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.

Philosophy
Politics
News Commentary
301
Ibram X. Kendi wants to redefine racism
Is racism solely about policies that widen racial inequality? Ibram X. Kendi and Ezra Klein discuss.
85 min
302
Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things
Ezra Klein and Malcolm Gladwell discuss Cuban spies, talking to strangers, the process of creative storytelling, and much more
91 min
303
An inspiring conversation about democracy
Danielle Allen and Ezra Klein discuss what a democratic policy agenda would looks like, how to talk to strangers, and why we need to reform civic education.
87 min
304
Samantha Power’s journey from foreign policy cr...
A conversation about human nature, China, and the blurry line between morality and strategy in US foreign policy
87 min
305
When meritocracy wins, everybody loses
Is meritocracy responsible for rampant inequality, waning social mobility, and widespread dissatisfaction? Ezra Klein and Daniel Markovits discuss.
85 min
306
Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosi...
Ezra Klein and Nikole Hannah-Jones discuss America's founding contradiction, racial segregation, capitalism and more
98 min
307
Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD
A quirky, weird, illuminating, curious trip through the mind of a genius
82 min
308
Julián Castro's quiet moral radicalism
Why Julián Castro wants to decriminalize migration, admit climate refugees, reimagine our relationship with the homeless, and protect animals.
61 min
309
Political animals (with Leah Garcés)
Leah Garcés and Ezra Klein discuss how building coalitions with unlikely allies may just be the key to reducing animal suffering
87 min
310
John McWhorter thinks we're getting racism wrong
John McWhorter and Jane Coaston discuss the limits of third-wave antiracism
63 min
311
The rocky marriage between libertarians and con...
Jane Coaston and Conor Friedersdorf discuss the future of the GOP in Trump's America
83 min
312
A mind-bending, reality-warping conversation wi...
What psychedelics, burning money, and postmodernism have in common
85 min
313
Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an e...
Ezra Klein and Jia Tolentino discuss how the Internet distorts identities, cheapens solidarity, and erodes morality
99 min
314
The original meaning of “identity politics” (wi...
Ezra Klein and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discuss the origins of identity politics and the future of Black liberation
79 min
315
Are bosses dictators? (with Elizabeth Anderson)
Elizabeth Anderson sits down with Ezra Klein to discuss workplace tyranny, the power of ideology, and a vision for a more democratic society
85 min
316
The Constitution is a progressive document
Gerrymandering, constitutionalism, and the future of the Supreme Court
56 min
317
Matt Bruenig’s case for single-payer health care
Ezra interviews Matt Bruenig
119 min
318
Can Raj Chetty save the American dream?
Ezra chats with Raj Chetty about the fading American dream.
77 min
319
Astra Taylor will change how you think about de...
Is democracy even possible? A conversation with Astra Taylor
76 min
320
Is big tech addictive? Nir Eyal and I debate.
Is big tech addictive? Nir Eyal and Ezra debate.
73 min
321
Generation Climate Change
Ezra sits down with Varshini Prakash of Sunrise Movement
91 min
322
Is the media amplifying Trump’s racism? (with W...
Ezra interviews Whitney Phillips
82 min
323
Rutger Bregman’s utopias, and mine
Ezra interviews Rutger Bregman
86 min
324
How white identity politics won the Republican ...
83 min
325
George Will makes the conservative case against...
70 min
326
What deliberative democracy can, and can’t, do ...
Ezra interviews Jane Mansbridge
51 min
327
Rod Dreher on America’s post-Christian culture ...
110 min
328
White threat in a browning America (Jennifer Ri...
73 min
329
Behind the panic in white, Christian America
91 min
330
An enlightening, frustrating conversation on li...
105 min
331
The cognitive cost of poverty (with Sendhil Mul...
93 min
332
Failing towards Utopia
20 min
333
Why liberals and conservatives create such diff...
90 min
334
Stacey Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo (Live!)
59 min
335
This changed how I think about love (with Aliso...
93 min
336
The plan behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans
49 min
337
Michael Lewis reads my mind
101 min
338
How Mitch McConnell convinced Michael Bennet to...
73 min
339
How the brains of master meditators change
68 min
340
Why good people are easily corrupted (with Lawr...
79 min
341
The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)
85 min
342
Matt Yglesias and Jenny Schuetz solve the housi...
Matt Yglesias and Jenny Schuetz solve the housing crisis
59 min
343
What kind of news is cable news? (With Brian St...
82 min
344
Contrapoints on taking the trolls seriously
75 min
345
The purpose of political violence
75 min
346
Ask Ezra Anything 3: Endgame
Ezra answers listener questions
90 min
347
The disillusionment of David Brooks
93 min
348
Emily Oster schools me on parenthood
51 min
349
Lessons from Vox’s first 5 years
90 min
350
Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle
79 min
351
How social democrats won Europe — then lost it
64 min
352
In defense of white-backlash politics
96 min
353
Identity, nationalism, and fatherhood
103 min
354
An ex-libertarian’s quest to rebuild the center...
81 min
355
How whiteness distorts our democracy, with Eddi...
86 min
356
Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change
56 min
357
Meet the policy architect behind the Green New ...
79 min
358
The somewhat fractured state of American conser...
58 min
359
American politics after Christianity, with Ross...
74 min
360
Why Gov. Jay Inslee is running for president on...
62 min
361
ICYMI: Julia Galef
88 min
362
The roots of extremism, with Deeyah Khan
79 min
363
ICYMI: Paul Krugman
94 min
364
Pop music can make you smarter
21 min
365
Life after climate change, with David Wallace-W...
69 min
366
Pramila Jayapal thinks we can get to Medicare-f...
54 min
367
Noah Rothman on the "unjustice" of social justi...
67 min
368
Why should we care about deficits?
62 min
369
Anniversary special: Rachel Maddow
98 min
370
Andrew Sullivan and I work out our differences
121 min
371
The core contradiction of American politics
63 min
372
Leftists vs. liberals, with Elizabeth Bruenig
76 min
373
The world according to Ralph Nader
80 min
374
This conversation will change how you understan...
131 min
375
Ending the age of animal cruelty, with Bruce Fr...
75 min
376
Robert Sapolsky on the toxic intersection of po...
75 min
377
Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational
57 min
378
Sean Decatur doesn’t see a free speech crisis o...
75 min
379
Cal Newport has an answer for digital burnout
66 min
380
Eric Holder’s plan to save democracy
60 min
381
Anil Dash on the biases of tech
77 min
382
Jill Lepore on America’s two revolutions
90 min
383
Best of: N.K. Jemisin
80 min
384
Best-of: Bryan Stevenson
89 min
385
Kara Swisher interviews me on the Future of Jou...
90 min
386
TED’s Chris Anderson on the lessons of listening
66 min
387
Rep. Katie Porter on how capitalism is failing
76 min
388
How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy
98 min
389
Adam Serwer on white political correctness
47 min
390
Will Storr on why you are not yourself
82 min
391
How to be a better carnivore
32 min
392
Peter Beinart on anti-Semitism in America and i...
83 min
393
Where Jonathan Haidt thinks the American mind w...
108 min
394
The Impact: Deportation without representation
30 min
395
Molly Ball on Nancy Pelosi’s future and Paul Ry...
59 min
396
Whitney Phillips explains how Trump controls th...
106 min
397
Ask Ezra Anything
92 min
398
Presidents in crisis with Slow Burn’s Leon Neyfakh
80 min
399
Sandy Darity has a plan to close the wealth gap
47 min
400
How identity politics elected Donald Trump
94 min