Honestly, and with all due respect, I'm not sure I understand why we're debating these semantic distinctions. Whether a racist is one with power, or merely a bigot, is not really meaningful to me. At the root, is the exact same sore - festering inside someone. If that sore exists - then it merely awaits an opportunity to infect others.
I could certainly create a belief system that says that racism is one who makes judgments based upon race and that discrimination is the impact of one's racist decision's - but what do I know.---MBM
I agree about the 'semanticism'.
There is, however, a difference. Maybe it has to do with pragmatism.
Certainly there are decisions based simply on race that are valid, and not pejorative. Such as the decisions made by geneticists.
There are decisions based on race that are discriminatory, and without malice. Such as the call a response to a search for persons of Asian/Mongoloid ancestry.
There are decisions based on race made with malice. They are clearly racist.
But the question then becomes, is THAT racism per se. Clearly, it is racist.
The person making the decision may have zero power to make that perferance true.
I would call that racist without the leverage of racism.
We are inclined to say one is the other without being concerned about the difference.
Maybe because we don't see the difference.
But clearly there is a difference.
The practitioners may be similar.