Scrabble Removes Racial, Ethnic Slurs From Official Word List

On Wednesday, the North American Scrabble Players Association announced that derogatory language would be removed from the game’s official word list. The decision comes after an online poll was conducted by the North American Scrabble Players Association, the organization’s CEO, John Chew, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Some members threatened to leave the association if a single word were removed; others threatened to leave the association if any offensive words remained. There were a lot of good and bad arguments on both sides,” said Chew. “I know that if the Advisory Board does not vote in favour of my proposal to remove the offensive slurs from our lexicon, and the Executive Committee has to overturn their decision, then at least a quarter of our members will hold me personally responsible for autocratically damaging their beloved game. I understand, and accept the responsibility and the blame. On the other hand, I know that at least another quarter, who would otherwise have blamed me for not standing up for what is right, will instead at least momentarily rejoice. Either way, please let me know how you feel, so that I know where we stand.”

The NASPA list differs from the the Merriam-Webster Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. While Hasbro has no say over NASPA’s list, and the organization’s members do not use Scrabble’s dictionary in competition, the company said Wednesday that it was amending the rules that appear in every Scrabble box “to make clear that slurs are not permissible in any form of the game.”

After the online poll, the NASPA’s advisory board ultimately voted to remove 236 words from the list, Chew said.

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