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Woke Racism/Ethnic Atlas

Ralph welcomes professor John McWhorter, linguist and author of “Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America” and also Father Al Fritch to talk about his long project mapping and celebrating the various ethnic groups that make up the United States.

John McWhorter is a Professor of linguistics at Columbia University. Professor McWhorter is a columnist for the New York Times, and author of more than a dozen books including Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of EnglishWords on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally), and Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America.

“Many people want to say, ‘Well, what’s wrong with acknowledging racism?’ And the issue is, you can get to the point where you are covering racism, acknowledging racism, showing people that you know what it is to such an excessive and self-centered extent that you’re not really concerned with the people themselves.”

Professor John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America


“Racism does exist in this society in terms of personal racism. There are inequities that are certainly the result of racism in the past. And sometimes racism in the present, although what’s usually called ‘systemic racism’ in terms of the present is too complicated to deserve the name ‘racism.’ These race-based inequities are there. But I think in fifty years when people look back on the mainstream media and its obsessive concern with what it calls ‘racism,’ it’s going to be found peculiar.”

Professor John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America


I would say that, as far as Donald Trump and his obvious, casual, Archie Bunker-style racism, the question is: how did it hurt black America? Now it was rather repulsive to see. But to the extent that you could not say that black America was harmed by how that man felt about black people, it just struck me as not as interesting, not as important as many people seem to think it should be.

Professor John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America


All these people – white and black – are pretending that nothing is ever past. They’re pretending not to understand that people at different points in time, naturally, are going to have failings, compared to how we see things now. And that race is not going to be an exception with those sorts of things. Deep down all those people understand that, but they need to show that racism exists. And there are all sorts of ways of doing it. And if the pickings get slim, next thing you know you’re trying to pull someone’s name off of the building because of one thing that they said in one book in 1943. Because when you do it, even if you don’t get what you want, you have shown that you know that racism exists and has existed. It’s a very narrow way of looking at things, but only in understanding it can we see why so many people are so caught up in such trivia and willing to destroy people’s lives on the basis of it.

Professor John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America

Father Al Fritsch is a chemist, an ordained Jesuit priest, co-founder of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and director of Father Fritsch is the author of numerous books, including The Contrasumers: A Citizens Guide to Resource ConservationHealing Appalachia: Sustainable Living through Appropriate Technology, and co-author (with Janet Kalisz and Mark Spencer) of Ethnic Atlas of the United States: National Maps 1980 – 2020.


It’s important for us to celebrate everyone that we have. Because greater diversity and [mixing] with each other means it’ll be a stronger America. Because we were actually people that were mixed from the beginning. We were not a single culture. we came together as a people, it was a federated situation, and we still have it today.

Father Al Fritch, author of Ethnic Atlas of the United States


Al, there’s so many reasons why you and your colleagues over 40 years have prepared this Ethnic Atlas [of the United States]. You mentioned societies that have diversity of ethnics are often enriched in many ways, not just different kinds of food, different kinds of music, but also different ways of solving human problems, some of which may be better in certain circumstances than others and we can pick it up and learn from each other’s ethnic heritage.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 417 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Bruce K. says:

    Professor John McWhorter should get a real job instead of trying to stake out and beat a pointless, irrelevant identity politics pointless point into something he can leverage to get claps and sell simpleminded books, but I’d dubious he can do anything real or productive.

    If he is not going to get a real job, as a “real professor” maybe he should put some rigor into his silly unqualified overly emotional claims. In my experience a lot of things like this are honest mistakes – because they do not happen all the time or regularly or add up to anything coherent. If there is coherency here, it is the desire of some to undermine the working out of these issues in public – and mock that they are not already worked out or there are error and mistakes made – as with everything.

    Brett Weinstein ( and his weirdo brother ) are complete nuts, I mean Ivermectin nuts, as well as under the wire Right-wing agents of noise and chaos.

    The policing society of supposed heresy is far more Right-Wing intimidation, bullying, attacking of anything relevant to the Right in terms of being a threat, and McWhorter is doing their work for them by helping to cast negativity on things that are new and unmodified and different in order to stop or hinder them from evolving. Scare people about “The Other” … meaning anything that is new or different … like for instance CRT – Critical Race Theory.

    And how does McWhorter know that Black people did better under Trump, or why, than they did under Obama … another Right-wingt talking point. Better as in America has done better when the stock market goes up and billionaires double their wealth and power … that kind of better? And aren’t we past the point where we measure the economy by the President too? Ugh, useless waste of time show.

    • Beto says:

      You are showing your liberal racism.

      • Bruce K. says:

        > You are showing your liberal racism.

        Meaning I am not racist enough for you? 99% of all featherweight Right-winger replies are like this … i.e nothing.

    • Beto says:

      “Professor John McWhorter should get a real job ….” That’s quite an offensive thing to say to a highly regarded black (actually mulato) academic. It’s proof of many liberals’ condescending attitudes toward so-called people of color who don’t follow the rule imposed by whites.

      • Bruce K. says:

        Bait-o, the troll, uses the M-word, but my comment is the offensive one. A competent moderator would understand who and what Bait-o is.

  2. Wanda says:

    Thanks, Bruce K. I’m trying to be objective here but I am not crazy or happy about what I just heard for the last hour+ either.

  3. J Nishikawa says:

    So the first example is about a Japanese person in Japan given a US BIPOC treatment. Like the majority of social media, if there’s a message it’s buried in muddy water. Surveillance, defamation, doxxing, cancelling, harassment, entrapment, lying, exploiting, violence, terrorizing, theft, intimidation, harassment, all is unacceptable, is criminal, from any person regardless of their political position, their mother tongue, their fatherland, their class, regardless. While social media likes to throw around ‘trash talking’ like it’s the gossips with nothing more productive to set their idle hands to causing nothing but trouble in the good community, the injustice and the severity meted out over the last twenty years by everyone via IT is unconscionable. And as everyone is gaming there are no plain direct dialogues with clean information. If any one person who actually was given the spotlight on the social media, streaming platforms was held to account regarding illegal surveillance and creative information, there would be a refreshing silence upon this wretched earth.

  4. John Puma says:

    To: site administration

    What is the meaning of the message, reproduced below, that I have receive for a second time, upon clicking the “Post Comment” button. This time on an older thread. I don’t remember the circumstances of the first time.

    Access Denied
    This site is protected by the Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin.
    Allow Request

    You have been blocked from entering information on this site. In order to prevent this from happening in the future, complete the request below to have the admin add your IP to a list that allows you full access.

    Please enter your email address and a short note requesting access here.
    Email Address (required):

  5. David Faubion says:

    Thank you Professor John McWhorter for all your leading-edge work, which includes pointing out the major nightmare in the woke-ness of whites and likely some people of color, too. So, I would like to ask you, Professor, and Ralph, Steve, David, and listeners whether my particular activism, the account of which follows, would fall into the category of woke racism.
    My county library was late in posting an in-library and online tribute to Black History Month–by about two weeks, and it failed to post anything for it last year. So this year I made my dissatisfaction known to the administration and other staff. I pointed out that in contrast, they had a valentines day display by mid-January through the month of February.
    I guess I should take some solace in the fact that right on 03/01 they had posted a fine display of books for Woman’s History Month. Furthermore, the books, shortlived as they were, for Black History Month were stellar and abundant.
    In Multiculture We Trust,
    David Faubion

    • Beto says:

      Any racial designation is based on a lie. Racial is a social construct, the woke tell us over and over while pushing for identity politics based…on race!!! I work for a government entity and had to endure an indoctrination session on this topic. If anything, it made me more aware of race and the left’s intellectual dishonesty.

  6. Mike McQuillan says:

    “It’s very easy to fall for an idea that what makes you important is your status as a victim.” (Somewhere around the 19 minute mark)

  7. Kirby Washington says:

    Can’t figure out how the smart set of guys that put on this show would fall for a guy like John McWhorter, who can’t see much more than his own ego. Ralph, how about honoring your own curiosity and bring on Robin DiAngelo and the other authors McWhorter has trashed? This is the most low quality show I’ve heard on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

  8. Don Harris says:

    Even though I only made it about halfway through the Prof. McWhorter segment before skipping ahead to the next guest, it is good to be offered different opinions.

    One issue that Ralph has not offered different opinions on is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    Ralph has had more than one guest on from Move to Amend and other guests have mentioned such an amendment as Col. Wilkerson did in the Twenty Dollars and Change program.

    When your guests talk about this amendment, I post comments asking you address my differing opinion on this amendment as I did again on the Twenty Dollars and Change program.

    Please address my objections and explain why I am wrong if I am wrong.

    One objection I have is that the amendment(s) say that money is not to be considered free speech.

    The purpose of this seems to be that the Citizens United ruling was based on the concept of money in the form of political contributions being free speech and that saying money is not speech would make it possible for Congress to limit big money contributions as there would no right to make political contributions under this amendment.

    But it also means that I no longer have a right to make political contributions.

    If i am right that under this amendment there would no right to make political contributions then this amendment is a bad idea as it takes away what I consider to be an important right.

    If I am wrong and there is some other part of the Constitution that gives citizens the right to make political contributions without political contributions being free speech then the amendment is pointless because it would not accomplish the goal as the goal that would be accomplished by taking away the concept of money being free speech would not eliminate political contributions as a right.

    So which is it, Ralph?

    Is the amendment taking away an important protection which would make it not worth supporting or is it not going to be effective in accomplishing it’s stated goal which would also make it not worth supporting?

    • David Faubion says:

      Thank you 😊 Beto for your timely clarification in the face of rash opinion. Radio Hour listeners by now ought to know that Ralph reads the current book of or takes a close look at the groundbreaking activism of all his guests. Have a little faith and listen again if necessary. Professor McWhorter has studied the matter and
      Penguin 🐧 has published it.

    • Eve says:

      ageed… 100% ^

  9. Peter Lehmann says:

    Prof. John McWhorter made one statement in the radio show today that I think needed to be corrected. Neither Ralph Nader nor the other co-hosts questioned his opinion in line with the unscientific conclusions of the US government adopted by the major media.

    He said that the pandemic is over. This is false. This past Monday, the 7-day average of daily new deaths from the Omicron subvariant BA.2 per 1 million people in Hong Kong reached 29.18. This is nearly triple the peak in the U.S. on Jan. 13, 2021 equal to 10.22. It is only a matter of time before there is a similar surge of deaths in the U.S as the BA.2 variant is also present in the U.S . This is especially true given that all mitigation measures, except vaccinating, in the U.S. are being ended, and the current vaccines do not prevent infection. The infections lead to the development of further variants that are different enough to get around the effectiveness of a previous vaccination or infection by an earlier variant.

  10. Don Harris says:

    Concerning your recent blog “Biden Neglects to make the Crucial request to the Citizenry for his Program”- try looking in the mirror.

    When it comes to getting the big money out of politics you have failed to engage the people as an ally to confront the policy opponents in Congress.

    What you could say is:

    Citizens should demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with their votes.

    What you are wanting from Biden would not be consistent with his long standing policy of being a policy opponent to getting big money out of politics because he works for the big money interests.

    You saying citizens should demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with their votes however would actually be consistent with your statement made on multiple occasions that politicians want our votes more than big money.

    Why is Biden more consistent than your are?

  11. Eve Teresa says:

    This was one of the worst shows I have heard from Nader and I am a fan also coming from a Lebanese background. Its unfortunate to see a Lebanese person align with white supremacist narrative as it has proven to not be effective in the long run and has mostly hurt the middle eastern people in general. I find it to be arrogant and misaligned. As a middle class person (which barely exists nowadays) it is easy to hide within the padding of a classist narrative and not feel quite as “othered”. It is blind sighted and misguided unfortunately. Not everywhere in America employs “wokeness”.  When I briefly lived in a small town in Alabama I learned of a grade school teacher who was using the “n” word in her class repeatedly with a black student who had to vehemently defend herself and should not have had to do this. The town of this school was in a sundown town where they had displayed a sign at the court house that used to sit on each side of the town (10-15 years prior) that said “if your black, dont let the sun go down on your back” the local courthouse also displayed the confederate flag in flowers. It was a quaint “German” town. This was 20 years ago, this racist “pride” does not go away. When I see those protesting parents in Texas and other states who wish not to talk about race I think about how racism is employed in these towns by people in authority and how they are now using it to perpetuate this white supremacist authority and hurtfulness.  Perhaps where Nader and McWhorter live they have not seen this behavior or have not had to experience it due to their class or location? This interview does a disservice to the black and brown people who do not live a privileged life and it is clear that both men in this conversation do not have the ability to see this detriment. McWhorters examples of not being hurt by the use of the n word and his other example of how disgraceful it is that people want to change the name of the city of “Columbus” Ohio are disgusting comments and should not have a platform on this show, especially if Nader regards himself as an ally to native people…maybe McWhorter would do better on Fox news but not on the Nader Radio Hour. Not only does McWhorter disrespect black people he is disrespecting native people with his comments and needs to stop.  His obliviousness looks as if it has benefitted him financially but it only kicks people down who are beneath him. Native people are murdered at an even higher rate than black people (by population). I am sorry the direness of this situation is not able to be seen. People are doing everything they can to discontinue this sickening white supremacist narrative and clearly McWhorter is not helping

    • Wanda says:

      I listened to the interview again – even the extended conversation. I must agree with Eve Teresa. I think place names of people who raped (Jefferson) or slaughtered (Columbus) vulnerable people should be changed. Our democracy didn’t turn out so great since it is indeed collapsing as we speak. And it has hurt and killed so many along the way. Our forefathers really didn’t do so well after all in my opinion. Even York after saving their lives countless times on the Corps of Discovery expedition had to go back into slavery for years once the expedition was over despite begging for his freedom (which he finally did get but just in time to die not long after).

      As far as upspeak. Ralph mentioned a podcast months ago for us listeners to consider. I thought what the person was saying (about corporate corruption of a certain industry and manipulation of facts) was wonderful and fascinating. But I couldn’t listen for more than 10-15 minutes which was really too bad. I hated to turn it off but the upspeak was so distracting. If upspeak, as McWhorter thinks, is an unconscious way of being polite, it’s a very odd way of trying to see if the other person is with you.

  12. James says:

    Fortunately, all comments irrationally railing against Professor McWhorter can be disregarded with an immediate handwave by those who have actually engaged with McWhorter’s entire body of work, which is a voluminous, scholarly, and evidence-based corrective to the woke virus that has had a much longer life than Covid 19.

  13. Martin says:

    Yes, Eve Teresa is completely right. This was a “jump the shark” episode for Ralph, and by silent complicity his co-hosts. On, and by the way, “ethnic atlas” my ass.

  14. Fascinating to read the comments to this episode.

    IMHO, Ralph and crew were demonstrating progressive diversity of opinion and depth by having Professor McWhorter on the show.

    As I like to point out, McWhorter is not that far off from Adolph Reed, Jr. Professor Reed is a Marxist Emeritus Black Professor at an Ivy League institution who has been around for longer than the 5 minutes that DiAngelo, Coates, and Kendi have been around in aggregate who decries race reductionism. If a commentator would “cancel” Reed (McWhorter) like the NYC Chapter of the DSA canceled Reed then that commentator is likely living in their own Twitter bubble.