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Identity Politics in New York

Tom Sutcliffe in New York with novelist Colson Whitehead, philosopher and 2016 Reith Lecturer Kwame Anthony Appiah, political commentator Heather Mac Donald and lawyer Jim Zirin.

In a special edition of Start the Week recorded in New York, Tom Sutcliffe explores the impact of identity politics in America. This year's BBC Reith Lecturer Kwame Anthony Appiah explores the shifting sands of identity through creed, country, colour and culture, and considers the mistakes we make when we think of them as fixed. The US best-selling novelist Colson Whitehead turns to the question of race, the founding of America, and the history of slavery with The Underground Railroad. The political commentator Heather Mac Donald describes herself as a secular conservative and warns that race-based attacks on the criminal justice system are eroding the authority of the law and putting more lives at risk, while the lawyer Jim Zirin attacks the make-up of the Supreme Court, arguing that the judges are informed more by their political identity, than Constitutional law.
Producer: Katy Hickman.

Available now

43 minutes

Kwame Anthony Appiah

This year’s BBC Reith Lecturer is Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist.

The Reith Lectures begin on Tuesday 18 October at 9.00am on Radio 4.

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is a novelist.

The Underground Railroad is published by Fleet.

Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

The War on Cops is published by Encounter Books.

James Zirin

James Zirin is a lawyer.

Supremely Partisan is published by Rowman & Littlefield.


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Colson Whitehead
Interviewed Guest Kwame Anthony Appiah
Interviewed Guest Heather Mac Donald
Producer Katy Hickman