EDITOR'S NOTE: A committee updated the Inclusive Language Guide and calls the version that made national news a "draft." The "draft" was not identified as such by the drafters, who only explained the document as "living" and "updated periodically." The Gazette updated this editorial at 8 p.m. MDT Sunday to reflect this development.
Don’t say “America.” Don’t say “man,” “Woman,” “Mr.,” or “Ms.” These words could offend.
In the modern culture of grievance, we trade in a currency of victim status. Hypersensitivity rules the day. Word landmines litter the vernacular. One careless tweet, using an outdated label or phrase, can ruin a career and lifelong reputation.
To build the culture of grievance, politicians exploit victimology. They advocate “reparation” payments for people with ancestors burdened by slavery or discrimination.
Just last week, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., told people with “brown faces” how they should talk. Of course, they should talk in a manner that promotes the politician’s socialist agenda of taking from oppressors and giving to the oppressed.
Identity politics begins in the classrooms of higher education, where faculty tell students they are victims of an evil country stolen from indigenous people and built on backs of slaves.
For a taste of academe’s victim-first indoctrination, look no further than the great Colorado State University, just up the road in Fort Collins. It is a bastion of bright young minds the left wants to indoctrinate.
A draft version of the university’s “Inclusive Language Guide” (revised version here) says all one needs to know about the atmosphere of grievance on campuses. Featured Wednesday in the national student newspaper Campus Reform, the language guide self-identifies as a “Living document — updates made frequently.” The University’s Communications Task Force maintains the list “as a best practices guide,” but does not force students or faculty to obey it.
Here are some of the words/phrases "the campus community" should avoid, as spelled out in a "living" version the university later updated and called a "draft":
• “American” or “America.” Why: “This erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” Instead use: “U.S. citizen; person from the U.S.”
• “Addicted.” Why: “Oftentimes used to describe something that the person uses often, ‘I’m addicted to Netflix.’ Using the term can “cause harm to those who are truly experiencing drug addiction…” Instead use: “I’m hooked” or “I’m a devoted fan of.”
• “Birth Defect.” Why: “The word ‘defect’ implies a person is subpar or somehow incomplete.” Instead use: “Person with a congenital disability or person with a birth anomaly.”
• “Cake Walk.” Why: “Slaves would covertly mock white slave owners through exaggerated dance to mimic White aristocrats. Perhaps unaware of the subversive origin of the dancing, slave owners began holding ‘balls’ for entertainment, where slaves would perform these dances to win a cake.” Instead use: “That was easy.”
• “Freshman.” Why: “Using ‘man’ terms excludes women and nonbinary gender identities.” Instead use: “First-year.”
• “Handicapped/Disabled; Handicapped Parking.” Why: “These terms generalize the population and minimize personhood…” Instead use: “Person with a disability/people with disabilities, uses leg braces, etc. Accessible parking, parking for people with disabilities.”
• “Indian.” Why: “The term ‘Indian’ in the U.S. is associated with Christopher Columbus...” Instead use: “Native American/Indigenous/Refer to a person’s specific tribe.”
• “Male or Female;” Why: “Male and female refers to biological sex and not gender.” Instead use: “Man/Woman/Gender Non-Binary/Gender Non-Conforming.”
• “Mr./Mrs./Ms.;” Why: “Using titles can be problematic when you are not aware of a person’s gender identity… These terms also exclude folks outside of the man/woman binary.” Instead use: “First or last name/Mx/ If they are a Dr., use that title.”
• “Hispanic;”Why: “Because of its origins in colonization and the implication that to be Hispanic or Latinx/Latine/Latino, one needs to be Spanish-speaking…” Instead use: “Latinx/Latine/Latino.”
• “Hold Down the Fort;” Why: “The historical connotation refers to guarding against Native American ‘intruders’ and feeds into the stereotype of ‘savages.’ ” Instead use: “Cover the office/Left in charge.”
• “Peanut Gallery;” Why: “The ‘peanut gallery’ names a section in theaters, usually the cheapest and worst, where many Black people sat during the era of Vaudeville.” Instead use: “Crowd, Audience.”
• “Preferred Pronouns;” Why: “The word ‘preferred’ in front of pronouns suggests that gender identity, especially outside of the binary, is a choice and that the pronouns don’t really belong to the person…” Instead use: “Pronouns/What pronouns do you use?”
• “Starving/I’m Starving/I’m Broke;” Why: “These terms appropriate real situations of hardship and can cause harm to individuals who are experiencing extreme poverty or hunger crisis.” Instead use: “I’m hungry/I’m low on cash.”
• “Grandfather Clause/ Grandfathered in;” Why: “Several Southern states developed and enforced the clause as a way to defy the 15th Amendment, and thus prevent Black Americans from utilizing their then-newfound right to vote.” Instead use: “Exempt from the new rule.”
• “War/Go to War/At War/War Zone/Battle;” Why: “When used to describe difficult situations or meetings (“I have to go to war today at this meeting”), they evoke very real tragedy that can be problematic for survivors of war or Veterans.” Instead use: “Hostile environment Toxic/difficult/confrontation/dispute/Get after it/Go get em.”
• “Food Coma;” Why: “This phrase directly alludes to the stereotype of laziness associated with African-Americans…” Instead use: “I ate too much.”
CSU students should read this guide only for laughs. No one said “food coma” as a dog whistle for “lazy” African Americans. “I’m broke” does not insult poor people. The real world uses “Mr.,” “Miss” “Mrs.” and “Ms.” Millions of people are proudly “Indian” and “Hispanic.” “Freshman” contains “man,” just like “woman” and “human.” These words harm no one; people are not that weak.
The guide suggests we are a nation of oppressors and oppressed, strong and weak, entitled and deprived.
It is not true. This country is great. It is a land of equal opportunity and unequal outcomes. It eliminated slavery, which festers at record levels around the globe. People of all backgrounds break into the United States each day for a reason. They crave a free, prosperous, diverse environment that values individuals regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or creed.
Do not fall for the lie. Victims are not happy. Don’t be one. Choose to succeed and be strong, regardless of circumstance. God bless America.