Free Minds & Free Markets

23-Year-Old Coleman Hughes Is Reframing the Discussion on Race: Podcast

Meet the undergrad who is recovering the legacy of gay, socialist civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin while explicating Kanye West's conservatism.

In today's Reason Podcast, I talk with Coleman Hughes, a 23-year-old junior at Columbia University who has emerged over the past year as one of the most prolific and insightful commentators on race and class in the United States.

He's analyzed the relatively forgotten legacy of the gay, socialist, anti–affirmative action civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin for The New York Times, discussed the "colorblind legacy" of Martin Luther King, Jr., in The Wall Street Journal, and published a growing list of articles on everything from Kanye West's conservatism to the racial wealth gap at the heterodox website Quillette.

We talk about his childhood in New Jersey, the climate for free speech on today's campuses, playing trombone in a Charles Mingus tribute band that plays Mondays in New York, and more.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes.

Listen via Stitcher by going here or clicking below.

Listen at SoundCloud below:

Photo credit: Coleman Hughes.

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

Subscribe at Apple Podcasts.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at Google.

Subscribe and listen at Spotify.

Listen via FeedPress.

Follow us at SoundCloud.

Subscribe at YouTube.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Coleman Hughes, Facebook

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Knutsack||

    I'll Google this, but what is heterdox?

    I guess I'm not up on the newest wokeness.

  • Knutsack||

    Ha! Okay, I guess I'm not up on my language. I shouldn't assume that all words aren't being made up or appropriated by the woke ones.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    This is hilarious on multiple levels.

  • Ray McKigney||

    "Multiple"!? You kids and your crazy made-up lingo!

  • Knutsack||

    Right. Hilarious because of my stupidity, but also because it could be something.

    Look, I feel dumb, but who can blame me in these times in which we're living.

  • Knutsack||

    I'll Google this, but what is heterdox?

    I guess I'm not up on the newest wokeness.

  • Jerryskids||

    I gotta play the odds. He's a 23-year old college junior, I'm old. What are the odds that a 23-year old's saying anything worth spending my fast-dwindling reserves of time on listening to?

  • Eddy||

    I don't know, how about "I am a young woman with serious Daddy issues, you wanna come home to my place?"

  • Jerryskids||

    The last time I heard that from a young lady, it turns out he wasn't actually 23, he was 30. And that was only the second most disappointing part of the lie.

  • Eddy||

    Was her name Sheena, by any chance?

  • Sevo||

    Bruce. The name was Bruce.

  • ||

    I'm north of my mid 40s and yeah. 23 year-olds are way too young to be teaching me anything.

    He may be bright and interesting but few kids possess wisdom and still less experience.

  • Zeb||

    There are other things of value besides wisdom and experience. Sometimes a person lacking experience can see things that more experienced people will not see because of habits and filters developed over the years. And you won't know unless you look.

    Also, as much as I hate to say it, people's mental abilities (or at least certain analytical and creative abilities) are at their peak in their 20s. Most great mathematicians, for example, do their most significant work in their 20s. We may be getting wiser, but we are also getting stupider, weaker and more set in our ways.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    This is a pretty ignorant attitude. Do you think your life trajectory is the only one that provides valuable lessons? Or what if you want to learn a new skill?

  • Zeb||

    Rufus wants you to get off his lawn.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Mathematicians can become stars in their fields in their 20's, because mathematics is easy to objectively evaluate. If success in your field boils down to getting everyone to say that your subjective insight is correct, you have to wait until the older generation moves on before everyone leading the field will like your work.

  • Zeb||

    That's part of it, but pure ability is a bigger part, I think. The other side of the objective nature of math is that you can also judge pretty well when someone can't do it as well as he once did.

  • ||

    I knew this was going to ruffle some but I stand by what I said.

    Wisdom and experience may not be the only metrics but they're the ones that matter most. I'm not saying I'd dismiss anyone of that age outright either.

    I was 23. I'm not anymore. My comment is directly based on acquired knowledge. How can it be ignorant?

  • Ray McKigney||

    my fast-dwindling reserves of time

    You consider commenting at an irrelevant pseudo-libertarian website a worthwhile use of those reserves?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    As Tim Cavanaugh of Reason once quipped, "... With all of the hard-won wisdom of a college Junior"

  • Ecoli||

    I watched Dave Rubin interview this guy. He is an interesting guy; so is Dave Rubin.

  • Mongo||

    Sorry but I have yet to hear an interesting podcast from anyone including Reason (I've listened to enuff of them over the years).

    Too long and in major need of editing for one thing.

    I won't follow up on any suggestions having wasted time on Maron and other comics' long-winded shows.

    I guess people like that format....

  • Mongo||

    NPR podcasts had the more interesting ones but, unless it's a topic I'm really into, still fall short.

  • Ray McKigney||

    Russ Roberts has some good ones at Econtalk.

  • Mongo||

    I have zero interest in econ, markets, or finances.

  • Zeb||

    I think the length and unedited-ness are selling points for many podcast listeners.

  • Vernon Depner||

    For real. In a world of soundbites, GIFs, and Photoshop, an actual at-length conversation is refreshing and engaging for many of us.

  • Juice||

    Sorry but I have yet to hear an interesting podcast from anyone

    Hardcore History, man. Interesting af.

  • Mongo||

    History topics need accompanying visuals.

  • Obama ate a dog||

    Hard Pass.

  • awildseaking||

    Saw him on Rubin, not worth listening to, just like most people under the age of 60. Saying this as a 25 y/o.

  • NashTiger||

    I'm officially a Grumpy Old Man.

    There is no way a 23yo can give me any worthwhile insight, especially from a historical perspective

  • Uncle Adolf’s Gas and Grill||

    Meh. You might be better served by spending an hour listening to ZMan's podcast on Right Wing Economics

  • Sevo||

    Transcript, please.

  • nicmart||

    It's always great to listen to Nick peppering guests with questions they barely get time to answer. Nothing like a conversation develops, and nothing gets deep. Lotsa Nick, though.

  • Davidprej||

    I love listening to these podcasts and I think Nick G. is a very intelligent and perceptive questioner. I just wish he'd work on improving his speaking skills. You need 4 digits to count the "you know"s in an hour podcast. And the starting, stopping,'s almost makes we turn it off.

    Sorry to get personal, but if someone speaks for a living, they should learn how to do it well.

  • Azathoth!!||

    He's a young black man saying the things that get older white men called 'racist'.

    Wait-- I left out the word 'another'.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online