Scrabble to ban racial and ethnic slurs from tournaments and rules of the game
It was the competitive players who opposed. In a compromise, insults and profanity were removed from the official Scrabble dictionary, but clubs and tournaments could follow a separate lexicon, produced by the players’ association, which allows insults.
“It is very difficult for a lot of people to understand why these words are still acceptable in Scrabble,” said Stefan Fatsis, author of a competitive scrabble book, “Word Freak”.
During the fury of the 1990s, Steven Alexander, who is white and Jewish, was one of many actors who wrote letters opposing any redactions. He still opposes most exclusions, but has changed his position after recent events.
âThe only word that has been used to rally crowds to terrorism is the N word,â he said. âIt’s a conspiracy word, a tool of oppression. If black people demand something, a white man like me shouldn’t necessarily put his point of view first. “
Chew’s initial proposal came after an association member wrote a letter on the organization’s Facebook page calling on the organization to take action. Chew agreed and made the proposal, then opened the topic for debate, which he said was fairly mixed.
âI couldn’t have found a bigger corner problem if I had tried,â he said.
For those who opposed the deletion of words, Chew said, the three main arguments were: the meaning of a word does not matter in Scrabble; it’s a slippery slope, and – he repeated in a tone of disbelief – if some people aren’t offended by the presence of these words, why would anyone else be?