tokenism

noun
to·​ken·​ism | \ ˈtō-kə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce tokenism (audio) \

Definition of tokenism

: the policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort (as to desegregate)

Examples of tokenism in a Sentence

Did the company choose her for her merits, or merely as an act of tokenism?
Recent Examples on the Web Avoiding the dilemmas of tokenism is why California expects boards to move toward a critical mass of women, mandating two or three women, depending on board size, by the end of 2021. Rosabeth Moss Kanter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Warren Buffett has the right answer to crony capitalism: women," 4 Mar. 2020 But these eye-catching ecological measures have, rightly, prompted accusations of tokenism. Washington Post, "Prince Harry Can’t Make Your Holiday Green," 9 Sep. 2019 In an incredible act of gaslighting, the Hall leadership tried to pass off this tokenism as diversity, and many media outlets fell for it. Evelyn Mcdonnell, Billboard, "It's Time For the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Address Its Gender and Racial Imbalances (Guest Op-Ed)," 15 Nov. 2019 Critics say quotas can lead to tokenism, rather than deeper cultural change. Fortune, "A VC Community Introduces a Gender Quota: The Broadsheet," 12 July 2019 Luce makes a natural conduit for Lee and Onah’s sharp ideas about the limitations of tokenism and the moral bankruptcy of prioritizing optics over human lives. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Who is ‘Luce’? Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives a compelling answer in a twisty race drama," 15 Aug. 2019 Luce makes a natural conduit for Lee and Onah’s sharp ideas about the limitations of tokenism and the moral bankruptcy of prioritizing optics over human lives. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Who is ‘Luce’? Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives a compelling answer in a twisty race drama," 15 Aug. 2019 Luce makes a natural conduit for Lee and Onah’s sharp ideas about the limitations of tokenism and the moral bankruptcy of prioritizing optics over human lives. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Who is ‘Luce’? Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives a compelling answer in a twisty race drama," 15 Aug. 2019 In a world where companies engage in tokenism to satisfy their customers’ false green preferences, the efforts by Marriott and InterContinental are perfectly acceptable. Yossi Sheffi, Quartz, "Removing mini-shampoos from hotel rooms won’t save the environment," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tokenism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tokenism

1960, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of tokenism was in 1960

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Cite this Entry

“Tokenism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tokenism. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for tokenism

tokenism

noun
How to pronounce tokenism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tokenism

: the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tokenism

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