Why I'm an optimist
A discussion with Inaya Folarin Iman
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Sometimes, perhaps like you, I find myself feeling very depressed about the state of our politics. The seemingly never-ending rise to dominance of a very crude identity politics, which reduces us all to merely being oppressors or victims based on the colour of our skin, appears unstoppable while the very people who are supposed to be steering us away from this new tribalism and back toward reason and rationality -namely, our intellectual class- are often the strongest supporters of this new creed.
But in recent months I’ve suddenly found myself becoming far more optimistic, and mainly for two reasons. The first has been the rapid flourishing of a new generation of writers and thinkers who no longer depend on the legacy institutions -who no longer need the approval of newspaper editors, established publishers or the universities to have their voice heard. Writing on Substacks, speaking on YouTube, sharing their research on Twitter, or contributing to alternative online platforms, we’re now witnessing the rise of an entirely new and rapidly growing ecosystem which is pushing back against the many misleading narratives in our legacy institutions.
Which brings me to the second reason for my optimism —how young and deeply impressive many of these new thinkers really are. Listening to more than a few of them in recent months has left me feeling more confident than ever that many of the people who dominate our debate, spreading misleading narratives and falsehoods, simply don’t have the arguments to back them up and will, over the longer-term, look increasingly ridiculous and adrift from the underlying evidence.
One such person who is now playing a key role in helping to build this alternative ecosystem is writer, broadcaster and campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman. While you might not know of Inaya you really should, which is why I invited her on.
Inaya is the Founder and Director of The Equiano Project, a forum to promote free speech and open dialogue on race, identity and culture. Its recent conference brought together a long list of many of the most influential writers working on these issues right now, including many writers from minority backgrounds who loathe the new identity politics, such as Coleman Hughes, John McWhorter, and Glenn Loury, among many others. I really enjoyed talking with Inaya about what she’s trying to do, what she’s hoping to achieve and why she is fighting back. If you are interested in things like woke politics, cancel culture, free speech, and what a new generation of Brits from minority backgrounds think about all this you will definitely find it interesting.
Here’s a short preview for our free subscribers while the full hour-long discussion is available right now, below, for our active supporters. Before clicking we’d like to take the opportunity, as always, to thank you for your ongoing support and for helping us to bring voices like these to a much wider audience. Best wishes, Matt
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