Colorado State University has an “Inclusive Communications Task Force,” and they have put together an Inclusive Language Guide to avoid hurt feelings on campus. Not only does it police language by telling readers what words and phrases to avoid, it suggests replacements so that “communicators practice inclusive language and [help] everyone on [its] campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”
Campus Reform reports:
CSU lists both “American” and “America” as non-inclusive words “to avoid,” due to the fact that America encompasses more than just the U.S. By referring to the U.S. as America, the guide claims that one “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” The school suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.
The university additionally lists many gendered words and phrases to avoid. These include “male,” “female,” “ladies and gentlemen,” and “Mr./Mrs./Ms.”
“Male and female refers to biological sex and not gender,” says the guide. “In terms of communication methods (articles, social media, etc.), we very rarely need to identify or know a person’s biological sex and more often are referring to gender.”
“Straight” is another word to avoid, according to CSU. The guide explained that “when used to describe heterosexuals, the term straight implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal,” and says to use the word “heterosexual” instead.
I agree with this next one, but because it’s grammatically incorrect, not because of their nonsense.
According to the list, the phrase “handicap parking” should also not be used because it can “minimize personhood” and offend disabled people. The guide recommends “accessible parking” as an alternative.
Now, take a look at these:
“War,” “cake walk,” “eenie meenie miney moe,” “Eskimo,” “freshman,” “hip hip hooray!”, “hold down the fort,” “starving,” and “policeman” were among other words and phrases deemed non-inclusive by CSU.
I can only understand the problem with “eskimo” (the proper term is “Inuit”) and “policeman” (it should be the gender-neutral “law enforcement officer” or “police officer,” I guess). I suppose “starving” is offensive in its hyperbole. But why is “eenie meenie miney moe” problematic? Or the word “war” in and of itself?
Nicole Neily, president of Speech First, told Campus Reform that “even though these guidelines are suggested and not mandatory, they place students in the uncomfortable position of reciting politically correct talking points that they may not agree with. Words like ‘American,’ ‘male,’ and ‘female’ are used every day by billions of people around the world. When these students graduate, they’re in for a rude awakening!”
But don’t worry. It notes that “language is always evolving so this document will be updated periodically.” One hopes that they will decide in future iterations that these words are no longer offensive, but I don’t hold out much hope.
It costs around $10,000- $30,000 per year to attend Colorado State (depending on whether or not you’re an in-state student). How much of that tuition money goes towards paying people to suggest limitations on your rights like they do on this task force?
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