Activists Convince Merriam Webster to Change the Definition of Racism




Academics and activists have been shouting down the official, accepted definition of racism for years now. Because the basic definition of “the belief that one race is superior to another” doesn’t fit their goals or beliefs, they’ve been ignoring the (white-edited, natch) dictionaries in favor of definitions that were concocted in the basement of one university or another over the last twenty years. After all, if you used the dictionary definition, it could leave the door open to the possibility that a black person could be racist against a white person, and we all know that just doesn’t fly in today’s climate.

So, conveniently, they changed the definition to something along the lines of “power + prejudice = racism.” And they made it clear that it is the “race” that has the power, not the individual. So you might wonder how a white hobo in San Francisco could possibly have racist power over, say, Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama, but that question is nicely papered over by the left’s caveats. The hobo is white, and that’s all you need to know. If that smacks of racism to you, refer back to the equation at the beginning of the paragraph. Black people have no power, thus no capability of being racist. Magic!

Until now, however, this alternate, social-justice-approved definition of racism has been limited to woke Twitter and celebrities who find virtue signaling integral to their careers. That we could abide, if only barely. Unfortunately, as KMOV in St. Louis reported this week, other, more official institutions are now getting in on the game.

From KMOV:

While thousands of people have taken to the street to protest, Kennedy Mitchum, who recently graduated with a degree in law, politics and society,  took to email.

She said it all started when people would argue with her about the definition of racism and she realized the problem was in the pages of Merriam Webster’s dictionary.

“With everything going on, I think it’s important everyone is on the same page,” said Mitchum.

The dictionary defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

Mitchum said that definition was too simple and too surface level.

“So, a couple weeks ago, I said this is the last argument I’m going to have about this. I know what racism is, I’ve experienced it time and time and time again in a lot of different ways, so enough is enough. So, I emailed them about how I felt about it. Saying this needs to change,” she said.

The dictionary doesn’t reflect the definition of racism I learned in my social justice classes at Duke, so it has to change, whined the toddler.

Which, in today’s world, we’ve come to expect. But sadly, Merriam Webster is actually taking this seriously.

“While our focus will always be on faithfully reflecting the real-world usage of a word, not on promoting any particular viewpoint, we have concluded that omitting any mention of the systemic aspects of racism promotes a certain viewpoint in itself,” wrote Merriam Webster’s head editor, Alex Chambers, in a letter to Mitchum.

“This revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem,” he continued. “We sincerely thank you for repeatedly writing in and apologize for the harm and offense we have caused in failing to address the issue sooner. I will see to it that the entry for racism is given the attention it sorely needs.”

Out of curiosity, we searched Merriam-Webster.com to see how they defined “social justice warrior.” They apparently haven’t gotten around to including that term in the dictionary. When and if they do, they can save themselves some trouble and simply redirect the link to their homepage.


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