New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: A Missouri woman Kennedy Mitchum, recent graduate of Drake University in Iowa, wrote to the 189-year-old institution, Merriam Webster in wake of the George Floyd protests and demanded to change the definition of ‘racism’. The 22- year old Kennedy Mitchum also demanded that the definition should address systematic racism.

Merriam-Webster is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries. The 22-year old Mitchum emailed the dictionary last month, following the death of African American George Floyd in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers, Xinhua news agency reported.

Kennedy Mitchum wasn't expecting much when she emailed Merriam-Webster last month, but she wanted to let the dictionary publisher know that she thought its definition of the word racism was inadequate. So she was surprised when an editor responded and even more surprised that the company agreed to update the entry.


Mitchum has gotten into a lot conversations about racism and injustice where people have pointed to the dictionary to prove that they're not racist. It's happened a lot more lately as the world reacts to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers.

"I kept having to tell them that definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world," she told CNN. "The way that racism occurs in real life is not just prejudice it's the systemic racism that is happening for a lot of black Americans."


Merriam-Webster's first definition of racism is "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

"It's not just disliking someone because of their race," Mitchum wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "This current fight we are in is evidence of that, lives are at stake because of the systems of oppression that go hand-in-hand with racism."

The agreement to revise the definition comes as the country has erupted into protests over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last month

Posted By: Talib Khan