The Unspeakable with Meghan Daum
The Unspeakable Podcast
The "Right Kind" of Black Person

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The "Right Kind" of Black Person

Erec Smith on prescriptive racism.

📣 Paid subscribers get full access to my interview with Erec Smith who is one of our guest speakers at The Unspeakeasy retreat in Chicago. If you’re interested in going, learn more here.

The first half of this episode is available to all listeners. To hear the entire conversation, become a paying subscriber here.

This week I welcome returning guest Erec Smith. He is an academic who studies Rhetoric, but he also writes and speaks frequently about the state of race politics in America — particularly the perils (and uses) of DEI. In this conversation, we talk about the concept of prescriptive racism, which Erec wrote about in a recent Boston Globe column, and ask whether the emergence of the concept of microaggressions has resulted mainly in people steering clear of one another.

We also discuss what’s happened on college campuses since Erec was on the podcast a year ago, including the ouster of college presidents like Harvard’s Claudine Gay and U Penn’s Liz Magill over free speech policies. He also discusses what he was like as a college student carrying around a copy of Emerson’s Self-Reliance and how he would have felt if he’d been told that he was living under the thumb of white supremacy.

Erec will be a guest speaker at the first-ever Unspeakeasy coed retreat in Chicago on June 4-5. We’ll also be joined by recent Unspeakable guests Nadine Strossen and Lisa Selin Davis. To find out about that go to

Make sure you listen all the way to the end, so you can hear an excerpt from Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist from the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q.

Guest Bio

Erec Smith is a professor of rhetoric at York College of PA, a research scholar at the Cato Insitute, and a co-founder and an editor at Free Black Thought.

Read Erec’s recent Boston Globe column on prescriptive racism.

Listen to the last time he was on the podcast.

Erec Smith discuss DEI’s prescriptive racism in regards to “the Black experience.” His Boston Globe oped argues we can achieve “diversity without erasing individuality.”

Want to go to the Chicago retreat and meet Erec, Nadine Strossen and Lisa Selin Davis in person? Apply now.



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The Unspeakable with Meghan Daum
The Unspeakable Podcast
The Unspeakable Podcast is a weekly interview show hosted by writer Meghan Daum. It's a place for conversations with writers, scientists, philosophers, artists and all kinds of interesting people about topics that have been deemed "unspeakable." Of the many podcasts offering nuanced conversations, this is the only one with official Nuanced AF merchandise available at the Nuance Store.
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