Word of the day: racism

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has resulted in protest movements, both in the United States and around the world, that have raised so many important issues and so many interesting ideas. We are seeing debates ranging from the urgent need for police reform to the long-postponed removal of offensive statues and memorials.

Now we are even seeing a discussion about the word ‘racism’ itself. The term is not just a reference to the behaviour of individuals, whether intentional or not, but also a reference to the consequences of organisational behaviour, whether intended or not. It is important, therefore, that a definition of racism covers systematic or institutional racism.

In the United States, the dictionary produced by Merriam-Webster is to change its definition of the word racism after receiving an email from a young black woman called Kennedy Mitchum, a recent graduate of Drake University in Iowa. You can read more about this story here.


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