John McWhorter – Glenn and John Go Across the Pond
After a month-long hiatus, I’m back with John McWhorter for our first new episode of 2023. John and I actually saw each other during our break, when we both spoke at the Equiano Project’s annual conference hosted at Emmanuel College and King’s College of Cambridge University. It was a fascinating event, full of speakers and attendees of every color who nevertheless question the prevailing orthodoxies on race. John was especially taken by the conference atmosphere, in which he didn’t feel he that he risked giving offense by speaking his mind on race matters.
After discussing the conference, we get into a few hot topics, like the former art history instructor who sued Hamline University after she was fired for showing students a medieval painting depicting the Prophet Muhammad in class and the question of just how comfortable Joe Biden is among black people. We spend some time on cultural matters, too, exploring the relationship between the writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the politics of Black Studies programs and the influence of an early black-written, jazz-inflected musical on the sound and style of Broadway.
It’s good to be back with John after the hiatus. As always, I’m looking forward to reading your comments.
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0:00 Glenn and John go to Cambridge
9:25 The Hamline University Prophet Muhammad controversy
14:38 John: “Physics is physics”
18:45 The Harlem Renaissance and Black Studies
26:35 Is “getting past race” more trouble than it’s worth?
36:51 Is Joe Biden patronizing black people?
42:59 How a black musical changed the sound of Broadway
Recorded January 20, 2023
Links and Readings
Arnold Rampersad’s biography of Langston Hughes
John’s 2002 City Journal piece, “The Mau-Mauing at Harvard”
Glenn and John’s recent conversation with Greg Thomas
Caseen Gaines’s book, When Broadway Was Black