University walks back idea that ‘America’ and ‘American’ are culturally insensitive, non-inclusive

grab from https://youtu.be/9FJZRZ5eXa4
Screen capture … Credit: Colorado State University

 

Colorado State University has recently been the object of ridicule and disbelief following reports that a draft version of the school’s “Inclusive Language Guide” included “America” and “American” as being culturally insensitive and non-inclusive. In fact, the document in its updated version does not contain those words, as apparently an editorial authority with common sense thankfully made the right call.

In case you are wondering, the reported argument against using “America” in reference to the United States is that the term is also used in connection with North America, Central America, and South America. The draft document argued against the use of “America” and “American” by saying it “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”

“Instead of spending so much time worrying about ways not to offend anyone, it would be nice if our colleges and universities actually worried about teaching our students,” former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wrote in a Washington Times op-ed this week, responding to the reports about CSU’s language guide. “Since 1978, college tuition has gone up 1,125 percent — four times the rate of inflation, while actual time in the classroom by tenured professors teaching undergraduates has gone down.”

Tony Frank, Colorado State Chancellor issued a statement claiming that the group that was working on the inclusiveness guide ultimately changed their minds about the words America and American. “They decided against this on their own and deleted that from the draft before it was ever finalized or circulated to campus,” he wrote.

He also stated that using the guide is voluntary, “not an official policy or required practice.”

“We consider free speech and the First Amendment the foundations of a great American public university,” he said.

“This document is intended as a resource to help our campus community reflect our Principles of Community particularly inclusion, respect, and social justice,” the document draft said. “The language in the guide may not apply to every individual and it is critical to take personal preference into account. The guide is not about political-correctness or policing grammar, but rather helping communicators practice inclusive language and helping everyone on our campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”

Among the words making the cut to be in the final version of the guide … “male” and “female”, “Mr.” “Mrs.” or Ms,” are said to be non-inclusive. “Male and female refers to biological sex and not gender,” the guide argues. “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.”

The P.C. language police involved in putting the guide together also targeted terms such as “crazy,” “dumb,” “dwarf,” “Eskimo,” “gyp,” “Hispanic,” “illegal immigrant” and “normal person” all of which were decided offensive.

The guide also references racist histories of seemingly harmless terms like “cakewalk,” which the guide authors reported was a game that slaves were forced to play, and “Eenie meenie miney moe,” which originally used the n-word in the phrase “Catch a tiger by the toe.”

It also criticizes the term “straight” because it implies that gay people are “‘crooked’ or not normal.”

The Colorado State University Inclusive Language Guide is available to read in its entirety …

Colorado State University I… by Coloradoan on Scribd

Victor Rantala

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