After witnessing an interesting yet ineffective conversation on racism in a thread (this one: https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/160?page=1), I decided to formally congeal my thoughts. I think the thread touched on some truths, but it did not do so accurately, thus the necessity of this thread.
The term "racism" is most certainly nebulous, and I suspect this is by design. What constitutes racism exactly? In short, it is anything that references race:
Hitler enabling mass genocide of Jews? That's racism.
The black-white I.Q. gap documented in a scholarly fashion? That's racism.
Observing the fact that certain sections of a nation have disproportionately higher volumes of certain races? That's racism.
A white man lecturing on another race's history? That's racism.
Suggesting that separate races exist? That's racism.
Being white? That's racism.
The long answer is that dependent on the individual, different definitions of racism will be found, but all with the same zealotry -- this is a critical point. Most people will not have qualms with labelling Hitler a racist, but calling a white man racist, purely because he is white, is a tough pill to swallow for even the most Antifa of Antifas. So, whenever the label "racism" is awarded, negative affect results, regardless of whether a concrete definition has been established (it hasn't, which is why I suspect this is by design: it's an incredibly powerful political tool). Moreover, it is not that racism is meaningless, but that its definition is wildly varied.
The sinister part comes when you consider that empirical conclusions (there is a black-white I.Q. gap) are linked with extreme racial hatred (justification for killing millions of Jews), but only with one word: racism. Instead of being able to discuss the validity of black-white I.Q. gaps, we're no longer able to do so under the threat of parity with Hitler. This suppression of speech continues with the race notion, wherein we are threatened with racism whenever racial groups/differences are suggested, even ones that are benign (e.gs. Kenyan marathon accomplishments are partially a result of genetics; Asians don't sweat, hence the lack of deodorant in their countries).
It is this disingenuous conflation, rather than complete meaninglessness, that plagues the definition of "racism". A far better approach would be to abandon the hysterical term, and develop a distinct definition for people of the Hitler variety: racial hatred. That way, we can avoid disingenuous conflation.