'Am I racist?' You may not like the answer
Updated 10:53 AM ET, Sat June 20, 2020
(CNN)The George Floyd protests have forced many White Americans to consider tough questions about race. But the most difficult question may be the one they're asking themselves.
Google says searches for the term, "Am I racist," have spiked in recent weeks to an all-time high. Floyd's death at the hands of a White police officer has sparked a racial awakening in the US. Support for the Black Lives Matter movement has surged, and White people are snapping up books like "How to Be an Antiracist" and "White Fragility."
But a Google search and a few books can only go so far in answering such a complex and loaded query.
So CNN called some activists, psychologists and historians and asked them: How would you help White people answer that question?
First, let's define racism
The first step in self-knowledge is defining what it means to be a racist, and defining racism itself.
Wornie Reed, a veteran civil rights activist and the director of the Race and Social Policy Center at Virginia Tech, says, "A racist person is a person who commits racist acts."
Those acts, he says, are backed by a set of beliefs that support the idea that race determines human traits and capacities and makes one race automatically superior to another.
"If they do racist things, I'm willing to call them a racist," Reed says. "You can be a racist even if you don't intend to be one."