Thomas Chatterton Williams on Race, Identity, and a Writer’s Vocation


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In this episode of Hardly Working, Brent Orrell is joined by AEI nonresident fellow and cultural critic Thomas Chatterton Williams. Williams’s two books Losing My Cool, published in 2010 and Self Portrait in Black and White, published in 2019, tie together personal memoir and philosophy to provide a fresh perspective on America’s history of racial discrimination and present reckoning with defining race and understanding its impacts. Williams discusses the importance of liberal arts education in shaping his own vocation, his motivation for writing, and importantly, his philosophy on race and identity in America.

Mentioned During the Show

Thomas Chatterton Williams’ AEI Webpage

Self-Portrait in Black and White

Chatterton on Searching for Plato with His Daughter

Bard Prison Initiative Documentary

France’s “Color-Blind” Race Policy

Hillbilly Elegy

The Common Ground of Human Dignity

AEI’s 10th Annual Housing Conference

Brookings’ Study on Housing Appraisals

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