“Looking for a racist in modern-day America is like searching for a witch in Salem.” In early November, as part of Belmont Hill’s new speaker program, Glenn Loury spoke at Chapel about the current political climate in the United States. As shown in the quote above, he brought a new perspective to the political conversation at Belmont Hill. Whereas in the past, only progressive speakers like Ibram X. Kendi have spoken to a school-wide audience, Loury’s conservative opinion on the state of racism and inequality in the country has shifted the dynamic around political thought on campus.
Glen Loury is an economist, author, and professor at Brown University. As an economist, he specializes in game theory, microeconomics, and managing natural resources. However, Dr. Loury is more known for his social and political beliefs, as shown in his five books, including Race, Incarceration, and American Values and The Anatomy of Racial Inequality. Most recently, he has gained popularity in his debates with leading progressive thinkers, such as Kendi, who addressed the school last year. Instead of focusing on actively working against the inequality between races, Dr. Loury believes in the slow “deracialization” of the country and society. While Kendi argues for programs that specifically aid minorities in need, Loury believes that we can achieve racial equity without forcing inequality in the process. Outside of economics, Loury shared his opinions on gun violence and policing.
Despite a seemingly intolerant stance on those who disagree with him, in a follow-up small group discussion, Loury shared that his wife was completely progressive. Overall, Loury’s speech was very well received. Mr. Sullivan, a faculty DEI organizer, commented, “part of our hope was that Professor Loury’s address would spark conversation and encourage students to engage in the discussion of challenging issues rather than silently disagreeing. We can only build consensus and solve problems through collective engagement, and my sense is that Professor Loury’s address was an important contribution toward greater community dialogue on campus.” In the past two years, many conservative students have cited that the current DEI curriculum, speaker series, and environment on campus have quieted their opinion. Loury’s speech marks a clear shift in this trend: although not all agreed with his ideas, his words have prompted many more to speak up, and he has cleared the way for more freedom of speech at Belmont Hill.