‘Blackfacing’ is Anglicism of the Year

"Blackfacing", used by Germans to describe white people painting their skin dark to mimic black people, has been named Anglicism of the Year by a jury of linguists.

2014 threw up several examples of "Blackfacing" – more usually just "blackface" in English – including football fans painting themselves for Germany's game against Ghana and carol singers including a black member of the Three Kings in their groups.

"Blackfacing is understood to be racist because it treats the identity and experiences of black people as a costume that white people can just put on or take off," jury leader and linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch of Berlin's Free University said.

"Through Blackfacing, white people presume to speak and act for black people," he added.

The jury decided that although people have been blackfacing in Germany for a long time, the English were the first to come up with a word to describe the uncomfortable tradition.

Former years have often seen English words which have grown to popularity among Germans online – as Blackfacing did among anti-racist circles – including "Shitstorm" and "Crowdfunding" named as Anglicism of the Year.

This year was no different, with "Big Data" and "Selfie" filling out the podium below "Blackfacing".

Runners-up included "Social Freezing" (the practice of women freezing egg cells to delay starting a family and focus on career), "Photobombing" (jumping into and ruining a carefully posed photo) and "sexting" (sending erotic selfies to a lover on a mobile phone).

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