A complaint has been lodged to the Australian Human Rights Commission against the owners of popular board game Scrabble for allowing racist slurs against Aboriginal people to be used as playable words.
Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan is behind the complaint against toy maker Mattel for allowing several derogatory terms to be played.
Hagan has successfully campaigned in the past to convince brand owner’s to acknowledge racial overtones.
In July last year, the near-century old Australian-made Coon cheese announced it would be renamed, after the activist wrote to the brand’s Canadian-based owners.
“My wife and I never encouraged our children, when they were young, to experiment with racially offensive words or slurs whenever they played Scrabble,” Dr Hagan wrote in the complaint, obtained by NCA NewsWire.
“I would like to think that when they have children they would also explain the importance of not using racially offensive words to gain points in Scrabble.”
He says several racist slurs are included in the Collins Dictionary which is endorsed by Mattel and the World English-Language Scrabble Players’ Association.
Dr Hagan is calling for the words, and any words that may be offensive to other ethnic groups, to be removed from the Scrabble dictionary.
7NEWS.com.au has contacted Mattel for comment.
‘Inclusive and enjoyable for all’
In July, the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) announced it would remove slurs and other offensive words from the official word list that’s used at its tournaments.
The group decided to remove the slurs after conducting a poll of its members that received more than a thousand passionate responses, NASPA CEO John Chew said in a statement.
Chew said that they decided to remove the words, so that the game would be more inclusive.
Toymaker Hasbro, which owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, announced that it is changing the game’s official rules “to make clear that slurs are not permissible in any form of the game.”
“Hasbro Gaming is rooted in community and bringing people together, and we are committed to providing an experience that is inclusive and enjoyable for all,” the company said in a statement.
Hasbro said that it first started removing offensive words from the Merriam-Webster Official Scrabble Players Dictionary in 1994 and reviews the full list before each reprinting.
– with CNN