The Gist

Define the Police

Can ‘Defund the Police’ last if its meaning is so vague?


Episode Notes

On the Gist, the greatness that will remain long after we’re gone.

In the interview, we present part two of Mike’s conversation with John McWhorter on the linguistics of race, defining ‘Defund the Police,’ and how words we use today will morph over time. WcWhorter is the host of Lexicon Valley and a professor at Columbia University. Find his most recent piece in the Atlantic: “The Dictionary Definition of Racism Has to Change.”

In the spiel, historical truths versus myths.

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Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Margaret Kelley.


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  • Mike Pesca hosted Slate’s daily podcast The Gist from 2014 - 2021.