Racism ceased to be a matter of systems and policy and became a referendum on the rot of the individual soul. Calling people racist was no longer a matter of evaluating their opinions; it was an accusation of being irrevocably warped at the very core. We can see how this plays out in news coverage of things that are, in fact, racist. “Racist” is seen as such a deep personal attack that it’s safer and more civil — particularly in the eyes of mainstream media organizations — to refer to things as racially charged, or tinged, or explosive, or divisive, or (when all else fails) just plain racial.
Greg Howard, “Bias Charge”, The New York Times Magazine (21 August 2016), 12.