Four decades ago, Glenn C. Loury became the first tenured black professor of economics in Harvard’s history. Ever since then, he has made waves for his willingness to buck the elite intellectual establishment; for his iconoclastic ideas about race and inequality; and for his incisive cultural criticism.
He is a man of seeming contradictions: he rails against the divisiveness of woke politics from his post at Brown University, one of America’s most left wing campuses. He worries about what the death of God means for the country -- though he calls his own past religious beliefs a “benevolent self-delusion.” In the 80s, Glenn challenged his fellow black Americans to combat the “enemy from within,” while he himself battled demons like adultery and addiction.
But Glenn’s ability to re-examine his positions and look at his own past with clear eyes is hardly a fault. Glenn is a man who, in a time of lies told for the sake of political convenience, strives to tell the truth even when the truth is hard. Or complicated. Or an affront to our feelings. Or contradicts what we wish were true.
In today’s conversation: race, racism, Black Lives Matter, school choice, standardized tests, crack, sexual infidelity, Christianity, the Nation of Islam, neoconservatism, Harvard, groupthink, and pretty much every other hot-button subject you can imagine. Plus, Glenn’s own remarkable life story.