ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A Florissant woman is using a different approach to make change.
While thousands of people have taken to the street to protest, Kennedy Mitchum, who recently graduated with a degree in law, politics and society, took to email.
She said it all started when people would argue with her about the definition of racism and she realized the problem was in the pages of Merriam Webster’s dictionary.
“With everything going on, I think it’s important everyone is on the same page," said Mitchum.
The dictionary defines racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
Mitchum said that definition was too simple and too surface level.
"So, a couple weeks ago, I said this is the last argument I'm going to have about this. I know what racism is, I've experienced it time and time and time again in a lot of different ways, so enough is enough. So, I emailed them about how I felt about it. Saying this needs to change," she said.
Mitchum is a Nerinx Hall graduate and just graduated from Drake University. She said she wasn't expecting anything from her email, but she knew she had to make an effort.
“I basically told them they need to include that there is systematic oppression on people. It's not just 'I don't like someone,' it's a system of oppression for a certain group of people," Mitchum explained.
After a few back and forth emails, the editor of Merriam Webster Dictionary agreed and wrote back, "While our focus will always be on faithfully reflecting the real-world usage of a word, not on promoting any particular viewpoint, we have concluded that omitting any mention of the systemic aspects of racism promotes a certain viewpoint in itself."
Alex Chambers, the editor of Merriam Webster Dictionary, said a revision to the entry for "racism" is now being drafted.
"This revision would not have been made without your persistence in contacting us about this problem. We sincerely thank you for repeatedly writing in and apologize for the harm and offense we have caused in failing to address the issue sooner. I will see to it that the entry for racism is given the attention it sorely needs," wrote Chambers.
Chambers said they could not give a date on upcoming publications but that a revision should be expected in the coming months.