ADL definition of racism that specifies discrimination by "white people" comes under fire

The anti-semitism advocacy group changed the definition in July 2020


NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Director of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt speaks on stage during the 2015 Concordia Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on October 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

The US-based advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League has drawn criticism on social media after screenshots of their definition of Racism went viral on Twitter.

According to the ADL, racism can be defined as "The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people."

This entry on their website, which according to internet archives was updated in July 2020, used to contain a more traditional definition of racism. It said: "Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.

"Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another."

The edit, which was seemingly made nearly two years ago, was noticed by American Twitter users who took exception to the change. The story was reported by right-wing news site the Daily Wire, who accused the ADL of "going woke."

The Jewish Policy Center think tank described the change as "completely unacceptable."

The ADL is currently led by former Obama administration official Jonathan Greenblatt. The ADL has been approached for comment.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive