Piers Morgan would like you to know his opinion about the n word.
Writing in an op-ed for the Daily Mail, the former CNN host argues that the reason why the slur is so ubiquitous in American culture is because so many young black people use it in casual speech and popular entertainment. Morgan writes: “The reason it is so ingrained in pop culture is that many blacks, especially young blacks reared to the soundtrack of N-word splattered rap music, use it in an ironic way.”
He takes this argument even further, saying that the reason some white people feel it’s okay to use the slur is because black people sometimes use it themselves: “Your average dim-witted, foul-mouthed bigot…thinks ‘If they use it, why can’t I?’ They hear African-Americans say the N-word to each other and claim victory: ‘See, that’s what they even call themselves!’”
Morgan must have known that his comments would trigger heated reactions.
Singer John Legend got into a twitter back and forth with Morgan soon after the op-ed was published calling him out for treating a “vocabulary change” as something with the power to change systemic racism:
As social media simmered with responses to the Morgan’s op-ed, he tweeted:
At this point, famed race critic and writer at the Atlantic Ta-Nehsi Coates called Morgan out himself:
Jessica Mitchell, founder of the black culture blog Our Legaci, told msnbc that she also found Morgan’s comments short-sighted:
“Putting the sole onus on Black people to eradicate the N-word showcases ignorance and denial to the depth of racism as a systematic structure and the role whiteness plays in it.”
Finally, the argument took a turn for the humorous when the hashtag #PiersKnowsAll took off. Social media users jokingly surmised that if Morgan was suggesting eradicating the slur as a way to address racism, he must hold the secret to solving other complicated situations as well:
While Morgan’s comments did spark a robust conversation on the divisive work, it also served as a good reminder: if you write something folks on #blacktwitter find offensive, it will be immortalized with a tongue-in-cheek hashtag.