Promising to update their definition of “racism” to one that includes systematic oppression of people, 189-year-old Merriam-Webster Dictionary acknowledged the complaint of 22-year-old Kennedy Mitchum in the heat of #BlackLivesMatter movement. Trickling from America to the rest of the world after the gruesome murder of George Floyd by Minnepolis officers, the movement has pushed many people to unlearn the privileges enjoyed through ignorance and stand up for the true spirit of unity. Also Read - 'We’re Gonna Have Keeping up With The Kardashians White House Edition': Twitter Muses After News of Kanye West Running For US President
In an interview with KMOV-TV, Mitchum, the recent Drake University graduate shared, “With everything going on, I think it’s important everyone is on the same page. I basically told them they need to include that there is systematic oppression on people. It’s not just ‘I don’t like someone,” it’s a system of oppression for a certain group of people.” Also Read - USA's Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Invites 3 Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni to Judge The Oscars
Claimed to be too simple and overlooking the broader issues of racial inequality, Merriam-Webster’s first definition of racism was “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.” Also Read - National Fried Clam Day 2020: How The Day Came to be Marked And Celebrated in The US
The second definition includes “explicit institutional bias against people because of their race, and, second, a broader implicit bias that can also result in an asymmetrical power structure.” In a statement to The Post, Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster stated about working on the second definition after the complaint and said, “We will make that even more clear in our next release. This is the kind of continuous revision that is part of the work of keeping the dictionary up to date, based on rigorous criteria and research we employ in order to describe the language as it is actually used.”
“Super happy” about her charge making a change, Mitchum told CNN, “I really felt like that was a step in a good direction for a lot of positive change for a lot of different positive conversations that can really help change the world and helps change how people view things.”
Acknowledging her complaint, Alex Chambers, the editor of Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ahd written to Mitchum that “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 the issue sooner. I will see to it that the entry for racism is given the attention it sorely needs.”
A revision is expected in a few months though the exact date has not been provided.