The Atlantic

When Using Racist, Define Your Terms

Some reject the notion that they should apply the word consistently, without regard to whether the usage will upset their audience.
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

A long-running debate about when to use the word racist resurfaced this month, prompted by mass grappling with how to cover Donald Trump’s recent attacks on four House Democrats. Trump’s short political career includes denying that Barack Obama was born in the United States, calling for a ban on Muslim travel here, characterizing masses of Mexican immigrants as rapists, and asserting that a judge was unfit to hear a case because of his Mexican heritage.

Then he told four congresswomen of color that they should “go back” to where they’re from even though three of them were born in the United States and all four were chosen by their fellow Americans to represent them in the legislature.

Are some or all of those comments racist?

That inquiry often generates more heat than, even if we narrow the pool from Americans generally to subscribers or NPR listeners or CBS viewers. On the subject of racism, Merriam-Webster warns, “Quoting from a dictionary is unlikely to either mollify or persuade the person with whom one is arguing.”

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min lettiPolitics
Why I Cover Campus Controversies
Each fall semester, America’s long-running debate about campus politics begins again. And I’ll take part this year as I have in years past, especially when the debate concerns matters of free speech. Critics say my energies are misplaced. There is no
The Atlantic5 min lettiPolitics
It’s Happening in Plain Sight
Washington is a place where incredible amounts of time and effort are spent to prove what’s already obvious. This week’s drama over a whistle-blower complaint about President Donald Trump is only the latest example. The House Intelligence Committee i
The Atlantic5 min lettiPolitics
DHS Is Finally Going After White Supremacists. It’s Not Going to Be Simple.
A new strategy for the first time places a major priority on domestic terrorism, especially of the extreme right. Now the agency has to actually tackle the problem.