The Afterword Episode 17: Tanner Colby, author of Some of My Best Friends Are Black, Interviewed

Conversations with writers.
Aug. 2 2012 8:45 AM

The Strange Story of Integration in America

An interview with Tanner Colby.

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Listen to Episode 17 of The Afterword:

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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In the summer of 2008, Tanner Colby, whose book The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts had recently made the New York Times best-seller list, watched, donated money to, and generally celebrated Barack Obama’s presidential bid. As he cheered the man who would become America’s first black president, he realized that he didn’t know any black people—not well enough to have visited their homes, at least. So he set out to discover why that was. Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America follows four stories—the history of busing, housing policy, affirmative action in the workplace, and Louisiana’s segregated Roman Catholic parishes—to explore how the legal barriers of Jim Crow were replaced by policies that maintained a separate and unequal status quo. The interview lasts around 35 minutes.

The Afterword, which appears in the Slate daily podcast feed every other Thursday, features interviews with the authors of new nonfiction books. The next guest will be Stephan Talty, talking about his new book Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler & Saved D-Day. That podcast will be live on Aug. 16.

The show’s email address is slateafterword@gmail.com.

Podcast produced by June Thomas. The executive producer of Slate’s podcasts is Andy Bowers.

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