You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Ibram X Kendi – Antiracism 101

For too long, we've treated racism as a personality trait or a vague systemic menace rather than the result of policies and ideas created deliberately to benefit some groups at the expense of others. As a result, too many anti-racist efforts have collapsed into name-calling sessions, failing to achieve their goals. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Antiracist, sees a better way.

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I grew up in the almost entirely white suburbs of 1980's Bethesda, Maryland thinking of myself and my world as 100% not racist. It's hard to notice what's missing: for example pretty much any black or brown people anywhere I went except on vacation, in spite of the fact that we were right next to Washington DC. At some point in middle school I learned that my Jewish dad had been unwelcome at the most popular local country club, and so chosen another, less popular one that admitted Jews at the time. But this seemed like a weird anomaly, and boo hoo about not getting your first choice of country club anyway, right?

Then, at 16, I had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Anacostia, DC and was astonished to find it wasn't the "war zone" I'd been told it was throughout the Reagan years. To see people walking calmly to the grocery store or chatting on the corner. No guns. No open air drug markets, whatever those were. Racism, gender bias, economic elitism—they're not anomalies. They're cultural, economic, political, psychological. But as Paul Simon—a favorite songwriter of mine who some see as the poster boy for cultural appropriation once wrote: "well, breakdowns come and breakdowns go, so, what are you gonna do about it? That's what I'd like to know."

My guest today is Ibram X Kendi. he's been working on these problems for a long time, and he's developed some powerful ideas and methods for solving them. Ibram won the National Book award, he's the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University in Washington DC, and he's the author of the important new book How to be an Anti-Racist.

Surprise conversation starters in this episode:

A read excerpt from MINDF*CK: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America, by Christopher Wylie

How does academic freedom change society for good?

Even the most controversial research conducted by scholars can impact cultures and drive progress.

Videos
  • Academic freedom is, at the same time, absolutely critical and underappreciated.
  • This protection drives innovation and progress, but do we take it for granted? Scholars' ability to conduct controversial research impacts culture and society in a positive way.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie: the cognitive segregation of America

A talented young programmer, Christopher Wylie found himself at the center of a complex plot to overturn the cultural order in the United States and Europe—one that most likely tipped the scales on Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.

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men, masculinity, and the unfinished conversation, with Liz Plank

Progress for women can only go so far while men still struggle with ideals of masculinity that teach violence and emotional disconnect. Liz Plank is trying to change the conversation.

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In the past half century or so feminism has had its hands plenty full dealing with the abuse and inequality women suffer at the hands of horribly behaved men and the systems they build. Too full to worry much about what the hell is going on inside those men and why. And there are powerful arguments to be made for the fact that it is not women's responsibility to help men figure out how not to be monsters.

But I've noticed an interesting shift in the discourse lately. In the wake of the MeToo movement (things happen fast these days…that blew up at scale in 2017), some threads of the public conversation have turned toward what my guest today might talk about in terms of the gender ecosystem, the ways that ideas about gender shape our identities and behavior and the fact that those behaviors impact everyone in society for better and worse. Regardless of whose responsibility it is to solve these problems, the question of where masculinity goes from here should matter to everyone.

My guest today is journalist and cultural critic Liz Plank. she was named one of Forbes' 30 under 30, has produced and hosted multiple acclaimed digital series for Vox, and is the author of the new book FOR THE LOVE OF MEN: a new vision of mindful masculinity.

the Epicurean cure for what ails ya, with philosopher Catherine Wilson

From atomic theory to evolution to utilitarian pragmatism, the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was way ahead of his time. In the writings of his school, philosopher Catherine Wilson finds answers to many of our most vexing modern problems.

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