hot button

Racist. A jacked word with so little specificity that it means nothing. A psychic spear thrown usually in one direction – by blacks to whites. Oh wait, check that. Witness the pushback to Beyonce’s Superbowl song.

The word racist has the power to force conversation to a bewildered halt, into silence spiked with anger that enforces a perimeter, offering no traction on the muddy ground of shared humanity.

Racist is an insult hurled to inflict doubt and pain. It neutralizes any effort people make to understand one another.