John McWhorter || Nasty Words

June 14, 2021

John McWhorter teaches linguistics, philosophy, and music history at Columbia University, and writes for various publications on language issues and race issues such as Time, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, CNN, and the Atlantic. He told his mother he wanted to be a “book writer” when he was five, and is happy that it worked out.


  • Why John wrote a book on profanity
  • Why we call it “swearing”
  • Why people love the f-word
  • How profanity “lives in the right brain”
  • Why slurs sometimes become terms of affection
  • Why every culture has slurs
  • Why John thinks “the elect” is doing harm to society
  • How to balance contrasting perspectives on racism
  • John and Scott discuss the victim mentality
  • Discerning between fact and fiction in racial justice

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