Oct 31, 2022 • 1HR 14M

John McWhorter – The Golden Age of Black Heterodoxy

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

I’m back with John McWhorter for the latest installment of our ongoing conversation. John hit some technical snags in the first ten minutes of the recording, so apologies if the beginning sounds a little jumpy. After that, things smooth out. On to the conversation.

We begin by talking about my memoir, which is now, after years of false starts, humming along nicely. But the process has forced me to confront some very dark episodes from my past, and they don’t always cast me in the most flattering light. As I explain, I think that presenting this unvarnished account of my own actions is necessary, both in the service of truth and in building credibility. John says he’ll probably never write a memoir, but I believe that if he sat down to do it, people would be more receptive than he thinks they would. After a rant about the “lightweights” against whom John and I often find ourselves pitted in the public square, we consider that we and people like us are finally making some headway in the conversation about race. Our views are no longer so marginal, and we may even be in, as John says, a “golden age of black heterodoxy.” And speaking of heterodoxy, I recount my recent debate with Shelby Steele, Robert Woodson, and Kmele Foster on “the ethics of racial identity” (watch this space for more soon). We finish the episode with accounts of the strange case of Jessica Krug’s racial masquerade and Darrell Brooks’s pathetic defense in his murder trial.

We get deep in this one. As always, I’m looking forward to your comments.

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0:00 Walking through the valley of the shadow of death

5:20 Earning credibility through self-discrediting disclosure

16:29 The lionization of the lightweights 

21:09 The golden age of black heterodoxy

26:01 The mainstreaming of Glenn and John

37:36 Glenn’s debate with Shelby Steele, Robert Woodson, and Kmele Foster

45:45 Are we ready to “get past race”?

56:03 The strange case of Jessica Krug

1:03:46 Darrell Brooks’s courtroom performance

Links and Readings

The announcement for 2022 Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education

Kmele Foster’s podcast, The Fifth Column

Darrell Brooks’ closing statement at his trial