1932 (as an adjective from 1938), from race (n.2) + -ist. Racism (q.v.) is in use by 1928, originally in the context of fascist theories, and common from 1936. These words replaced earlier racialism (1882) and racialist (1910), both often used early 20c. in a British or South African context. There are isolated uses of racism from c. 1900.
Returning recently from a six months' visit to Europe, the Rev. John LaFarge, noted Catholic writer, warned at a dinner given in his honor that the destructive forces of "racism" are increasing in the United States, and that they could cause irreparable harm among the American people if immediate steps are not taken to combat them.
Father LaFarge said that American racism is directed principally against Negroes, Jews, and foreigners. He described it as "the pale but venomous cousin" of Nazi racism. Like its Nazi counterpart, he added, it has erected impassable barriers between extensive regions and large groups of people, has formed its own myths and moulded its own social institutions, and above all has come consistently into conflict with Christian teachings. [Opportunity, Journal of Negro Life, vol. XVII, No. 2, Feb. 1939]
Earlier, race hatred (1852 of the Balkans, 1858 of British India, 1861 of white and black in America), race prejudice (1867 of English in India, 1869 of white and black in America, 1870 of the English toward Irish) were used, and, especially in 19c. U.S. political contexts, negrophobia. Anglo-Saxonism as "belief in the superiority of the English race" had been used (disparagingly) from 1860. Anti-Negro (adj.) is attested in British and American English from 1819.
1965, from sex (n.) on model of racist, coined by Pauline M. Leet, director of special programs at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S., in a speech which circulated in mimeograph among feminists. It was popularized by use in print in Caroline Bird's introduction to "Born Female" (1968), which also introduced sexism.
by 1928, in common use from 1935, originally in a European context, "racial supremacy as a doctrine, the theory that human characteristics and abilities are determined by race;" see racist, and compare the various senses in race (n.2) and racialism. Applied to American social systems from late 1930s.
This meaning of Nationalism in no sense implies any consent to the doctrine of Racism, which holds that unity of racial origin is the main principle of unity for civil society and that the members of each ethnical branch should properly aim at grouping themselves together into so many national States. Although it is desirable that strongly-felt national aspirations, which often depend on community of race, should be satisfied, as far as this may be compatible with justice, Racism or the Principle of Racial Self determination, as it has been called in recent years is a materialistic illusion contrary to natural law and destructive of civilisation. [James Strachey Barnes, "The Universal Aspects of Fascism," London, 1928]
genetic disorder causing developmental and intellectual delays, 1961, from J.L.H. Down (1828-1896), English physician; chosen as a less racist name for the condition than earlier mongolism.
"female of one of the black races of Africa," 1750, from French négresse, fem. of nègre "negro," which came to French via Spanish or Portuguese (see Negro). "In recent years felt by some to have 'racist' connotations" [OED, 1991]. Negrine (1703) also was used.
1867, American English, originally Kuklux Klan, a made-up name, supposedly from Greek kuklos, kyklos "circle" (see cycle (n.)) + English clan. Originally an organization of former Confederate officers and soldiers, it was put down by the U.S. military in the 1870s. Revived 1915 as a national racist Protestant fraternal organization, it grew to prominence but fractured in the 1930s. It had a smaller national revival 1950s as an anti-civil rights group, later with anti-government leanings. In late 19c. often simply Kuklux.
1640s, "the making of distinctions, act of observing or marking a difference," from Late Latin discriminationem (nominative discriminatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of discriminare "to divide, separate" (see discriminate (v.)). Sense of "making invidious distinctions prejudicial to a class of persons" (usually based on race or color) is from 1866 in American English in the language of Reconstruction. Meaning "discernment" is from 1814.
It especially annoys me when racists are accused of 'discrimination.' The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one 'race' to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination. [Christopher Hitchens, "Letters to a Young Contrarian"]
fem. proper name, Danish shortened form of Katherine. Rare before 1928; a top-10 name for girls born in the U.S. 1951-1968.
The modern pejorative use in reference to a person regarded as ignorant, meddlesome, entitled, racist, or generally negative, is attested by 2005, originally often with reference to meanness or stupidity, and exploded in popularity 2018, with more emphasis on the racism and privilege. Its use as rhetorical shorthand probably was encouraged, if not inspired by, the 2004 movie "Mean Girls" (screenplay by Tina Fey) and by U.S. comedian Dane Cook's 2005 stand-up act, both of which produced memes and Twitter references. Claims that it originated in African-American circles are unsupported.
Beth Harpaz's 2001 book "Girls in the Van," about Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign, reports that Clinton's assistants Karen Dunn and Karen Finney were known as The Karens. Finney went on to a career as a commentator, and some of the earliest abstract uses of Karen in the late 2000s are as the personification of a liberal do-gooder.