Dictionary.com Updates Definition Of ‘Black’ After People Call It ‘Offensive’
By Izza Sofia, 10 Jun 2019
Image via Shutterstock
Black women have called out Dictionary.com for its “offensive” synonyms used to describe the word “black.”
The online dictionary associated the term with words like “evil,” “threatening” and even “soiled.” Aside from these negative descriptors, it was also a suggestion for, “a member of various dark-skinned people,” albeit one that was sometimes “offensive” to African Americans.
Women of color have thus called for the website to change the definitions. Among them was Nyshayla Barnes, who told Yahoo News that younger Black people might “unintentionally learn to hate themselves” if they read the definitions for the word “black.”
An African-American girl might misconstrue that her complexion is unideal, and thus carry these insecurities growing up, for instance. This might lead to “low self-esteem, depression or suicide,” Barnes warned.
Others, too, shared such sentiments, and hoped that the online dictionary would redefine the word so that a child would not feel “less of themselves” and finally affirm that “black is beautiful.”
In response, Dictionary.com said it would reevaluate its definition and thanked everyone for their opinions. It will also be capitalizing the term whenever it is used to represent the community.
“Why capitalize ‘Black’ in this context? It is considered a mark of respect, recognition, and pride,” the site explained. “Not capitalizing ‘Black’ in this context can be seen as dismissive, disrespectful, and dehumanizing,” the dictionary detailed.
Let’s Change The Old, Insulting, Abusive, Objectionable, Hostile, Attacking Definition Of “Black/ black ”. It’s Not Who We Are Or What We a Stand For. So Let’s Move To Change It And Proudly Represent BLACK, As We Really Are. @Dictionarycom— Kenya Dixon (@Kenx2Doll) June 6, 2019
There are offensive words in the dictionary associated with the definition of ‘Black’. It is vital that we have more positive meanings for this word because how we define words shapes our perception of them. @Dictionarycom— Nyshayla 🥀 (@NyshaylaBarnes) June 5, 2019
This definition only perpetuates and contributes to the teaching of prejudice and stereotypes against Black people in society today.— Nyshayla 🥀 (@NyshaylaBarnes) June 5, 2019
and add a more positive definition to the word black because how we define words shapes our perception of them. @Dictionarycom— A’Shanti Overstreet (@overstreeta1208) June 5, 2019
I believe that no parent wants to see their child feel less of themselves because of what the world describes them as. Personally, I know my black is beautiful. I want my younger sisters and brothers to know that as well. So please consider a change in the perception of— Promise Evans (@prxmxseevans) June 7, 2019
Black is a color, usually seen as dark. Black shouldn’t always be defined as “dark”. Black is beautiful, black is brave, black is cultural and fun, it’s mysterious and classy. Black is unique, Black is bold! Black is natural, and POWERFUL. @Dictionarycom— Jordennarijah😍 (@jordennarijah) June 7, 2019
We are working on updates as we speak! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. https://t.co/hEEnIkbS2C— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) June 7, 2019
[via Yahoo News, opening image via Shutterstock]
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