and hundreds of gang related homicides each year. The latest incarnation of hip hop, which the media would dub “gangster rap,” not only terrified middle-class America at

My DNA Test Proves I’m Narnian

A few month’s back, Senator Elizabeth Warren underwent a DNA test to prove she is Native American. The test, which was conducted by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford, ultimately found Warren was somewhere between 1/32 and 1/1,024th Native American. Or, to put it another way, less than 1 percent. As one might expect, critics have cried foul. However, as someone who has personally wrestled with a similar

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In Defense Of “Thugs”

I was sixteen the first time a police officer pointed a loaded gun at me. I’m lucky to be alive. But while blaming police officers for all of the problems I encountered growing up would certainly be convenient, the truth is I had already had at least a half-dozen guns pulled on me long before I was sixteen, none of which were by police officers. It’s an ugly truth. When

Do You Like Kipling? Thoughts On Love, Writing, And Postcards

I knew nothing about postcards until I one day found myself writing slogans for a postcard company to support a family. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a family. But as anyone who knows me will attest, I’m not exactly the “family type.” However, as anyone who has ever played the game of poker will also attest, a successful poker game largely depends on knowing when to fold. Therefore,

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Trumpism Was Built On Weakness

Throughout history, Americans have often looked to and expected strength from their elected leaders. And throughout history, such strength has often defined effective leadership. Strength, however, has taken on a new meaning under Trump. In fact, Trump not only believes strength derives from unapologetic exhibits of contention and division, but racial and cultural division. But more than anything, “strength” under Trump has become a political and strategic mask. It is

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Why Nations Fail: Institutions, Hayek, and Mises

In the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, American economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson contend stable institutions and political centralization are necessary conditions for economic prosperity and long-term social stability. Differentiating between “inclusive” and “extractive” philosophies, Acemoglu and Robinson maintain encompassing institutions stem educational and technological advancements, while extractive institutions stifle and impede wealth and growth. In addition, stable and centralized political institutions

Escaping The Past

Pills Bridges Nooses Guns There are a hundred avenues To escape the future But not a single road to escape the past Yet sometimes I still mourn the past The sting Of ink seeping into the bone Careening through the bloodstream Cleaving, widowing vacant pores Feel the sunlight splashing down Burning Enlightening our shaven heads Refracting authority Signaling, taunting rival carnales Hear Richie Valens through the static Serenading Strumming lost

Perspective Is Everything in the 21st Century

If you’re reading this, I’m thrilled. My email must have made it through to the editor. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect considering I sent it from a new phone that beeps and buzzes at me more than the hideous little robot with the swiveling head on Star Wars. I think his name was Joy Behar. You see, despite being a millennial, I’ve largely been dragged into the 21st century

The Not So Wonderful Life of Trees

Last week as I watched my beloved Budweiser drinking, NASCAR tank top wearing neighbor across the road chainsaw a Christmas tree in half on the front of his bedraggled lawn, I couldn’t help but consider what miserable lives trees must lead. Think about it: Dogs go to the bathroom on them, monkeys swing and tug on them, and woodpeckers thump on them all day like little feathered salesmen that won’t

Notes From An American Prisoner: An Ode To Fyodor Dostoevsky

The following essay/poem was written by Brandon Loran Maxwell in the spirit of the 1864 Russian novella “Notes From The Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I am a loving man, soulless by disposition; a forgiving man, vindictive by circumstance. I am an innocent man, but I am a monster. Another might say I am two men, or even say I am no man at all. But what another says is of little consequence.

One Act Play: Petal By Petal

Below is a link to a one act play written by Brandon Loran Maxwell about drug and alcohol addiction. The play was written to be read in a rhythmic format. It is free to use for educational and non-profit purposes as long as the original author is credited. Petal By Petal Brandon Loran MaxwellBrandon Loran Maxwell is a Mexican American writer, speaker and essayist. His writings have appeared at The

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Watch: The Many Sounds Of Hip Hop

Hip hop may have began with a handful of Bronx youth in the 1970s, but as it spread across the United States during the 80s and 90s, hundreds of artists emerged. As a result, hip hop developed various styles, each geared toward a different demographic and geographic location. The following video showcases those styles. Can you tell the differences? Brandon Loran MaxwellBrandon Loran Maxwell is a Mexican American writer, speaker and

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Trump’s Dangerous Big Government Conservatism

Dangerous people have existed in the past. Dangerous people will exist again in the future. But at this place, at this time, Donald Trump is perhaps the most dangerous. Like a bull in a china shop, Trump has not only alienated millions with his rhetorical brimstone and bombast, but hijacked an entire political party that once promoted limited government, setting the stage for a fiscally disastrous and alarmingly intrusive federal

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Unlike Trump, At least Obama Was Presidential

Say what you will about Obama, but at least he was presidential. Love him or hate him, at least he never bragged about grabbing women by the genitalia, degraded minorities, or lambasted long time allies within hours of sustaining a terrorist attack. No, President Obama would have offered words of hope and encouragement. He would have conducted himself with the kind of dignity the presidency deserves and, now lacks. Of

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Immigrants Help The Economy & Decrease Crime

Contrary to Donald Trump’s incessant anti-immigrant rhetoric, the truth is America would not have been possible without immigrants. Indeed, immigrants not only helped build what Ronald Reagan once famously called a “shining city upon a hill”—they’ve sustained it. And no amount of bluster will ever change that. Immigrants introduce specialized skills. In fact, some of America’s most profitable and celebrated companies, including Budweiser and McDonald’s, were either founded by immigrants

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The Social Significance of ‘Lowriders’

The airbrushed murals. The candy paint. The warm breeze that slaps you across the face when the hydraulic pump springs you high into the heavens, all as curious onlookers gather on the corner to point and admire. Yes, nothing beats the excitement and attention you get when bouncing up and down the crowded boulevard in a swooped up lowrider. I know this, of course, because I’ve owned my fair share

Why Donald Trump Is A Weak President

Brandon Loran MaxwellBrandon Loran Maxwell is a Mexican American writer, speaker and essayist. His writings have appeared at The Hill, Salon, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, The Oregonian, and The Foundation For Economic Education, among others. He often writes about prison reform, immigration reform, pop culture, music, and Chicano culture. He resides on the West Coast.

Rhyming Poetry: “Tale Of The Headless Songbird”

A headless songbird toils to sing, Mourns the gusts he might have flown. Forlorn to a ravaged wing, Below a sky he’s since outgrown. His aches confirm he’s gotten old, And can’t return what he now owns. Waning outside in the cold, His feathers gently twirl to bones. Assist I would this withered bird, Yet here I laze as if a stone. Near my windowpane alone, To this bird my

Abstract Poetry: “Twenty and Six”

words oh, those forgotten swords that once danced through our ears and tantalized our bones no teeth forked pledges silver brothels only peace twenty and six alibis strung together like beads showered behind the sun when, I wonder, did the valley ears turn coat? join the machine of vacant clouds over shallow, cowardly graveyards of the unimaginative who woke the dreamer? told the virgin: drink flesh renounce ink dare not

If Only The World Would Listen

Her eyes were hazel like the whiskey I sat down to drown myself in Her stiletto heels cruel, unforgiving Vowing, if not plotting, to stomp the world Of all its bigotry and hatred If, only the world would listen. But I listened because I was not a part of the world I was a part of the lost tribe—that great tribe Of wanderers and misfits Of convicts and drunkards Of