Free Speech and Religion

When the ‘Woke Playbook’ Kills Free Speech

September 7, 2021  • Aspen Ideas to Go

How is social justice best pursued in a time when America is facing a reckoning on race? In today’s cancel culture, many believe making the world a better place means banishing some opinions from the public sphere. John McWhorter, associate professor of English at Columbia University, says this censorious mindset threatens the value of free speech. McWhorter, a linguist and author of over 20 books, speaks with Jane Coaston, host of The New York Times podcast “The Argument,” about pop culture, the philosophy behind free speech, and how college campuses are often where today’s cancel culture frame of mind begins. They also discuss McWhorter’s latest book, “Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter—Then, Now, and Forever.” (Contains explicit language)

This conversation was held on August 12th by the Society of Fellows at the Aspen Institute. The Society of Fellows is a national community of diverse and distinguished leaders who sustain and support the Aspen Institute. Members enjoy unparalleled access to Institute programs and events, including unique experiences with nationally-recognized speakers. Join the Society of Fellows to advance the mission of the Aspen Institute.

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