Opinion | Join John McWhorter for Woke Words, a Times Virtual Event


In any conversation about race in America, or any public debate, words matter. How do we describe what’s happening? How do we articulate what we think is right? What words do we avoid using and why?

In his subscriber-only newsletter for The Times, the linguist and writer John McWhorter explores some of these questions. In his recent newsletters, he has looked at how the word “woke” became an insult and why our increasingly messy way of speaking isn’t so bad. He has also considered the importance of words in music, as demonstrated by the efforts to revive an opera about Black characters that was written by white men.

Join John for an evening event where he explores the evolving role of words in these aspects of our lives.

He’ll examine some of the words you’ve stopped using in everyday language. Share yours when you R.S.V.P.

Then he’ll speak with Jane Coaston, host of the podcast “The Argument,” about how we can get an honest grounding to successfully engage in the conversation about race.

Finally, we’ll bring you an original performance from the musical work “Blues Opera,” which may be brought back to the stage. The opera is based on a play written by the American poets Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. The Times’s rendition will star Angel Blue, who opens the current season at the Metropolitan Opera.

It’s all part of The Times’s virtual event series that’s just for subscribers. We hope you’ll join us.



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