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Finding a new word for “racism”

27 February 2014 By Barry Evans, President of the Black Faculty Administrator and Staff Association No Comments

The R word…

Today’s political correctness makes it inappropriate and unacceptable to call a racist, a racist. I believe racists get upset because they don’t see themselves as one. For many, the word racist conjures up visions of the Ku Klux Klan and/or other truly hateful people involved in heinous acts.

Knowing this makes it easy to understand why a person may feel hurt and unjustly labeled when the word racist is directed at them. Serving to complicate the matter is the propensity for some minority members to quickly and easily fling the word around, resulting in increased anger and resentment and fear of being unfairly branded a racist.

This is the core of the problem: We are using an old label in an effort to identify current ongoing issues. Racism is alive and well and has evolved into something far different from that old-fashioned in-your-face, burn a cross on your lawn racism. This new racism, while less overt, is still racism.

This new racism is rascally. It can be difficult to put your finger on. But make no mistake, it is still here – be it in the way you are communicated with, managed or perceived.  Almost every day I see racists, and they don’t even know that’s what they are.

There are a great number of people who believe that because they are not engaged in overt racist activities, they are not a racist. Not necessarily true. What they are woefully unaware of is, their toxic and subliminal micro-aggressive tendencies. (Check out Buzzfeed’s 21 Racial Microagressions You Hear on a Daily Basis http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/racial-microagressions-you-hear-on-a-daily-basis.)

I agree and support the notion that “racist”, for the most part, is too strong a word. However, what word do we use when you’re dealing with people who still have substantial issues with race? I’m asking for your help. This new condition needs a name so that we can talk about it and move the country one step further along the already 50 years of healing that America has done to date.

Barry Evans


Black Faculty Administrator and Staff Association

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