Major U.S. dictionary Merriam-Webster to redefine term “racism”

Major U.S. Dictionary Merriam-Webster To Redefine Term Racism - We The World Magazine
Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash

Major American dictionary Merriam Webster that has been around since 1847 has confirmed it will redefine the term ‘racism’ after a suggestion from a young black lady who wanted the term to better reflect modern connotations.

” 1. 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,” Merriam Webster primarily defines ‘racism.’

Until recently, the dictionary has decided to update the term after Kennedy Mitchum, a Drake University graduate persistently followed up with the dictionary-maker fo ran amendment of the term, Agence France Presse reports. Merriam Webster editorial manager Peter Sokolowski confirmed AFP, the change will be made as requested.

Drake University Alumna Kennedy Mitchum persistently followed up with Merriam Webster for the change. The dictionary apologised for any harm caused while the issue was not looked upon. (Image courtesy of Drake University via Twitter)

“I basically told them that they need to include that there’s systematic oppression upon a group of people. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I don’t like someone,’ Mitchum told KMOV, a CBS News affiliate.

Merriam Webster ‘racism’ definitions

Other definitions of the term ‘racism’ in the current version of the dictionary goes as:

” 2. a) A doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles.”

” b) A political or social system founded on racism.”

” 3. Racial prejudice or discrimination.”

Sokolowski notes that the second definition (2. a) touches Mitchum’s point, but they will make it “even more clear” in their next release. The editors of Merriam Webster in response to Mitchum’s request wrote that the dictionary should have addressed the issue earlier.

“A revision to the entry for racism is now being drafted to be added to the dictionary soon, and we are also planning to revise the entries of other words that are related to racism or have racial connotations,” the dictionary wrote in a statement to Kennedy Mitchum which was shared by Drake University, Iowa.

Merriam Webster is a popular word chest in America, with its official website drawing 50 million unique visitors in May according to SimilarWeb data. The dictionary, whose app is available on Google Play Store as well as Apple Appstore is very active on twitter and often updates on quirky definitions, unusual words, and other trivial stuff.