Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
  • n. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The belief that each race has distinct and intrinsic attributes.
  • n. The belief that one race is superior to all others.
  • n. Prejudice or discrimination based upon race.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race
  • n. the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races

Etymologies

From French racisme. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • September 17th, 2009 6: 40 pm ET racism is a word blacks use to get attention when they think their backs are against the wall or not getting their way. just like charles rangel tried to pull last week. or jimmie carter tried a day or two ago petiful people we have. mike, ,tn

    Afternoon Buzz: Race and politics in America

  • But more important is this: We can oversimplify the term racism but we can also oversimplify the term power.

    Who Are You Calling A Racist?

  • The term racism is associated with invidious racial discrimination and the theories of white racial supremacy that supports them.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Sotomayor May be Wrong About Race, but She is No Racist:

  • I've heard the term racism thrown around more in the past week or two than I have since the 1960s or '70s.

    CNN Transcript Aug 3, 2009

  • It is neither, and Barack Obama's victory is a lesson in how the word racism has drifted beyond its core meaning into something more calisthenic than proactive.

    The End Of Racism?

  • COOPER: I think too many folks in the media throw around the term racism far too often.

    CNN Transcript Apr 1, 2008

  • NB: The use of the term racism is in its more general sense to include discrimination against identifiable groups of people.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • The farther away we stay from the murky swamp of the term racism and the anger it incites in all corners and among persons of all colors of this country, the stronger a nation we shall be.

    U.S. News

  • The term racism was defined by the OED as "[t] he theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race", giving 1936 as the first recorded use.

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

  • And I think that when we begin to sling around the term racism, people get offended and think, well, the right says it.

    Crooks and Liars

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