“Words don’t have meaning without context,” explains Ta-Nehisi Coates, journalist and author of “We Were Eight Years in Power”. It’s interesting how so many people don’t understand context, as it pertains to the African-American community and American pop culture. Well – at least people pretend not to understand. This is why Ta-Nehisi Coates’ breakdown of why white people feel so entitled to use the word Nigga, just because they hear a black person say it, is by far the best explanation.
During an event at Evanston Township High School, Coates answered a question from a young lady in the audience who asked about white people using the word nigga after attending a Lil Uzi Vert concert. She asked the author what should she do when she hears her friends using this word.
“Words don’t have meaning without context…my wife and her girlfriends use the word ‘bitch’ – I do not join in. (laughter) More importantly, I don’t have a desire to do it.”
Coates went on to explain that there are certain words in the gay community, the white community, and other communities, where because of the relationship that gays or whites may have within their own communities, they use these terms with each other. Coates explained as a straight man, or as a black man, he has no desire to use the derogatory words they use within their own culture and circles. Coates then goes on to explain why he believe white people get so bothered by being told they cannot use the word Nigga:
“When you’re white in this country, you think that everything belongs to you. So here comes this word that you feel like you invented, and say ‘why can’t i use it…why cant i sing along’? – Check out the video below for the rest of Coates’ epic response and let us know what you think!