I want to discuss something that's been on my mind for a bit. On Sunday night, right after the VMA's, (and before it-which-must-not-be-named), I had a long discussion with my 20 year old brother about why I was offended by Miley's performance. He's not totally up on social justice issues, and doesn't have the same context for this stuff as I do, but he's insightful, and willing to engage and learn. The discussion eventually segued into the nature of the word racist and how it is used in conversation of this nature.
He thinks that the word racist is "aggressive" and should only used to describe acts and people who do obviously and maliciously racist things (like... lynching I suppose?) because using it to refer to smaller, unintentional acts of racism immediately puts people on the defensive, and makes them unwilling to listen to you and your line of reasoning, even when you're right.
Now, while I see his point, and agree with his reasoning, I disagree with that sentiment. I think that it's even more important to explicitly label the smaller, unintentional acts of racism as racism, in order to help people recognize that no, you're not in the KuKluxKlan, but yes, pawing at a black woman's hair or calling a black man "boy", or dressing up as an "Indian Chief" for Halloween, or pulling your eyes back to make them slant is still, racist as fuck.