Scott Hardie | July 8, 2020
Should Scrabble ban racial and ethnic slurs? This wouldn't apply to home games of course, unless your home games are serious enough for you to buy the official players dictionary, but it would affect tournaments and video games.

Having read both sides of the argument in that article, I don't understand the objection to changing the rules. People say that slurs are meaningless on the Scrabble board and they're worth points, so just apologize and play them anyway since your goal is to win -- and as long as the words are valid for points, I understand that perspective without agreeing with it. But once the tournament rules change so that those words are no longer valid, then they become as useless as kwyjibo and they're no longer useful for points, so I can't understand who would still care at that point. Just forget about them as potential words, strike them from your mind as possibilities, and find other ways to score. Pretend that this change was some other arbitrary obstacle to scoring, like a rule change that removed the triple-word bonuses in the corners, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

I've played the word Jew in a game before and had it rejected because it's not in the official dictionary. I'm aware that it's offensive in certain contexts like an adjective or verb, but not in its most common form as a noun (which is certainly the way I was thinking of it), so I was surprised to learn that it's already banished, and hopeful that my playing it hadn't hurt any feelings; I definitely didn't mean it. (I also remember playing Jinn and having that successfully challenged, among others. My every encounter with the Scrabble dictionary has shown me its woeful incompleteness.)

What this comes down to for me is something that I said in another recent discussion: If someone out there is very hurt by something, and giving up that thing would mean little or no sacrifice on my part, how could I possibly object? My inability to score points with the N-word in a game of Scrabble surely is not a bigger hardship than that word's hurtful power for my Black gamer friends. (That said, I couldn't bring myself to play the N-word anyway, points or no points, even among all white players, because yikes. What kind of person plays a word like that? And it's only worth 8 points anyway.)

So, what do you think of this change?

Samir Mehta | July 8, 2020
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | July 8, 2020
Sounds good to remove those words, yes. Kwyjibo is a good word, but I prefer JOZXYQK!

Scott Hardie | July 11, 2020
I just came across this article specifically citing Jew as a slur that should never be played (or uttered, presumably). I truly had no idea. I very much regret using it, and I now banish it from my own vocabulary.

Good clip, Denise. :-)


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