Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
John McWhorter & Clifton Duncan – Ideology is Killing American Theater

John McWhorter & Clifton Duncan – Ideology is Killing American Theater


In this episode, John McWhorter fills in for Glenn and sits down with actor Clifton Duncan. The two discuss Clifton’s one-man show about the life of Thomas Sowell and the challenges of portraying him onstage. They then move on to discuss how the theater world has changed after 2020. Clifton’s life initially improved after he decided to ignore the racial baggage that many people bring with them to the theater. But, since 2020, his career has suffered immense damage due to his refusal to toe the progressive line on race and COVID.

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0:00 A message from Glenn

4:00 Why Clifton is planning a one-man show about Thomas Sowell

9:42 The challenge of portraying Sowell onstage

13:45 How Clifton is getting the show off the ground

19:01 The lure of acting

22:43 2020’s effect on the racial dynamics of the theater

30:40 Clifton: Top-down DEI casting edicts are “central planning for art”

40:25 The racial attitude that’s “destroying black artists,” according to Viola Davis

47:27 Why Clifton changed his position about COVID pandemic measures

1:04:29 The left’s valuation of vulnerability

1:14:21 Why Clifton’s career fell apart after 2020

1:24:56 If progressives like the COVID vaccines, why don’t they give Trump any credit?

1:29:05 The problem of the black independent thinker

Recorded April 13, 2024

Links & Reading

Clifton’s Substack, State of the Arts

Thomas Sowell’s 1983 appearance on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line

Thomas Sowell’s memoir, A Personal Odyssey

Cheryl West’s play, Before It Hits Home

Suzan-Lori Parks’s 365 Plays/365 Days

Donald Bogle’s book, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films

Donald Bogle’s book, Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television

The Great Barrington Declaration

Andrew Lobaczewski’s book, Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil, Psychopathy, and the Origins of Totalitarianism


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