According to cnn.com, Kennedy Mitchum, 22, emailed Merriam-Webster last month to let the renowned dictionary publisher know that she thought its definition of the word racism was inadequate. She was surprised when an editor responded and that the company agreed to update the entry.
To quote from CNN:
“Merriam-Webster’s first definition of racism is ‘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 many people she’s talked to use that to dismiss her concerns about racism and overlook broader issues of racial inequality because they don’t personally feel that way about people of color.
Mitchum said she sent her email on a Thursday night and got a reply from editor Alex Chambers the next morning.
After a few emails, Chambers agreed that the entry should be updated and said a new definition is being drafted.
“This revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem,” Chambers said in the email, which was provided to CNN. “We sincerely thank you for repeatedly writing in and apologize for the harm and offense we have caused in failing to address this issue sooner.”
Peter Sokolowski, an editor at large at Merriam-Webster, told CNN that their entry also defines racism as “a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles” and “a political or social system founded on racism,” which would cover systematic racism and oppression.
“I think we can express this more clearly to bring the idea of an asymmetrical power structure into the language of this definition, but it’s there,” Sokolowski said.”
Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/09/us/dictionary-racism-definition-update-trnd/index.html
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