Merriam-Webster to revise its definition of racism following request from Missouri woman

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  1. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Merriam-Webster to revise its definition of racism following request from Missouri woman

    Ah, the power of a well-worded email.

    Thanks to a particularly thoughtful email, Merriam-Webster will be updating its definition of the word racism to more fully include its systemic aspects.

    Last month, Kennedy Mitchum, a recent college graduate from Missouri, emailed the dictionary publisher to explain why she found its current definition wasn't working, according to CNN.

    Currently, 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."

    According to St. Louis news station KMOV-TV, Mitchum felt as if this definition was too simple. She found that people would often point to the dictionary's definition of racism to prove their own innocence, according to CNN.

    "I kept having to tell them that definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world," Mitchum told CNN. "The way that racism occurs in real life is not just prejudice it's the systemic racism that is happening for a lot of black Americans."
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