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‘You’re not a mistake’: B.C. group creates dictionary of Asian names to add to Microsoft Word

The free dictionary includes over 8,000 names and monikers from over a dozen Asian countries
The anti-racism advocacy group Elimin8Hate has compiled a downloadable dictionary of Asian names that removes the red squiggly underline in Microsoft Office products that denotes a spelling mistake. (

If you’ve used Microsoft Word, you’re probably familiar with the squiggly red underline that denotes spelling mistakes.

It can be a helpful tool that prevents embarrassing mistakes from finding their way into final documents. However, for people with non-Anglicized names, the red underline can be a jarring experience.

“It makes them feel like they don’t belong,” said Barbara Lee, founder and president of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and Elimin8Hate — an anti-racism advocacy arm of the VAFF. “It makes them feel like they’re not a part of the greater community, that they’re a mistake.”

READ MORE: ’Representation matters’: B.C. film festival shares stories to combat anti-Asian racism

Elimi8Hate estimates that over 60 per cent of people who change their names to something more anglicized do so because of racism. In response, they developed a program encouraging Asian Canadians to reclaim their names. One of the latest initiatives is a downloadable dictionary of over 8,000 names and monikers from over a dozen Asian countries.

The dictionary is free to install and within minutes of downloading, will eliminate any trace of a red underline beneath names included. Lee said the dictionary is not an exhaustive list and more names are being added on a regular basis.

Elimin8Hate is calling on businesses, organizations, governments, schools and other stakeholders to download the dictionary to reinforce that non-Anglicized names are not a mistake.


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