Jump to content

The Burden of Self-Knowledge


Recommended Posts

The Glenn Show

with John McWhorter
Glenn Loury

Mar. 21 2023

The question of lagging black academic performance is often treated as an empirical one. What accounts for dispiriting test results in lower income black communities? Is it a lack of economic resources and social capital? Is it inherited cognitive ability? The empirical causal question is important, but it is not the most urgent problem we now face. Because to truly answer that question, African Americans must first be willing to find out who they really are, and they must be willing to risk discovering that they are not yet who they want to be.

I know whereof I speak. There have been moments in my life where I stepped up to a challenge and failed. I’ve experienced paralyzing doubts about my own abilities. I’ve found myself in positions where I felt patronized, as though allowances had to be made for my perceived shortcomings. In that, I am no different from anyone else, white, black, or any other color. We all face adversity of one kind or another; we’re all mired in a struggle, if not for bare survival, then to define for ourselves what it means to be alive, to know ourselves. That’s the human condition.

To turn away from that struggle is to turn away from your own humanity. What I fear is not that black Americans will fail to measure up. I fear that we’ll never know if they do, because they will not confront the struggle head on. The burden African Americans now carry is the burden of proving to themselves that they can confront the struggle on its own terms and say honestly that they did not back down, whatever the outcome. I have faith that, when that day comes, we’ll prove our mettle. But we cannot afford to delay the confrontation any longer.

Glenn Loury and John McWhorter discuss the difference between equality and equity.

Full episode: https://glennloury.substack.com/p/joh...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1695492292
  • Create New...