Ta-Nehisi Coates has emerged as a notable intellectual of our times by way of his biting critique of race in America via his books and writing within The Atlantic. While at a tour stop for his latest book, We Were Eight Years In Power, Coates was approached by a white student in the crowd about using the n-word and got a proper schooling on why he shouldn’t use the term.
Random House published a YouTube video via its channel last week of the exchange with Coates and the student at Evanston Township High School in Illinois last month. Music writer and Dipset fan (salute!) Matt Whitlock posted a video of the moment via his Twitter account, which gave the clip new legs and captured the lesson Coates gave with graceful eloquence.
As heard in the video:
When you’re white in this country, you’re taught that everything belongs to you. You think you have a right to everything. You’re conditioned this way. It’s not because your hair is a texture or your skin is light. It’s the fact that the laws and the culture tell you this. You have a right to go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be however and people just got to accommodate themselves to you.
For white people, I think the experience of being a hip-hop fan and not being able to use the word ‘n*gger’ is actually very very insightful. It will give you just a little peek into the world of what it means to be black because to be black is to walk through the world and watch people doing things that you cannot do, that you can’t join in and do.
Watch Writer and author Ta-Nehisi Coates school the world on why white folks need not use the n-word in the clip below.
Photo: screen cap