Episode 73: Five Pivotal Thinkers On Race With Greg Thomas [The Amiel Show]

This week, writer and public speaker Greg Thomas, CEO of the Jazz Leadership Project, helps me launch a new podcast series on the American experience of race.

Greg provides a refreshing and nuanced take on a complex topic. Listen to him, and you will find that race is not just a political issue or a moral quandary. It also provides a rich opportunity to grow as a leader and live life fully. Whether you consider yourself white, black, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, or just plain Human, dive in with Greg, and you will come out a bit wiser and a lot more curious. Race is not what you think it is.

I met Greg through our shared interest in integral approaches to leadership, culture, and politics. When approaching topics with our “integral” fedoras on, we bring a mix of curiosity and critique. Rather than pick sides, we like to ask, “How is each perspective true, yet also partial? What wisdom does it offer, but also what are its blinders?”

In this conversation, we apply the integral lens to race in America. I call it the True But Partial Game. We explore five leading American thinkers on race. For each, I ask Greg to describe the both the wisdom they offer, and the perspectives that, if meshed with their own, would create a more accurate and pragmatic path forward.

What if we acknowledged both the systemic forces that constrain and the personal gifts and virtues that liberate?

Highlights

  • 1:00 Why a series on race in America?
  • 7:30 Interview begins
  • 15:30 Integral view of race and culture
  • 22:00 “So-called black people” and “so-called white people”
  • 26:30 Whiteness harms white folks
  • 31:30 Na-Nehisi Coates—brilliant, bleak, and still growing?
  • 41:30 Kimberle Crenshaw, “intersectionality,” and victimhood
  • 46:00 Oppression is not a death sentence
  • 50:00 bell hooks—love and the beloved community
  • 1:01:00 John McWhorter—linguist and refreshing independent thinker
  • 1:06:00 Cornel West—brilliant, influential, and stuck in critique

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