A right-wing tabloid in the United Kingdom is facing criticism after publishing a headline describing writer Sarah Vine's "niggling worry" about Prince Harry marrying biracial actress Meghan Markle.
"Yes, they joyfully in love," reads the headline of Vine's front-page story in the Daily Mail. "So why do I have a niggling worry about this engagement picture?"
The word "niggling" in and of itself is not racist, as it's defined as a persistent discomfort or concern. However, it is also very close to the word "nigling," a slur used by white supremacists to disparage black children.
Given that headline writers are often very careful and deliberate in the words they choose -- especially if those words could provoke strong reactions, and thus help sell more papers -- some critics believe that the Daily Mail intentionally used the word "niggling" as a racist dog whistle.
Check out some reactions from UK Twitter users below.
The word 'niggling' is not an accident. https://t.co/rngWQvGMYE— Danny (@Danny) 1513927461.0
@c_kennaugh @TobyVenables @peterjukes @J_amesp @mrjamesob "niggling" What she's really thinking begins with "nigg--… https://t.co/iFjHGz1qSS— Nɪᴄᴋ Rʜᴏᴅᴇs (@Nɪᴄᴋ Rʜᴏᴅᴇs) 1513899909.0
If your "niggling worry" takes 3 pages to explain then maybe you need to see a doctor. https://t.co/LY5rUi01B0— Tim Postins (@Tim Postins) 1513900716.0
Why do I have a niggling worry? For money, dear. For money. https://t.co/LBslDAkK1v— Willshome 💚 Corbyn in my❤️ (@Willshome 💚 Corbyn in my❤️) 1513942428.0
‘Niggling’. Because that word wasn’t chosen on purpose or anything… https://t.co/8nAFgrXOBy— Ryan (@Ryan) 1513932367.0
TODAY: I don’t think dog-whistle journalism can sink lower than a columnist for the best selling newspaper in the c… https://t.co/5MaYm5MIhT— The DM Reporter (@The DM Reporter) 1513931816.0