Thursday, December 04, 2014

Racism retreats

Writing in the NYT, Charles Blow asserts (via Steve):
Today, too many people are gun-shy about using the word racism, lest they themselves be called race-baiters. So we are witnessing an assault on the concept of racism, an attempt to erase legitimate discussion and grievance by degrading the language: Eliminate the word and you elude the charge.
From Google Trends, the relative search frequency rate for the term "racism" over the last decade:

He has an arguable point. We're even lagging behind a couple other Anglophone diaspora countries.

On the other hand, the relative search volume for "racist" during the same period of time:

I guess we're becoming more individualistic and less group-oriented over time. This isn't going to make Brett Stevens happy, but there it is!

It's not for the NYT's lack of emphasis that the public has taken it's collective eye off the ball, though. The number of articles the paper has run containing the word "racism", in five year intervals, since the turn of the millennium (01/01/2000-12/31/2004, 01/01/2005-12/31/2009, 01/01/2010-12/04/2014):

2000-2005: 1,400
2005-2010: 4,410
2010-2015: 7,540

The Cathedral's role is to instruct us on what we should want to think about, not what we would actually prefer to think about.


BehindTheLines said...

When "racism" could be used only against whites, it was popular. Then the right turned it around and pointed out that most racism today is against whites. Now people use the term "white privilege" which makes the anti-white position more explicit.

This is a victory for the right, as it is the left that generally tries to obfuscate meaning. The term "white privilege" clarifies meaning, since it stakes out who the enemy is.

Audacious Epigone said...

I think we're still in the beginning stages of the lexicon shift if it is occurring. Looking through the NYT archives and google trends, the use of "white privilege" still pales in comparison to the use of "racism", and the ratio hasn't changed much at all over the last 15 years.

Joshua Sinistar said...

The Media is irrelevant. That guy Rush on AM radio has more listeners than all the rest of the Dinosaurs combined and that includes Rupert Murducks Fox.
They're not a squeaky wheel, they're a broken record. They haven't said anything worth hearing in decades.