This is an emergency public service announcement from Argument Clinic!
I see a lot of discussion on various news sources as to whether or not so-and-so is a racist, or such and such. It is poor strategy to engage in such a discussion unless you plan to win it. To explain further…
I hardly need to add to what Jay has already explained so well. However, in the context of argument clinic, there are some take-away points worth emphasizing:
It is bad strategy to call your opponent a “racist” when you can use the same amount of breath and time to succinctly say how what they did or said was racist. During the pathetic 2016 election cycle we saw so many examples of this strategic failure: “Donald Trump is a sexist” or “Breitbart Guy is a racist.” No! Say “Trump sees women that he has any power over as fair targets for sexual assault” is 13 words, whereas “Trump is a sexist” is 4. Talk a little faster, say a little more.
In terms of argument clinic this is a form of labelling and all of the strategic analysis applied to labelling maps 100%. If you are attacked by being labelled as a racist, you would break that hold using verbal nihilism: “What exactly do you mean by ‘racist'” and lead your opponent into a swamp of definitions. If you are on the attack, simply don’t use labelling and – as Jay Smooth says – take them down for what they said or did and ignore analyzing what they are.