As shown in this Google Trends report, the term “racism” has seen an uptick of interest from those in the United States in the past 7 years, coming to a head this past November.
The term has become, for many, one of daily use. It comes to us in songs, in movies, in news articles, and in late-night TV. In the U.S., the word is inescapable. It is in common use within our language.
The challenge, and beauty, of language is that it is always in flux. What language does is allow us to communicate our thoughts to another person. We’ve often witnessed or experienced challenges associated with speaking with someone whose language is different than ours—but the same challenges can exist even within our own language, and are infinitely more dangerous. When both parties know a word but have different definitions, it causes a disconnect where each think that they understand the other, and often don’t pause to test their assumption. This then leads to misunderstanding, frustration, and anger.
This definition disconnect is hardly more evident than with the word “racism”. Continue reading “Definition Disconnect: What Is “Racism””