Spanish Academy Urged to Drop Racist Expression
Uruguayans are petitioning the Royal Spanish Academy to expunge as discriminatory the expression "to work like a black" from its dictionary, the ultimate authority on the Spanish language.
"We ask that you review this expression's remaining in the dictionary," said the petition. "We, for our part, commit ourselves to erase all discriminatory expressions from our plazas, our playing fields, our schools and especially our houses."
Launched by the Casa de la Cultura Afrouruguaya (the House of Afro-Uruguayan Culture) in a televised event Tuesday, the petition has so far garnered 4,700 signatures.
Grammy winner Ruben Rada and other Uruguayan cultural and sports figures have joined the mass multimedia campaign to raise awareness about racism in daily life.
"In our everyday language there are expressions that can be used to discriminate, one of which appear in the dictionary: 'to work like a black,'" the petition says.
This expression "evokes a past of subjugation that should not be repeated by any human being."
The petition drive will run until March 20, and organizers want to formally deliver it to the Academy on March 21, the U.N.-designated International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.