- John McWhorter: 'Roots' remake prompts question of what does it mean to "reckon" with slavery?
- To have authentic national conversation about race we need to define our terms, he says
John McWhorter teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy and music history at Columbia University and is the author of "The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language." The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)As we take in the new version of "Roots" this week, we have heard, and will hear again, that both versions of this miniseries, as well as Alex Haley's novel which inspired it, challenge America to "come to terms with" its history in slavery.