On not “sounding black” on the radio, growing up the nerdy kid, and falling in love with astrophysics

Neil deGrasse Tyson has graced TV sets for over a decade now, sharing his passion for astronomy with the masses. But how did his career begin? He joined Larry Wilmore on the latest episode of Black on the Air to discuss his love for astrophysics, growing up, and much more. This is a portion of that conversation.

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.

When Tyson Didn’t “Sound Black” Enough for a Graduate School Radio Gig

Wilmore: What was it like for you growing up? Did you have problems being a young black kid who was smart? Like did you have to lose your black card growing up? What was that like? Because you must have been preternaturally smart at a certain age. … When I was growing up, kids would make fun of me for not talking black. You know, they’d say, “You don’t talk black!” And I would think, “Well, I’m black and…

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