Jun 6, 2022 • 1HR 6M

John McWhorter – Race and Inequality across the Atlantic

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Appears in this episode

Glenn Loury
Weekly conversations on race, inequality, and more, with Glenn Loury. Bi-weekly appearances by John McWhorter.
Episode details

John McWhorter is back once more for an episode of The Glenn Show, so let’s get into it.

I begin by reporting on my current “European Tour.” Last week I spoke at the London School of Economics, and I’m currently headed from Toulouse, France to Marseille to deliver the keynote address at the International Conference on Public Economic Theory. It’s been quite an enlightening experience so far, as I’ve gotten a look at how young black European economists are thinking about inequities within and without their profession. John and I discuss a recent report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which offers a picture of racial disparities in the UK that differs greatly from that of the US. But as John notes, the impression that people abroad have of our problems is often distorted. One of our real problems is our tendency to filter all thinking about race and ethnicity through “blacks and whites.” The US is a much more diverse place that that, and John and I ask how long the concerns of African Americans will determine the national agenda for all “people of color.” Next, John asks a big question: What is the real cause of racial disparities in the commission of violent crime? We know that black perpetrators are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent crime, but we need to understand why. I gently chide John for missing the recent Old Parkland Conference, but he’s got a good excuse: He was busy recording a series of lectures about the history of the alphabet for the Great Courses! I am utterly fascinated by this project, and I convince John to give us a preview. And finally, I offer a critique of John’s recent column, which addresses school shootings.

This one is buoyant and weighty in equal measure. As always, I want to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments!

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0:00 Race and economics in the UK

14:26 How long will the concerns of native-born black Americans drive the race conversation?

23:15 The shaky “people of color” coalition

27:51 Trying to account for racial disparities in the commission of violent crime

39:44 Reclaiming moral agency from white people

42:37 The Old Parkland conference

44:37 John’s forthcoming lectures on the alphabet

51:47 Glenn’s critique of John’s school shooting column

Links and Readings

The “Sewell Report” from the UK’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld’s book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America

Ezra Klein’s interview with Reihan Salam

Glenn and John’s conversation with Randall Kennedy

Ian Rowe’s book, Agency: The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for ALL Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power

John’s recent NYT column, “Gun Violence Is Like What Segregation Was. An Unaddressed Moral Stain.”