We Wuz Kangs | Anti-Defamation League

“We Wuz Kangs” is a racist catchphrase and collection of memes directed at African-Americans and other people of sub-Saharan African descent. Originating in 2015 and popularized by the website 4chan, the phrase is a racist shorthand reference to discredited but popular Afrocentric theories that claimed sub-Saharan Africans were descended from ancient Egyptians.  

The phrase and meme are intended to mock the Afrocentric theories and, by extension, anyone who might believe in them. Users employ phrases such as “We Wuz Kangs,” “We Wuz Kings,” and “Kings N Shiet,” featuring mock black American dialect that is intended to portray blacks as ignorant and a contrast to the ostensibly more civilized ancient Egyptians.  Meme versions of the phrase similarly tend to feature images with racist stereotypes of black people, often contrasted with images of Egyptian pharaohs. The overall intent is to portray blacks as crude, ignorant and uncivilized.

Memes featuring the phrase often include an image of an African leader taken from The African Kingdoms expansion of the video game Age of Empires II, which debuted around the time the meme was created in 2015. Usage of the meme seemed to increase with the release of the popular movie Black Panther in 2018.