The American reference dictionary Merriam-Webster will change its definition of the word racism at the suggestion of a young black woman, who wanted it to better reflect the oppression of people of color.
Kennedy Mitchum contacted Merriam-Webster, which has published its dictionaries since 1847, to propose updating the term.
The recent graduate of Drake University in Iowa said she ” told them that they need to include that there’s a systematic oppression upon a group of people. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I don’t like someone.'”
Merriam-Webster’s editorial manager confirmed the definition would be modified after Mitchum’s request.
The dictionary currently offers three definitions of racism. The second definition touches on Mitchum’s point – which will be made “even more clear” in the next release.
The Merriam-Webster website, where the definitions are available for free, had nearly 50 million unique visitors in May.