Petition Asking Real Academia to Remove Racist Language from Dictionary Goes Viral

Jan 26, 2013
11:17 AM

The following video from Uruguay is starting to make the rounds online. Produced by the Casa de la Cultura Afrouruguaya (The Afro-Uruguayan Cultural Institute), the video asks the Real Academia Española (the authoritative organization of the Spanish language) to remove racist expressions in the RAE’s dictionary.

The group also created an online petition that as of this morning has already over 30,000 signatures.


The letter says the following:

There are many expressions in our everyday language that could be considered discriminatory. One of those expressions, “to work like a black person,” appears in your dictionary.

This expressions evokes an oppressive past that should never be repeated to any human being.

We ask that you revise the appearance of this expression in your dictionary. In return, we will promise to erase all discriminatory expressions from our plazas, playing fields, schools, and —above all— our homes.

The “Borremos el racismo” campaign is sharing updates on Twitter and on Facebook.

According to ABC News, recent incidents related to race are occurring in Uruguay:

Several actions against racism are currently taking place in Uruguay, a country of 3.3 million people where around 5 percent of the population self-identifies as black or of African descent.

As the online petition picks up signatures, anti-racism activists in Uruguay are pressing officials to prosecute five women, who were accused of beating black activist Tania Ramirez outside a club in Montevideo in December.

At the behest of local activists,and international soccer authorities, officials in this soccer-crazy country are also considering plans to cancel soccer games if fans break out in racist chants during matches, which happens repeatedly not only in Uruguay but also in Argentina and many European countries where black players often perform in front of mostly white crowds.