Merriam-Webster Will Redefine ‘Racism’ to Include ‘Systemic’ Oppression in Response to Woman’s Complaint

“I kept having to tell [people] that [Merriam-Webster’s] definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world,” Mitchum told CNN.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has announced it will redefine “racism” to include the concept of “systemic racism,” following a complaint by a recent college graduate.

Kennedy Mitchum, who graduated from Drake University in Iowa, had written to Merriam-Webster after she concluded that its definition was not sufficient to describe racism as currently experienced in the U.S.

“I kept having to tell [people] that [Merriam-Webster’s] definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world,” Mitchum 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 current definition describes racism as “racial prejudice or discrimination,” a belief in the racial superiority of a particular group, or “a doctrine or political program” based on racism. The dictionary’s editorial manager, Peter Sokolowski, said that the definition would be updated to include an explanation of “systemic” racism, although the term would fall under racism supported by a political program.

“I think we can express this more clearly to bring the idea of an asymmetrical power structure into the language of this definition, but it’s there,” Sokolowski said. “This is the kind of continuous revision that is part of the work of keeping the dictionary up to date, based on rigorous criteria and research we employ in order to describe the language as it is actually used.”

The update will come after massive demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers.

In September 2019, Merriam-Webster announced that it had updated the definition of “they” to include individuals who conceive of themselves as neither male nor female.


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Top E.U. Diplomat Claims China Does Not ‘Threaten World Peace,’ Lacks ‘Military Ambitions’

“China has a global ambition but at the same time I don’t think that China is playing a role that can threaten the world peace,” Borrell said.

Josep Borrell, chief of foreign affairs for the E.U., made the remarks after a three-hour conference call with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. The discussion came amid rising tensions between European powers and China brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“China has a global ambition but at the same time I don’t think that China is playing a role that can threaten the world peace,” Borrell said. “They committed once again that they want to be present in the world and to play a global role but they don’t have military ambitions and they don’t want to use the force to participate in military conflicts.”

In their discussion, Wang and Borrell reiterated points of agreement between the E.U. and China, including their common support for the Iran nuclear deal that the U.S. withdrew from in 2018. The conference was also intended to prepare for future discussions between European and Chinese leaders regarding a joint investment agreement, in which the E.U. hopes to secure equal treatment for its companies operating in China. Currently, China requires certain E.U. businesses to share expertise while operating in the country.

Borrell’s statements come against rising suspicion of Chinese economic and military power within the E.U. In construction of new 5G telecommunications networks, German firms have recently limited their use of technology from Huawei, which the U.S. has said can spy for the Chinese government. Additionally, medical equipment supplied by China to fight coronavirus outbreaks in Europe has proven faulty in many instances.


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Embargo blocks crucial medical supplies to Cuba

Anti-virus materials previously donated by the Alibaba Foundation to help Cuba combat Covid-19 are still stranded in china

The US has waged an unethical economic war against the island of Cuba for half a century. Credit: Artist’s rendering.
In an action sure to be condemned by the majority of members of the United Nations, the US government of president Donald Trump continues to block humanitarian Covid-19 aid to Cuba at a crucial time during the global pandemic.

While more than 30 Chinese enterprises have either donated or supplied anti-virus materials to Cuba since the coronavirus outbreak began, only a small number of them have successfully arrived, the Cuban Ambassador to China told the Global Times.

Ambassador Carlos Miguel Pereira said that the medical supplies previously donated by the Alibaba Foundation to help Cuba combat Covid-19 are still stranded in China due to Draconian sanctions imposed by the US.

The Cuban diplomat said that they are currently in close contact with Alibaba to work out other possible solutions, including replacing the US company that was responsible for transporting the medical supplies to Cuba, The Global Times reported.

According to the official Weibo account of the Cuban Embassy in China, the Jack Ma foundation and Alibaba Foundation donated medical supplies, including face masks, test kits and respirators, to 24 Latin American countries including Cuba.

But these supplies were unable to reach Cuba as scheduled because an American company that was responsible for shipping them rejected the order at the last minute, The Global Times reported.

“The reason was that the US government tightened its policy of economic, commercial and financial embargoes imposed on Cuba, thereby thwarting the enterprise from shipping the equipment to Cuba despite the fact that these medical supplies are urgently needed to fight the virus,” said the embassy on Weibo.

The post went viral and soon became a trending topic on Weibo, with many Chinese netizens expressing sympathy and support for the country, The Global Times reported.

Pereira told the Global Times that the unilateral sanctions the US imposed on Cuba have had a negative impact on the country’s fight against Covid-19, and he is worried that this may cause the situation to further deteriorate.

The number of Covid-19 infections in Cuba reached 766 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The diplomat said while the country has a sound healthcare system and made many preparations in the beginning, the lack of medical supplies compounded by the US sanctions could hinder its ability to fight the virus.

The US has required all countries and companies not to sell or donate materials which have 10% or more American technology to Cuba. Many medical companies around the world are US companies or have some form of US involvement, The Global Times reported.

The ambassador said another obstacle to moving the medical supplies from China to Cuba is that most flights now need to go through the US, which means they will not be able to successfully arrive in Cuba. “It’s also difficult for Cuba to arrange chartered flights to pick up these medical supplies,” he said.

Pereira said Cuba placed an order with two Swiss companies that produce respirators with which it had a long-term partnership.

But recently, they were suddenly notified that the two companies had decided to terminate their contracts with Cuba as they had been purchased by a US company. As a result, they are no longer allowed to provide supplies to Cuba.

He also noted that Cuba has a good medical system and the government will spare no effort to ensure the health and safety of its citizens, The Global Times reported. But he admitted that with the necessary medical supplies not reaching Cuba, the US sanctions are making the situation more and more difficult.

Even as the country faces multiple challenges, it is still trying to offer a helping hand to other countries that have been severely hit by the pandemic.

Pereira told the Global Times that Cuba has sent 19 medical teams to other countries, including two to Italy, where the outbreak is much more serious.

“Cuba shares the same thinking as China — only international cooperation can defeat the virus,” he said.

Disingenuous critics attack Drew Brees for his patriotic sentiments.

Disingenuous critics attack Drew Brees for his patriotic sentiments.
Last week, Drew Brees said he would “never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country.” Standing for the flag “shows unity, it shows that we are all in this together, that we can all do better, and that we are all part of the solution” to the various injustices that plague our country.

The blowback to his remarks was swift and severe.

Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe told Brees to just “go ahead and retire now.” Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson “lost a lot of respect” for the Saints quarterback and looked forward to exacting revenge on the gridiron in the fall. Retired wide receiver Greg Jennings called the quarterback’s remarks “callous and selfish.” Brees’s own teammate, safety Malcolm Jenkins, told him “that people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem.”

Yes: It is in our very brave new world that Drew Brees and his statement of principle are “the problem.” At fault, apparently, for our national ills are people like Drew Brees, whose charitable foundation has given more than $35 million to causes such as hunger and childhood cancer, people who — to quote the attempted epithet of sports commentator Skip Bayless — are “blinded” by “God and country.” These people — not Derek Chauvin, not the perpetrators of the 18 homicides that occurred in Chicago on Monday — are the real “problem,” the real source of our social pathologies.

Brees should have known that his charitable pedigree and longstanding reputation would be no defense for the sin of challenging emerging orthodoxies on race and American depravity. ESPN analyst Maria Taylor said of Brees, “I’m not going to . . . walk myself back and say, ‘Well, he did give a lot of money.’ I don’t care.” Indeed, the mob never does.

Brees has since apologized for his remarks, making use of the requisite nostrums such as “ally” and “social injustice” in his apology, perhaps in a quest to keep his head from the Jacobins who would take it. His wife released a statement, echoing Jenkins’s assessment that people like her and her husband are “the problem” in the United States. Self-flagellation, though, is never enough — Brees challenged the regnant narrative that America is racist to its core, not a country with racial tensions in need of correction but a society that is institutionally beset by racial oppression. For that, no matter how much he apologizes, he will be branded a racist by the sorts of people eager to make that designation ubiquitous.

Some in the sports talk-show universe — a universe that has become saturated with identitarian jeremiads and half-baked political analysis since at least the 2016 election — say that Brees erred in invoking the flag when condemning the protesters. The kneeling protests, these talking heads say, were never about America or the flag — it was always about police brutality. Sharpe, who cohosts “Undisputed” on Fox Sports 1, said that Brees chose “to make it about the flag, as opposed to the plight of the unarmed black men being killed in America.” Dan Le Batard of the ESPN show “Highly Questionable” agreed, noting that “what we’re talking about is not flag, anthem, and patriotism. What we’re talking about is police brutality.” Nick Wright, also of Fox Sports 1, wanted to “remind Drew Brees, and others who evidently need it” that Colin Kaepernick “and everyone who kneeled alongside him made it crystal clear: This is about systemic police brutality against the black community, and has nothing to do with the flag, our troops, or anything to do with patriotism.”

It had everything to do with the flag, though. Colin Kaepernick himself said that he refused “to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He was not using the national anthem as a means of highlighting his opposition to the evils of police brutality and reforms that he thought were needed. Instead, the country and the flag itself were the objects of his protest — he himself said they were unworthy of his respect. Perhaps the commentators above would say that lack of respect is justified, but they should make that case and not pretend that Kaepernick’s protest had “nothing to do with the flag.” To Kaepernick, the United States is not merely a country with some number of racist citizens, but a racist country to its core. If those commentators agree, they should say so. We should have that debate. But to condemn Drew Brees’s comments as if he misrepresented Kaepernick’s stance is dishonest. He characterized it well, which, one suspects, is why they were so angry.


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Mitch McConnell says ‘obvious racial discrimination’ requires legislation


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Republicans are crafting a bill to address “obvious racial discrimination” in policing — after Democrats unilaterally unveiled a House of Representatives reform package Monday.

Republican senators spent most of a caucus luncheon listening to ideas from Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in the aftermath of national unrest over the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.

“I’ve asked Sen. Tim Scott to lead a group that is working on a proposal to allow us to respond to the obvious racial discrimination that we’ve seen on full display on our television screens over the last two weeks — and what is the appropriate response by the federal government,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

“Tim spent most of our lunch explaining his proposal that’s in the works,” he said.

Senators leaving the lunch were tight-lipped on details presented by Scott, the chamber’s sole black Republican. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who joined a protest march in Washington on Sunday, said, “it’s still a work in progress. A lot’s being added to it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters today following the weekly Republican policy luncheon.AP
With momentum in both parties, police reform legislation could be a rare bipartisan achievement. Before a series of large coronavirus relief packages this year, the most significant bipartisan policy bill signed by President Trump, the First Step Act of 2018, reformed criminal sentencing and jail policies.

McConnell told reporters “I think it’s important to have a response” to protests against police brutality.

“You know, none of us have had the experience of being an African American in this country and dealing with this discrimination, which persists here some 50 years after the 1964 civil rights bill and the 1965 civil rights bill — we’re still wrestling with America’s original sin,” he said.

McConnell added: “We try to get better, but every now and then it’s perfectly clear, we’re a long way from the finish line. And I think the best way for the Senate Republicans to go forward on this is to listen to one of our own who’s had these experiences. He’s had them since he’s been in the United States Senate.

“And with his guidance and leadership we’re going to come together with a proposal that we think makes the most sense for the federal government in the wake of what we’ve seen and experienced over the last couple weeks.”


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