When everyone from Marty Peretz to Angie Harmon to Hillary Clinton supporters (not to mention Hillary herself) can be called a racist, while simultaneously people who actually are racists are feted by the Washington Post and CNN, perhaps it might be time to redefine the meaning of the word.
Of course, in one sense the marketplace of ideas has already done that:
racist – A statement of surrender during an argument. When two people or disputants are engaged in an acrimonious debate, the side that first says “Racist!” has conceded defeat. Synonymous with saying “Resign” during a chess game, or “Uncle” during a schoolyard fight. Originally, the term was meant to indicate that one side was accusing the other of being racist, but once it was noticed that people only resorted to this tactic when all other arguments had been exhausted, it acquired its new meaning of “indicating one’s own concession of defeat.”
(Or at least cue up a clip from Avenue Q.)
Update: Related thoughts from Stephen Kruiser: “Paul Krugman Is Obviously A Racist.”