The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.


The old Jim Crow

Why slavery? Marxist scholar Adolph Reed argues that Jim Crow — not enslavement — is the defining experience for Black Americans today. Reed recounts his childhood in the segregation-era South in his book The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives. Fabiola speaks with Reed about his experience, his argument that reparations aren’t necessarily a healing balm, and what policies and resources are needed to create a more equitable society.

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Host: Fabiola Cineas, race and policy reporter, Vox

Guest: Adolph L. Reed Jr., author of The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives


The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives by Adolph L. Reed Jr. (Verso, 2022)

The Marxist Who Antagonizes Liberals and Left (New Yorker)

Black Americans’ views of reparations for slavery (Pew Research)

Library Visit, Then Held at Gunpoint (New York Times, 2015)

The Racial Wealth Gap Is About the Upper Classes (People’s Policy Project, 2020)

Income Inequality and the Persistence of Racial Economic Disparities (Robert Manduca, 2018)


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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Jonquilyn Hill 
  • Engineer: Patrick Boyd
  • Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall

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 2022-09-12  48m