This 22-year old woman helps change Merriam-Webster's definition of ‘racism’
She wrote to the US dictionary saying that its current definition of racism is inadequate.
The killing of George Floyd has once again made the world talk about racism and its vile impacts on the humankind. Now a 22-year old American citizen's obejction is set to make US dictionary Merriam-Webster alter its definition of racism.
22-year old Kennedy Mitchum had emailed Merriam-Webster to inform them that their definition of racism, “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,” was inadequate.
To her surprise, an editor from Merriam-Webster responded and agreed to update the definition.
According to CNN, Mitchum has gotten into a lot conversations about racism and injustice where people have pointed to the dictionary to prove that they're not racist.
"I kept having to tell them that definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world," she 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."
In its response to Mitchum, Merriam-Webster's Alex Chambers wrote, "this revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem. 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."
Coming up at 6:00 on @KMOV: A recent college graduate from Florissant says the definition of racism in @MerriamWebster is over simplified. So she sent them an email.— Alexis Zotos (@alexiszotos) June 8, 2020
Now the dictionary plans to make a change. pic.twitter.com/9RjcFv93vw
Mitchum recently graduated from Drake University and lives in Florissant, Missouri, just a few miles away from Ferguson, where protests over the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown helped solidify the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mitchum said she hopes the vocabulary change helps people have more productive conversations about race. She said she appreciated them taking her concerns seriously and talking through the issue.
(With agency inputs)