It’s 2020, but 1984 is really arriving ahead of schedule.
People are being purged for things their wife tweeted, for a costume they once wore, or for just plain political dissent. And the dictionary is undergoing revision to accommodate this awesome new dystopian world.
The root of the issue here is how to define racism.
Racism, obviously, means disliking another race, viewing it as ‘bad’. That’s a definition that black nationalists and their leftist allies really hate because it raises the possibility that Farrakhan, Sharpton, or Tamika Mallory can be racist.
Instead they define racism as a system of oppression so that only people with power can be racist and only white people have power. Therefore Farrakhan can’t possibly be racist.
This wasn’t a fringe idea. Obama was one of the more prominent figures who implicitly championed it The usual tell for someone who is pushing this is their use of “reverse racism” to refer to racism by minorities, all the while insisting that reverse racism doesn’t exist.
Now in the dumpster fire of 2020, Merriam-Webster will be redefining racism.
It’s not a complete surrender, but a partial one. MW is adding a definition of racism according to which, under critical racial theory, Farrakhan can’t be a racist.
There’s a bigger picture here and that’s the identity politics drive to judge people entirely based on their place in a system rather than their character or conduct.
It’s not really about race, because black nationalists and lefties will insist that conservative black people aren’t black.
In their tangled reasoning, black people are oppressed within a system of white supremacy. Any black person who identifies with the system by, say, voting Republican or running a business, is partaking of white supremacy and isn’t really black.
Anyone who properly denounces the system can’t be accused of racism because he has no power, no matter how much power he actually wields in real life.
MW is collaborating in this process by focusing on power structures, rather than ideas. Racism is an idea or attitude. It’s not a system.
Systems can incorporate racist beliefs or any other kind of beliefs. That’s a racist system.
Redefining racism as a racist system adds nothing, but subtracts the key element of treating racist ideas and beliefs by minorities as being racist.