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Are You a Racist? Before You Answer, Consider the Historical Root of the Word

Liz Dwyer

Where does the word "racism" come from? NPR's Gene Demby explores how "Richard Henry Pratt was the first person the Oxford English Dictionary records using the word "racism," in a speech decrying it. But his own legacy on race is checkered."

Generations later, despite the racism evident in America, we all usually deny that we're racists. "That's in part because racists, in our cultural conversations, have become inhuman," says Demby. "They're fairy-tale villains, and thus can't be real."

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