This week’s TGS features two incomparable guests: John McWhorter and Randall Kennedy. John, of course, needs no introduction. Randy is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of many books, the latest of which is Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture.
In this episode, we get into it pretty much immediately. Randy admits to being “thrown” by Donald Trump’s election and to finding his campaign openly racist. I, as you may know, think that is an oversimplified explanation of Trump’s appeal in 2016. We go on to discuss how a certain amount of racism will be with us for the foreseeable future, and we’ll just have to deal with it. Given that the situation will never be perfect, what would constitute an “acceptable” level of racism? We then go on to discuss two of the “big issues”: Policing and affirmative action. There’s a lot of intensity in this conversation, and I’m excited for you to hear it!
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0:00 Randy: “I feel torn and, frankly, bewildered” about the state of race in the US
7:17 Can we blame Trump for the tenor of racial discourse today?
17:27 Crediting the achievements of black Americans after Emancipation
25:46 Is the criminal justice system as discriminatory as it appears?
34:55 Glenn: We need to deracialize the conversation about policing
45:54 Taking account of culture in debates about racial inequality
56:49 Affirmative action with an asterisk
1:08:29 Does affirmative action require lowering standards?
Links and Readings
Randy’s new book, Say It Loud!: On Race. Law, History, and Culture
W.E.B. Du Bois’s book, The Philadelphia Negro
Glenn’s conversation with Wai Wah Chin
Glenn’s book, The Anatomy of Racial Inequality