Race or Racism?
“Scientific racism” rears its head again! This time around, long-time New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade claims that his noxious ideas are merely the truths laid out in our genes. In this episode, Professor Agustin Fuentes explains why Wade has it all wrong, and comedian Baratunde Thurston says instead of reading Wade you should buy his book, “How to Be Black.” Plus we hear about CEH’s work in support of environmental justice.
If you enjoy this podcast, hear our other recent episodes with Professor Tyrone Hayes, on racist attacks he has suffered; with science-humor writer Mary Roach; on satire, with Harry Shearer; how to save bees, with Harvard professor Alex Lu and beekeeper Steve Ellis; on breast cancer prevention, with Florence Williams, author of “Breasts”; and more!
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Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, author and entrepreneur. He is the former digital director of The Onion and co-founder of Cultivated Wit. Booklist says his book “How to Be Black” is “…a hilarious look at the complexities of contemporary racial politics and personal identity….” He also writes a monthly back page column in Fast Company and contributes to the MIT Media Lab as a director’s fellow. He has advised the Obama White House, has more than 10 years experience in standup comedy, and more than 30 years experience being black.
Agustin Fuentes is the author of numerous books on human and primate biology, including “Race, Monogamy and other lies they told you: busting myths about human nature.” Read his critique of Nicholas Wade’s book here (and his reply to Wade’s reply here), and see a summary of his webinar debate with Wade. You can also find many other critiques of Wade, including this by past podcast guest Professor Jonathan Marks, this by past guest Pete Shanks, and this by John Phillips, writing for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Many thanks to our other guests CEH Board Member Cecil Corbin-Mark, for taking the time to speak to us about environmental racism and environmental justice (learn more about WE Act for Environmental Justice, and the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21); to Nourbese Flint of Black Women for Wellness; Colin Bailey of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water; and to Charlie Pizarro and Laura Hoover of CEH. You can see the trailer for the EJCW documentary Thirsty for Justice to learn more about their work.
See more from Wanda Sykes and check out W. Kamau Bell’s the W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.
Music on this episode includes Sweet Honey in the Rock with “Wade in the Water”; “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” by Nina Simone; My Dream by Common with will.i.am; and The Pride by Chuck D.Tags: humor, race, racism, science