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Anti-Defamation League revised its definition of racism because it was ‘so narrow’

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

The Anti-Defamation League has revised its definition of racism in the wake of the controversy sparked by “The View” co-host Whoopi Golberg‘s comments on the Holocaust.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), announced the decision in an essay published this week, saying the organization’s definition had been incomplete, “ineffective and therefore unacceptable.”

“In all honesty, as I re-read it this past week, it struck me that it didn’t even speak to my own family’s experience with the racism they experienced as Jews from the Middle East,” Greenblatt wrote.

Since 2020, the ADL had described racism as “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges White people.”

That definition, Greenblatt wrote in his essay, was revised with the intention of acknowledging systemic racism and the impact of White supremacy on people of color.

But Greenblatt said that definition was “so narrow” because the group and its founders believe that no one should be “persecuted, demeaned or discriminated against because of their identity,” which encompasses faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and more.

As of Friday, the group’s new and “interim” definition states that racism “occurs when individuals or institutions show more favorable evaluation or treatment of an individual or group based on race or ethnicity.”

Greenblatt said the ADL will continue to review how they define racism as well as other words and phrases on the group’s website.

Jake Hyman, a spokesman for the ADL, told CNN on Friday that this is the second time the group has revised its definition of racism in the past five years.

The change came after some people raised concern over the ADL’s definition of racism as Greenblatt condemned the remarks made by Goldberg earlier this week, which falsely declared that the Holocaust was “not about race.”

“There’s no question that the Holocaust was about race. That’s how the Nazis saw it as they perpetrated the systematic annihilation of the Jewish people across continents, across countries, with deliberate and ruthless cruelty,” he said during an interview Tuesday on “The View.”

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