Dec 28, 2020 • 1HR 17M

Podcast countdown to 2021 - day 3, Thomas Chatterton Williams: beyond black and white

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Razib Khan
Conversations about science, culture, and current affairs
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But he does look good in black and white, doesn’t he?

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In anticipation of releasing new podcasts in 2021, including with Armand Leroi and Alina Chan, I’ve been reposting some of my favorite conversations of the past few years in the last week of the current year. I'm counting down to the new year here by re-releasing a favorite past episode from the archives of my other podcast homes each day until 2021. Hope you'll discover a memorable voice or two you might have missed before. If they weren’t famous to you before, I hope they are now.


Some guests need no introduction. In 2020, Thomas Chatterton Williams is one of those individuals. But back in March of 2019, when we talked for 1 hour and 15 minutes he was neither quite as internet-notorious nor as widely fêted. The author of two books, Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd and Self-Portrait in Black and White: Family, Fatherhood, and Rethinking Race, Thomas has also become renowned and reviled for his role in organizing “the letter”, which made a calm plea for open debate and discussion on the Left.

Since reaching that level of visibility in the summer of 2020 Thomas has been caught up in a series of “internet-controversies.” But as much as I appreciate his cool under social-media pressure, there has always been a lot more to him than internet drama, and over the course of our discussion, we get into his background as a mixed-race black American, his ex-pat life in France and the birth of his “white presenting” children.

Also, if you were too busy over the holidays, my series of five quick pieces from this holiday season:

The Age of Genetic Engineering Begins

The Original Chinese Man

Applying IQ to IQ

Your Roots are Showing

In Gods We Trusted

One reason I shared this sampler of my writing was to leave those considering a subscription plenty of time to grab one at Substack’s lowest rates before I adjust the pricing upward in the new year.

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