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  • Deb Turner


Racist is a direct word. It calls out reality in communities, institutions and people. It is not an easy word to use, as it elicits defense and denial. It is often preceded by the words "I'm not" and the word "but" often follows. Racist is a noun referring to a person or people. It is also an adjective that modifies behavior. The racist person will often deny the racist behavior, which is itself racist. The behavior may also be modified by the adjectives subtle or blatant. The blatant racist is more likely to be called out, but not necessarily suffer consequences, which is itself racist.

It is a powerful word, a direct word and one we need to practice using. White people need to call out racist behavior committed by people, institutions or systems both subtle and blatant. We need to hear ourselves being called racists, and to hold the defense. Sit for a moment and own the word. That is our work to do - to pick up this direct, powerful, heavy word and create change in the lives and communities impacted by racism.

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