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Scrutiny
  
A beggar means an Arab?!?!
And the US ex-Veep was a Dick! Online dictionaries shock in racism
19/03/2009

Why this hasn’t created a global controversy is a wonder to us! Over time, the world has seen the emergence of different kinds of racists; English dictionaries now join the inglorious club.

To start off with, the San Francisco based online dictionary, www.freethesaurus.net, provides the synonyms of various English words. Imagine our surprise when we noticed that the synonym for the word ‘beggar’ is given as ‘Arab’. That for the word ‘terrorist’ are ‘Castroist, Communist, Leninist, Maoist and Marxist’. A ‘loafer’ is again our lucky ‘Arab’; an ‘atheist’ is a ‘blasphemer’, and so on so forth! If freethesaurus.net was too free for our digestion, Webster’s dictionary churns it further, hilariously defining ‘fundamentalism’ as a movement in American Protestanism that arose in the 20th century. The Oxford dictionary rocks the cradle by defining ‘fundamentalism’ as “strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion, especially Islam.” There, we get it now; how English tutored kids understand Islam.

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn was embroiled in a censorship controversy recently. The repeated use of the word ‘Negro’ in the classic saw virulent objections from African-American community. While the teaching community tried to justify Twain’s work on its literary value, the naysayers said that by that logic, even Hitler’s concepts would qualify as quite ‘literary’ in comparison. Well, while we personally stick to the literary stand, we also know there are some things you can change and some you cannot. Online dictionaries surely are the biggest hypocrites here that can be changed and should be regulated on their usage at the soonest. But yes, there are some synonyms that can never be changed. Richard Cheney is the former US Vice President. You got it, ‘Dick’ is what he’ll be called years hence too...

By:- Akram Hoque
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