Encyclopedia > Blacklist

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A blacklist is a list or register of people who are for one reason or another being denied a particular privilige, service, or mobility. To blacklist someone can mean to deny them work in a particular field, or to ostracize them from a certain social circle.

The term blacklisting is generally used in a negative context, since it implies that someone has been prevented from having legitimate access to something due to the whims or judgments of another. For instance, if a person is served with a restraining order for having threatened someone else, this is generally not considered to be a form of blacklisting, but if someone is fired for exposing poor working conditions in a particular company, and is blocked from finding work in that industry, that is often considered a form of blacklisting.

One of the most famous examples of blacklisting in American history stemmed from the HUAC's investigations into known Communists, among which were the "Hollywood Ten", a group of screenwriters who were believed to be Communists. Among them was Dalton Trumbo, who was barred, or blacklisted, from working in Hollywood due to these associations. (He later worked under a pseudonym and wrote the script for Spartacus, among other films.)

Another word for blacklisting is blackballing.

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