A ‘woke’ US university has banned staff from using ordinary words used by most Americans because they might offend or upset some students.
The University of Washington released an “inclusive language guide” last week that lists a number of so-called “problematic words” that they deem “racist,” “sexist,” “ageist,” or “homophobic.”
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According to the guide, words such as “grandfather,” “housekeeping,” “minority,” “ninja,” and “lame” are considered deeply offensive and must not be uttered by anybody at the University.
According to the University, the word “lame” is harmful because it is “ableist.”
“This word is offensive, even when it’s used in slang for uncool because it’s using a disability in a negative way to imply that the opposite, which would be not lame, to be superior,” the guide declares.
The guide also warns that the word “minority” implies a ‘less than’ attitude toward others.
“When ‘minority’ is used to refer to other races or abilities, used as a generalised term for ‘the other’ and implies a ‘less than’ attitude toward the community or communities being discussed,” the guide declares.
News.com.au reports: The guide considers “grandfather” a “problematic word” because the term was “used as a way to exempt some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change.”
“‘Grandfather clause’ originated in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting,” the guide explains.
“Housekeeping,” is another “problematic” word that the guide recommends should be avoided by others working in the information technology industry because it can “feel gendered.”
Phrases with “man” such as “manpower,” “man hours,” or “man-in-the-middle” is considered “not inclusive” and “thus sexist.”
The language guide also considers “preferred pronouns” as “problematic” because the term “preferred” suggests that “a person’s pronoun is optional.”
Language such as “no can do,” “spirit animal,” and separating groups based on certain colours is “racist” or culturally appropriative.
According to the language guide, using “red,” white,” or “yellow” to separate different teams is based on “racist tropes.”
“Using colours based as racist tropes — labelling [sic] ‘white’ as good, ‘black’ as bad, ‘red’ as attackers, or ‘yellow’ as excluded third parties — is offensive,” the guide states.
The term “spirit animal” is also “problematic” because it uses “cultural appropriation,” according to the guide.
Employees within the University of Washington information technology department are also encouraged to contact vendors who use the “problematic words and phrases” and ask them to avoid terms that come from “racist, ableist and/or sexist origins.”
The web page gives a sample prompt for employees to use when sending emails to vendors about this issue as well.
“Unfortunately, in working with your product/service we have identified language that can be considered offensive due to its racist, ableist and/or sexist origins,” the email prompt states. “Can you let us know what efforts you are undertaking to move away from this language so as to create a more inclusive product/service?”
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