Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Erec Smith – Free Black Thought

Erec Smith – Free Black Thought


No transcript...

My guest this week is Erec Smith, professor of rhetoric at York College and co-founder of the nonprofit Free Black Thought. Erec came onto the show to talk about why an organization dedicated to fostering and promoting the true diversity of black thought is necessary. Now with a podcast, a journal, and the nonprofit itself, Erec is doing more than just criticizing the current state of mainstream-left race discourse. He’s helping to change it. As the inaugural contributor to the Journal of Free Black Thought, I’m happy to help.

I begin by asking Erec about how “free” Free Black Thought is. After all, sometimes when you say “black heterodoxy,” people hear “black conservatism.” He tells me about its mission, its journal and podcast, and its basis in classical liberalism. Erec’s opposition to DEI comes from experience. For a time, he served as a college diversity officer, and he saw things there he couldn’t unsee. Affirmative action and DEI aren’t viable ways to get black students up to par. Showing young people how to lay claim to their agency is key, and Erec wants to use Free Black Thought to do just that. And finally, I ask Erec just what “rhetoric” is, and the professor educates me.

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0:00 Is “black heterodoxy” a euphemism for “black conservatism”?

13:34 Classical liberalism’s role in Free Black Thought

15:07 Erec: I saw things while working as a diversity officer that I can’t unsee

22:47 Why the Democratic Party doesn’t like Erec

30:38 How Free Black Thought is fostering agency in the black community

36:16 Erec: The onus is on us, not affirmative action, to prepare black students for college

45:19 What is rhetoric, anyway?

Recorded November 13, 2023

Links and Readings

Erec’s nonprofit, Free Black Thought

Journal of Free Black Thought

Free Black Thought’s podcast

Minnesota’s Take Charge program

The Hidden Genius Project

Glenn’s essay in the Journal of Free Black Thought, “Wrestle Not against Flesh and Blood”


Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Race, inequality, and economics in the US and throughout the world from Glenn Loury, Professor of Economics at Brown University and Paulson Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute