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Dictionary. Photo Joshua Hoehne

One of the oldest US dictionaries to include the term ‘systemic racism’

When a young black activist contacted the editorial managers of Merriam-Webster to criticize them for the absence of this term, they complied.

Published: September 13, 2020, 12:52 pm

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    New concessions are made to welcome racial differences every day. The latest entity to do so is the American dictionary Merriam-Webster which has just updated, in its online version, the notion of “racism”, to add that of “systemic racism”.

    This is term frequently used by anti-white activists, BLM supporters and Antifa to describe what they see as the white man’s desire for superiority over people of colour, or POCs. Created in 1828 by Noah Webster, the Merriam-Webster is one of the oldest dictionaries ever published in the United States.

    The black student maintained that racism is “both prejudice combined with social and institutional power. It is a system of advantage based on skin colour”. Merriam-Webster’s editorial manager Peter Sokolowski told the BBC that he agreed with the black student: “It could be expanded … to include the term systemic and it will certainly have one or two example sentences, at least.”

    Sokolowski explained that it was to illustrate the idea of “an asymmetrical power structure, between white and black” in American institutions.

    Despite the constant accusations of “systemic racism”, the life expectancy in the US last year was 79 years, slightly higher than the year before. In Africa, it is considerably lower – especially in regions of the continent which had decolonized earlier than others. In West Africa, where most African Americans originally came from, the average for males is 56.

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