Culture Wars/Current Controversies

What is Systemic Racism and How Pervasive Is it? A Polite Argument With Glenn Loury

Today’s guest is Glenn Loury, professor of economics at Brown University. Prof. Loury has had a distinguished career—he was the youngest-ever tenured Black economics professor at Harvard and is known for coining the term “social capital.” Prof. Loury is generally associated with political conservatism, but his books The Anatomy of Racial Inequality and Race, Incarceration, and American Values actually offer a rebuke to conservative “color blindness” rhetoric and sketch precise explanations for why contemporary racial inequality can only be understood in the context of historical racism. In this interview, Nathan tries to get at some of the seeming contradictions between Prof. Loury’s written work on systemic racial inequality and his public statements heavily emphasizing the role of “culture.” It is a contentious and challenging conversation. The Anatomy of Racial Inequality was recently reissued with a new preface:… Prof. Loury’s 2012 lecture “Race, Incarceration, and American Values,” can be found here:… This conversation originally aired on the Current Affairs podcast: If you like Current Affairs be sure to subscribe to our print edition:

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