Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, McWhorter writes and comments extensively on race, ethnicity and cultural issues as well as linguistics. He writes a regular column in the New Republic. His newest book, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue (Gotham Books) describes how English developed in merry mixture with languages like Welsh and was simplified by speakers of Old Norse, while his other book from last year, All About the Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America (Gotham Books), points beyond what McWhorter perceives as empty gestures of the "hip-hop revolution" to a new politics for Black America, calling for a renewed sense of purpose and pride in black communities.
John McWhorter is the author of the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race (Harper Perennial), and an anthology of race writings, Authentically Black (Gotham Books). McWhorter's book, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (Gotham Books) generated widespread acclaim. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Non-Fiction and has appeared numerous national TV and radio shows, such as Meet the Press, The Bill Moyers Journal, The Colbert Report, and NPR's Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation. His work on race and cultural issues has appeared in leading publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The National Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and New York Magazine.
John McWhorter is also a well-known and widely published linguistics scholar. He is the author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, on how the world's languages arise, change, and mix, and Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care. He has also written a book on dialects and Black English, The Word on the Street, and three books on Creole languages. The Teaching Company has released two 36-lecture audiovisual courses by him. His latest academic book on linguistics is Language Interrupted, on how the most widely spoken languages in the world tend to be simpler rather than less complex than more obscure ones.
John McWhorter entered Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 1981 and earned his AA degree from Simon’s Rock in 1983. He later earned his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and became Associate Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley after teaching at Cornell University.