Oh My God, Google Censors The Word “Bastard.” You Bastards!

So I started doing some research for a few blog entries, which gave me cause to Google the word “bastard.” Being an adoption activist, I’ve done this plenty of times before, and haven’t had a problem. Imagine my surprise when this time Google presents me with the following, along with a bunch of non-relevant results:

“The word “bastard” has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active.”

If I search for the word “bastard,” dammit, I expect to find results containing the word “bastard.” Being an IT pro, I am highly attuned to my computer and network. I am running no content filters nor proxy servers, nor have I signed up for SafeSearch. I did some testing, and it seems Google has suddenly decided the word “bastard” needs to be shielded from anyone who performs a standard Google search.

Try Googling the word “adoption.” Like the mass media, the results are skewed to the perspectives of adopters/potential adopters and adoption agencies. Google’s SafeSearch filter is prohibiting honest discussion about adoption. Some might say that activist groups like Bastard Nation ought to drop such a naughty word from their name, but that’s beside the point. You can’t have an intelligent conversation about adoption without talking about the illegitimacy of adoptees, and “bastard” is the dictionary term for it. Anybody who’s offended by the word “bastard” should try being one.

Google is probably thinking of this from the perspective of “online safety for kids,” but it results in censorship. Everyone knows the naked Internet is not kid-safe. Speaking as both a geek and a mom, if you want the word “bastard” blocked, use a content filter. Those of us who prefer our Internet straight up expect companies in the information business to provide equal, objective access. This could also get into the discussion of net neutrality. I could easily see the bigwig adoption agencies (who have money) paying Internet service providers to promote keyword links to their own sites over the sites of birth relatives, adoptees, and activist groups (who, on the whole, don’t).

It’ll be interesting to see, considering that I used The Word twice in the title, whether this post makes it into cyberspace at all.


  1. I wonder if this is an attempt by the adminstrators of Google to join in trying to prevent adoptees from trying to educate people so that adoption reform can move forward. Placing children for adoption, giving adoptive parents tax breaks, and agencies who handle adoptions are always in the news. But the news media and many others don’t seem to care what happens to these adopted children once they become adults. Very uncaring but there are ways around it just as you have proven with getting your blog published. GO Triona! Word does spread so we have to continue to keep it flowing.

  2. This is absolutely ridiculous! We must inform Google that “Bastard is our name.”

    We could have other names but they are secret. That is, they are kept secret from us. We may not know our names.

    Google has joined the vast conspiracy that keeps from us the knowledge of ourselves. I’m really disappointed in this development.

  3. I don’t think this is a new development, although I’m not sure why I’ve only noticed it recently. This article is from 2004.


    But the results certainly have repercussions for the adoption reform community. How can informed communication occur when the topic can’t be discussed?

    This is interesting also.


  4. Oh really interesting. I launched Google on a computer I don’t normally use and noticed that strict filtering was on by default. I don’t know if that’s new or not.

    It must be though, because I know I’ve googled bastard before and never got that message.

  5. ULB, to crosspost the comment I made on your blog:

    What’s really disturbing is looking at the paid search results (“Sponsored Links”) when you Google “adoption.” These are the people who pay big $$$ so their links are prominently displayed. As a computer guru I can tell you Google doesn’t care who buys those ads as long as they have the cash (which is why ads for spyware-infested downloads come up when you search for antivirus software).

    We each get results according to our location, so here’s what comes up for me in the sponsored links:

    Infant Adoption Agency
    PREGNANT? Explor adoption (sic)
    International Adoption
    Open Adoption
    English Bulldog Puppies (arf!)
    Berwyn Attorney-Adoption
    Adoption Services
    Chicago Adoption

    The non-sponsored results are similarly all about adoptING not being adoptED. Even if you Google “adoptee” you get ads for agencies and lures for expectant mothers. And if you search for “adoption rights” it’s all about the rights of the adopters/prospective adopters, not us whiny B-words.

    So if you’re a kid who’s adopted, and you want to learn more, you will find out is that yes, you are lower than ass tattoos and bulldog puppies. In fact, your only real value is as a saleable commodity.

    Now, if you search for “breast,” you get breast exams, breast cancer… obviously Google has tweaked the results to keep any breast cams or Girls Gone Wild ads out of the results. No reason they couldn’t do the same with adoption, tweak the results so pages from birth relatives and adoptees show up, but you know that ain’t happening.

    So I suppose we BASTARDS will just have to keep our BASTARD opinions to our BASTARD selves.


  6. Comcast blocked my mail to others 2 years ago when I was sending out our newsletter, The Bastard Byline. I wrote all sorts of complaints and received lots of gobbldegook answers.

    That’s when I switched over from comcast to gmail.

    I still use comcast, though, and they’re at it again. My friend sent me a notice that my mail was being blocked – or something like that. No question in my mind that it’s that naughty word we all use.
    Shame on us.

    But Google, the mother of them all – well shame on them. I really am shocked.

    Oh, just last year the biggest check printing company in the US (Deluxe printing) refused to print checks with the name of Bastard Nation on it. The lady from Chase Bank really tried to get them to do it, but they flat our refused. Said they have a right not to print anything they deem offensive on anything that has their name on it .

    Anita, who’s off to test out google again.