Resetting the Conversation on Race w/ Kenan Malik & Coleman Hughes

16 Jan 2023 – 18:00 GMT
Intelligence Squared (online)

Does the conversation on race need a reset? That is the question that Coleman Hughes and Kenan Malik will explore when they come to Intelligence Squared on January 16.

Hughes is an acclaimed American writer and podcast host. In 2019 at the age of 23 he testified before Congress against reparations for slavery and has roundly criticised the work of other Black writers on race such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. In his view, their brand of anti-racism encourages a sense of victimhood among Black Americans and sows division between different racial groups.

Malik is a British author and broadcaster, whose new book Not So Black and White explores the history of the idea of race and invites us to challenge many of the assumptions behind today’s culture wars. Are Black or Asian people who are conservative or don’t fit the script in some other way not really Black or Asian but straining to be white, as some anti-racists suggest? Do the current conversations about race hide the reality of class-based injustice? Can we ultimately free ourselves from racial categories while also ridding society of racism?

Join these two original thinkers from both sides of the Atlantic for a conversation on one of the most important issues of our times.
About Not So Black and White

Is white privilege real? How racist is the working class? Why has left-wing antisemitism grown? Who benefits most when anti-racists speak in racial terms?

The ‘culture wars’ have generated ferocious argument, but little clarity. This book takes the long view, explaining the real origins of ‘race’ in Western thought, and tracing its path from those beginnings in the Enlightenment all the way to our own fractious world. In doing so, leading thinker Kenan Malik upends many assumptions underpinning today’s heated debates around race, culture, whiteness and privilege.

Malik interweaves this history of ideas with a parallel narrative: the story of the modern West’s long, failed struggle to escape ideas of race, leaving us with a world riven by identity politics. Through these accounts, he challenges received wisdom, revealing the forgotten history of a racialised working class, and questioning fashionable concepts like cultural appropriation.

Not So Black and White is both a lucid history rewriting the story of race, and an elegant polemic making an anti-racist case against the politics of identity.

About the speakers

Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer, broadcaster and Observer columnist. A former Moral Maze panellist, he has presented BBC Radio 3’s Nightwaves and Radio 4’s Analysis. His previous books include The Quest for a Moral Compass, and From Fatwa to Jihad, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Coleman Hughes is a writer, podcaster and opinion columnist who specialises in issues related to race, public policy and applied ethics. Coleman’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Quillette, The City Journal and The Spectator. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Coleman briefly attended the Juilliard School to study jazz trombone before dropping out to pursue a career as an independent jazz/hip-hop artist. Shortly thereafter, Coleman discovered a passion for applied ethics and public policy at Columbia University, where he graduated with a B.A. in philosophy.

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