scrabble slurs

Ethnic and racial slurs are now banned from Scrabble association in Canada

The North American Scrabble Players Association has removed a total of 236 slurs and derogatory terms from the game's official word list.

NASPA, which represents about 10,000 players in the U.S. and Canada, made the decision following the results of a divisive poll. 

CEO of NASPA, John Chew, explained: "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."

According to Chew, the slurs ranged from "white supremacist creeds to naive expressions of faith in the fundamental goodness of all people."

While Hasbro has worked to eliminate offensive words from the official Merriam-Webster Scrabble Players Dictionary, NASPA has its own separate word list, which is used in competitive tournaments. 

"I learned a lot about our community in the past weeks," Chew's statement continued. We have a lot of racists, and we have a lot of bleeding-heart liberals."

"We have people of every colour on every side of the debate. Somehow, we have all managed to set that all aside when we meet over SCRABBLE boards. It’s what I love about the game."

Despite a poll that elicited a 50-50 split among members, NASPA's CEO ultimately decided "all slurs" should come out of their lexicon.

"It’s the right thing to do, and I will make sure that it happens," Chew added. "I have asked the Advisory Board to vote their consciences, because I think this is an important moment in the history of our association."

"Everyone should know how their board represented them on this weighty issue."

Lead photo by

Jane Seifried

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