It’s incredible how many Americans do not understand the concept of re-appropriating language. You don’t have to be a linguistics major to understand the power of “taking back” language and removing/altering the power of a word. If we don’t educate ourselves around language, we may as well stumble about as if blind. People (especially over the age of 40) need to stop being shocked by the word that ends with an “a” and accept that forcing non-whites to code-switch in public events or in mixed company (and maintain a sense of split-consciousness in the process) means hiding for all of us. By denying people of color (not just African-American, because there are countless other words that have been and continually need to be taken back.) Let’s acknowledge that words which have been used to systematically denigrate throughout American history should be discussed in intelligent ways and not ignored. Talking about race means being uncomfortable. Get used to it.
Listen to Wilmore and Terry Gross, breaking down the speech and the “controversy”: