The author of many scholarly articles, Glenn Loury first made his mark as an economic theorist. A consultant to state and federal government agencies and private business organizations, he has taught at Harvard, Northwestern, and the University of Michigan before coming to Boston University, where he is university professor and professor of economics.

General readers, however, know Loury best as an analyst of public policy, particularly regarding racial inequality. His essays and commentaries appear regularly in leading national publications. Although he is identified as a conservative, Loury's views defy easy categorization. While arguing that black Americans must place an emphasis on "self-help"--a position that has earned for him the enmity of the civil-rights establishment--he warns that this call for self-reliance is in danger of being hijacked by "those who are looking for an excuse to abandon the black poor."

Loury's writings on politics and culture have been collected in "One by One from the Inside Out: Essays on Race and Responsibility in America" (Free Press, 332 pp.; $25, hardcover), the epilogue to which is a powerful Christian testimony. In a conversation in Washington, D.C., last fall with CT advisory editor Michael Cromartie and former CT assistant editor Edward Gilbreath (now with "New Man" magazine), Loury talked about the evolution of his outlook on race relations and his personal faith journey.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE SHAPED YOUR THINKING ABOUT RACE AND RESPONSIBILITY IN AMERICA?

One thing I think of is the years I spent at the University of Michigan, from 1978 to 1982, and watching the city of Detroit go through some very serious changes. Toward the end of that time, just before I moved ...

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