A list of words that are reportedly banned from the messaging function of E3 2021’s online portal and virtual booths has been leaked. The list contains many words that are generally offensive or of a sexual nature. There are also some words that are not necessarily offensive on their own, but may be utilized in such a way. However, some of the words being banned may come as a surprise to many, especially the apparent banning of the term “Canada.”
This leaked list has left many wondering why the country of Canada has become a banned word by the folks at E3. A little digging has pointed many in the direction of a post on boingboing that breaks down the sudden rise in racial connotations connected to the term Canada. The post discusses an article in the Canadian National Post that looks into how many white racists are adopting seemingly harmless terms to make racist comments in public or unnoticed. The article highlights the experience of a blogger in Cincinnati whose black friend kept remarking on how the customers in her Southeastern American store kept referring to her as “Canadian”:
“She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn’t understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else…After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian’ was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using.”
If this is indeed true, then it makes sense for E3 to try and stay on top of potential racism or hate speech during the upcoming virtual event. Especially considering the recent crackdown the video game industry has seen on racism and harassment by large companies and titles. As for why “toe jam” and “women rapping” are being banned, that is a complete mystery and one that may remain hidden for a while as E3 recently password-protected the Java Script file containing the words.
You can catch this year’s all-virtual E3 when it kicks off June 12!
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