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Judge Orders Spelling Bee Use Urban Dictionary Words; White Students Eliminated in Qualifying Rounds “Just Like Track & Field” Laments Rush Limbaugh

Urban Dictionary's prominent role in the spelling bee last week eliminated decades of cultural bias that has placed unfair emphasis on proper grammar, the ACLU successfully argued in federal court last month.

Urban Dictionary’s prominent role in Tawanda Jackson’s spelling bee win last week eliminated decades of cultural bias that has placed unfair emphasis on proper grammar, the ACLU successfully argued in federal court last month.


Urban Dictionary words caused chaos at the National Spelling Bee, when nearly all top ranked spellers were eliminated in early rounds.

Urban Dictionary words caused chaos at the National Spelling Bee, when nearly all top ranked spellers were eliminated in early rounds.

Affirmative Action Quotas No Longer in Doubt

After decades of “whitespeak” (Anglo-centric linguistics), the Scripps National Spelling Bee was forced by a federal judge last month to source 50% of its competition words from Urban Dictionary, a user-generated online dictionary that is considered a modern, multicultural reference for language. The ACLU lawsuit is one of many in a (ACLU) campaign to address “cultural bias” in educational and vocational institutions.

Urban Dictionary’s sudden debut caused mayhem that will go down in history as the hallmark of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, with dozens of top ranked spellers eliminated by trivial words in the very first rounds, and just as many no-rank, rookie contestants sailing effortlessly into the final sudden-death eliminations, ultimately won by 12 year-old Tawanda Jackson of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

After her victory, Tawanda told reporters, “Last year I was eliminated in the first round. I was just hoping to make it to the second round this year, but the judges kept giving me words I’ve been spelling all my life, it was like they wanted me to win.”

“…the judges kept giving me words I’ve been spelling all my life, it was like they wanted me to win.” – 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion Tawanda Jackson of Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Jacques A. Bailly, moderator for Scripps National Spelling Bee

Moderator Jacques A. Bailly called last year’s champion, Kevin Brown, to the stage at 22 seconds and eliminated him by 1:48 seconds.

The shocking performance was felt in every inch of the post and beam arena as the audience, as if sharing one giant pair of lungs, held its breath in tense silence until the verdict of a spelling attempt came down from the house speakers: “Incorrect, the correct spelling is…”.

Champion Eliminated at 1:48

“Now on stage is last year’s champion, Kevin Brown of Darien, Connecticut,” said Moderator Jacques A. Bailly’s all-too familiar voice through the pristine house speakers.

A thunderous applause rocked the arena as Brown, now 13, walked onstage for what he surely expected to be a three-second, no-brainer word.

“Your word is…badonkadonk.”

Top-ranked white students were eliminated in early rounds by Urban Dictionary words at the Third Grade level.

Top-ranked white students were eliminated in early rounds by Urban Dictionary words at the Third Grade level.

Brown coiled and squirmed, puckered his lips. He looked more like a boy urgently needing to pee than a champion speller in round one.

Finally, Brown spoke.

“Usage in a sentence please,” Brown said.

“I gots to tap dat badonkadonk last night,” Bailly said.

“Usage in a sentence please,” Brown said.

“I gots to tap dat badonkadonk last night,” Bailly said.

Brown asked for every clue allowed, but after 86 seconds onstage, the 2016 champion was eliminated by a word considered “remedial” in Ebonics. Those 86 seconds of top-ranked contestant agony would become the theme of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Malcomb Gladwell was exuberant after the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Author Malcomb Gladwell was exuberant after the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Author Malcomb Gladwell Brought to Tears

“As each top-ranked white kid got eliminated in those early rounds, it felt like decades of arguments against affirmative-action went down with them,” author Malcomb Gladwell said of the evening.

“One by one, they all went down until all that was left was a beautiful, black champion. In that moment, everyone in the room and everyone watching around the world knew that finally, affirmative action was standing on two strong legs and nothing could bring it down,” Mr. Gladwell said, his voice cracking. “I had tears running from my eyes.”

“…the world knew that finally, affirmative action was standing on two strong legs and nothing could bring it down,” — Malcomb Gladwell

Six Year Old Elizabeth Merry Delivers Stunning Performance (for a white student)

While most white contestants struggled to survive the early rounds, six year old Elizabeth Merry displayed a near-fluent familiarity of Ebonics.

While most white students were eliminated in early rounds, Elizabeth Merry, 6, showed great familiarity with Urban Dictionary words and performed excellent for a white student.

While most white students were eliminated in early rounds, Elizabeth Merry, 6, showed great familiarity with Urban Dictionary words and performed excellent for a white student.


2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Gallery

Highlights from the evening

White Students & Parents Preparing for Next Year

After the 2017 shameful beating, parents of top-ranked white students immediately began preparing for next year’s competition.

White parents talking strategy during a crisis management meeting after the demoralizing upset at the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

White parents talking strategy during a crisis management meeting after the demoralizing upset at the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“We had a great Urban Dictionary resource right under our noses while our daughter Bethany was studying but it just never occurred to us,” Pamela Brighton, 44, of Garden City, New York said. “From now on, if Cha’relle isn’t cooking, cleaning, or shopping, she’s drilling conjugations, double negatives, and vocabulary,” Mrs. Brighton said.

The largely African American staff for one white family from Darien, Connecticut during a lunch break.

The largely African American staff for one white family from Darien, Connecticut taking a break after an Urban Dictionary training session.

“I know other parents are also preparing their kids for next year,” Brighton said. “We’re paying overtime to keep Cha’relle from 6AM to 9PM so she can read Bethany an urban bedtime story. Five hours overtime is a small price to pay for the valuable life lessons she could never learn from a book.”

Conservative Commentators Change Their Tune

“I have to admit I was wrong,” radio personality Rush Limbaugh said on his show last week. “Not only did affirmative action work, it worked beautifully. But now it’s like watching athletics…I have to say, ‘not bad for a white kid’ at the National Spelling Bee, too.”

But now it’s like watching athletics…I have to say, ‘not bad for a white kid’ at the National Spelling Bee, too.” – Rush Limbaugh

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