Scrabble Community Consider Banning Use of Racial And Homophobic Slurs

Leaders of the Scrabble tournament community in North America are voting on whether to ban the use of racial and homophobic slurs.

Scrabble Community Consider Banning Use of Racial And Homophobic Slurs

The vote will decide whether the words will be removed from the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) list of accepted words.

The NASPA manages competitive Scrabble tournaments and clubs in North America.

The decision is due after weeks of anti-racism protests in the US and around the world.

Hasbro, owner of the rights to Scrabble in North America, told The New York Times on Tuesday that the NASPA had “agreed to remove all slurs from their word list for Scrabble tournament play, which is managed solely by NASPA and available only to members.”

Hasbro has not allowed slurs in its dictionary since 1994. However the association has still permitted them.

The NASPA advisory board is set to vote on Thursday. The removal of the words from its vocabulary list could affect online versions of the game. The association licenses its list of words to software developers, according to Mashable.

Addressing members in a letter, NASPA Chief Executive John Chew said: “When we play a slur, we are declaring that our desire to score points in a word game is of more value to us than the slur’s broader function as a way to oppress a group of people.

“I don’t think that this is the time for us to be contributing divisively to the world’s problems.

Mr Chew told Reuters news agency that he was worried people were put off from joining the association due to offensive language in the association’s dictionary.

About 1,000 people took part in the association’s poll on whether to remove the words, he said.

The survey asked respondents whether they wanted the “N-word”, or all slurs, or all offensive words removed from the association’s vocabulary.

Mr Chew said members were split over removing the “N-word” and the public were in favour of its removal.

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