Glenn Loury speaking on race at Stanford CASBS

How does racial inequality manifest itself in today’s America? What does this mean for the future of American democracy?

On Tuesday, January 26, Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences hosted its second symposium of the academic year – “Racial Inequality in 21st Century America: Where do we go from Here?”  Distinguished economist–and new RBC member–Glenn Loury is spending the year at CASBS. He gave an extended presentation on such matters, with a particular focus on disparities in incarceration.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

2 thoughts on “Glenn Loury speaking on race at Stanford CASBS”

  1. If anyone happens upon a transcript, please post the link Video is glacially slow on my system and also I prefer text. I googled and did not find.

  2. Excellent. This is the Loury I love. I used to blog on what I called "societal capital", which was an amalgamation of all forms of capital of which self-efficacy and determination are a function: financial, community, parental, human, etc. Unwittingly I was engaging with ideas he had pioneered and championed. Indeed, this framework cuts across right and left as its philosophical fulcrum is both social and individual. I've since discovered behaviorism* (indeed becoming certified), and feel passionately that it provides the hard scientific backbone of this fulcrum, with regards to the minutia of how one's capital develops and interacts with one's environment. I identify deeply with Glenn's …(I feel like calling him by his first name because of the hours I've spent over the years watching his bloggingheads show – those involving Harold are always my favorite!) … Glenn's description of the sense one might have that we do a great disservice to the young wayward man/woman when we fail both to account for the historical institutional forces as well as the the current behavioral dynamics that are just as strong a dynamic in the ongoing suffering both of the subject and society. I too feel a deep frustration that simplistic group-think on race is often cartoonish.

    I can't help but feel this comes mainly out of Ignorant Fear – racism is a product of ignorance and therefore to be anti-racist is to be anti-ignorance and so I must pretend I am not ignorant lest I be labeled a racist. And the interplay of race and class is maybe the most complex of human subjects, both empirically and philosophically. Class has always been about groups of people, and race is both a marker and disguiser of historical facts; to be black or white is representative of certain things, but different things depending upon what kind of experiences you have had, or more simply, what access you have had to different forms of capital.

    * The politics of behaviorism is in itself fascinating. I love telling people on the left who admire Chomsky that for all his progressive credibility, to the extent that he derailed popular embrace of the behaviorism through his popular yet deeply mistaken critique, in a practical sense he set back the cause of humanism and the tools of achieving a better world inestimably. That psychology and education are essentially ignorant of the basic principles and laws governing the behavior of the people they are supposed to understand is to me rather frightening. But this is another subject entirely! (Also, I couldn't find much behavioral science in Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Curious.)

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