Brit Hume said today that Trump’s comments were “nativist, xenophobic, counterfactual and politically stupid. But they simply do not meet the standard definition of racist, a word so recklessly flung around these days that its actual meaning is being lost."
This was the definition he was using, from Webster's Dictionary:
1 - 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
2A- doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
2B- a political or social system founded on racism
3-racial prejudice or discrimination
First off, I agree that calling someone racist is (or should be) so damaging to their reputation that the word should be used with care. That being said, telling a person of color to go back to their own country is racial prejudice, fitting the third definition he listed for the word. Prejudice means a preconceived judgement or opinion. He was assuming that because they weren’t white, then they had to be from somewhere else. Trump has had arguments with lots of white people over these past few years, never once has he told them to go back to their own country.
Secondly. He called Trump’s comments xenophobic. Xenophobic means having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. THAT’S THE EXACT DEFINITION OF RACISM THAT BRIT HUME USED IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Finally, if you’re having to parse the word racism to defend someone’s actions, then you are the problem. I’m so sick of hearing, “Yes this statement might be bigoted, but it doesn’t rise to the level of racism.” “Yes, this statement might be nativist, but it doesn’t rise to the level or racism.” “Yes, this statement might offend every bone in your body, but it doesn’t rise to the level of racism.”
Can we stop acting like racism is an ideal that we can strive to achieve? Like the moon and the stars have to align on the Summer Solstice in even numbered years for something to actually be racist. What Trump said was racist. You know it. I know it. We all fucking know it. And no amount of verbal gymnastics is going to make it go away.