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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Scotland Yard blacklists the word "blacklist" because it sounds racist

Wanting to avoid any appearance of racism, Britain's Scotland Yard has banned the use of the word "blacklist" by its IT staff. Yes, you read that correctly. "I am sure we can appreciate the sensitivity around the use of such terminology today," wrote security services chief Brian Douglas, "so please ensure it is no longer used." The word "whitelist" is also forbidden.

That got me thinking. What other words might have underlying racist connotations? A few potentially offensive terms sprang immediately to mind:
  • blackboard
  • whiteboard
  • blackout
  • whitewash
  • Black Friday
  • whitewater rafting
  • blackened catfish
  • white collar crime
  • black coffee
  • whitewall tires
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Black's Law Dictionary
  • White House
Actor Jack Black and comedian Ron White were unavailable for comment.

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