Who Is Glenn Cartman Loury?
I am a black guy – economics professor by trade and public intellectual by avocation. Born in 1948 on Chicago’s South Side into a close-knit, working class family, I was raised by a single mom in segregated neighborhoods.
I was educated in public schools, and then I attended Northwestern University on scholarship before earning my doctorate at M.I.T. In 1982 I became the first black American to be awarded tenure in Harvard’s economics department.
Much of my work has focused on race and disparities in the U.S., with books such as One by One from the Inside Out (1995), The Anatomy of Racial Inequality (2002), and Race, Incarceration and American Values (2008). I have also published many academic research papers in the top economics journals. Among other honors, I have been elected a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association. I currently occupy a chair as the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences at Brown University.
Who Are “The Black Guys”?
As a public intellectual, my main platform for the last 13 years has been my podcast / YouTube offering called The Glenn Show (TGS). There, along with my frequent partner in conversation John McWhorter of Columbia University, I have maintained a beat on racial and political issues, focusing mostly on the U.S. We are often referred to as “the Wokebusters” because of our sustained critique of identity politics and of the growing influence of Critical Race Theory.
John is more to the left than I am, but both of us are on a mission against the ideology known as the Critical Race Theory or “wokeism.” I have laid out the core of my critique in this Substack post (an excerpt from my conversation with Daniel Bessner). In short, (1) an obsession with racial identity is bad for the soul, and (2) enforced conformity with the strictures of woke anti-racism endangers our civilization.
A Growing Movement
I have been saying these things for many years. But something changed in the summer of 2020, when the effects of the pandemic, the Trump presidency, and the killing of George Floyd sparked a conflagration of racial conflicts.
At TGS, John and I attempt to extricate the public conversation from an atmosphere of intellectual stultification. We refer to ourselves as “the Black Guys,” but our views are anything but monochromatic for true diversity lies under the skin, not above it. In addition to my conversations with John, I also engage a fresh register of guests, producing a fresh record of thought.
These conversations aim neither Right nor Left; they aim upward. TGS favors raw and honest dialogue over mere banter. A responsible contrarianism is the marrow of the show (make no broken bones about it). For I am convinced that the power of the individual to stand above the crowd and declare “I dissent!” is at the spirited core of any open and free society. I proudly retain the right to do so and promise to make good and responsible use of it as often as necessary—which, these days, is fairly often and very necessary.
As the effects of woke ideology escalated following the summer of 2020, the interest in what John and I have been saying for years started to grow, too. We receive an unprecedented number of emails from people all over the country, our online audience is growing, and there’s even some interest in our voices from the mainstream media.
This is exciting, but it also raises some challenging questions: How can we support this community of folks who are concerned with the spread of “woke anti-racism”? How do we help it grow? Do we organize? As my own voice gets amplified, which conversations or debates should I seek out? Are there some I should avoid? All of these are puzzles I am trying to work out.
The Purpose of This Newsletter
This newsletter is a means to an end. I hope to amplify my message and refine it. I want to experiment with community-building by engaging with my readers and fostering communication between them; by running provocative pieces by other writers; by making some of my correspondence public; and hopefully by other means I have yet to envision. I'm going to have to figure it out as I go. There’s a lot of work to be done. I hope you will help me do it.
If you take your political swill sugared, diluted, and flat, you are at the wrong intellectual trough. But if you take your conversation neat and unfiltered (and dare I say, sparkling), this podcast and newsletter is the haunt for you.
For well over a decade, The Glenn Show has been a safeguard against the peril of regimented thinking. It sustains a long-held belief in intellectual autonomy, especially on questions of race and equality in America. I invite you to join me here as a spectator and a participant.
Should you elect to do so, prepare for some bracing discussion. It’s going to be fun.