Epithet Inflation: The Case of "Racism"
Suppose, however, that she had not changed her mind. What she would then have done could legitimately be labeled discrimination, although not (to my mind) a very serious example—most of us are more willing to help people we identify with than people we see as in some way different or alien. Racism is lynching, burning crosses, spitting on people—hating people because of their race. Helping people a little less than you would help them if they were of your race doesn't come close to qualifying.
Once a label is firmly identified as bad, it is always tempting to apply it a little more widely. And a little more widely still. And ... . In the case of "racist," the process has gone even further than this incident illustrates, to the point where it can mean nothing more than "someone whose views about race I disagree with."