“N word has no place in our game”: Competitive Scrabble player wants insults removed from the game


The president of the North American Scrabble Players Association has said racial slurs should be removed from competitive board games.

“I think it reflects poorly on competitive Scrabble players that they accept the use of words [that], in any other context, would be a hate crime, and they claim words don’t make sense when playing a game, just so they can score a few extra points, “said John Chew, CEO from NASPA. As it happens host Carol Off.

“I think the N word has no place in our game.”

This story was originally reported by The Globe and Mail.

Chew says he suggested removing offensive words after a NASPA member asked if there was anything the association could do to support black members in light of recent global Black Lives protests. Matter.

In 1994 Hasbro Inc., the maker of Scrabble, agreed to remove offensive words from the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary after a player complains.

However, some competitive players objected to its removal, which led to the creation of a separate wordlist for club and competitive play.

A total of 238 offensive words are included in the current NASPA lexicon, ranging from scatological terms to racial slurs.

Chew’s letter garnered over 1,000 responses and the matter is currently under consideration by NASPA’s semi-elected advisory board.

Chew wrote a letter to his association asking that racial slurs be removed from the list of acceptable Scrabble words for tournaments and clubs. (Submitted by John Chew)

Some members argue for keeping offensive words and wonder where to draw the line, while others say there is no malicious intent behind the words.

“In the game, the context is different from interpersonal relationships. I understand the other point of view. I think it comes from a place of respect. I just think it’s problematic,” said Frank Tangredi , member of NASPA.

Tangredi, a New York-based playwright, wrote a response to NASPA’s advisory board arguing that in deciding which words are offensive, the organization risks missing certain words and therefore should avoid the problem altogether.

“I think that would open a box of worms,” he wrote. “No matter where you draw the line, there are words that people think should be on either side of the line.”

Still, he says, any player who actually utters a targeted insult against another player should face disciplinary action.

But Chew says he wants competitive play to be more inclusive, and that starts with removing the slurs from competitive play.

“When we play an insult, we state that our desire to score points in a pun is more valuable to us than the larger function of the insult as a means of oppressing a group of people,” he said. -he writes. on the association’s website.

The NASPA review committee is expected to make a decision next week.

Written by Lito Howse. Interview with John Chew by Jeanne Armstrong.

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