An ‘inclusive language guide’ that was published by The University of Washington’s Information Technology department has been branded ‘ridiculous’ for attempting to label a variety of everyday words as racist, sexist and homophobic.
According to the inclusive language guide, terms like ‘grandfather,’ ‘cakewalk,’ ‘minority’ and ‘lame’ should be viewed as “problematic words”. The guide also provides readers with suggested alternative words that they would prefer to be used on campus.
The guide considers the term ‘grandfather’ a “problematic word” due to it being linked to terms like ‘grandfather clause,’ ‘grandfather policy,’ or ‘grandfathering,’ which describe a process that allows organisations to make long-time users exempt from the requirements of new users.
The proposed racial connotations for these terms stem from the fact that “grandfather clauses” were used to prevent black Americans from voting in the late 19th century.
The guide also considers the term ‘preferred pronouns’ as being offensive because the word ‘preferred’ could suggest that a person’s desired pronoun is optional.
The word ‘healthy’ is also deemed to be problematic in the guide, as the authors believe that the word healthy is most often used to describe people without disabilities, therefore, making the term ableist.
Other commenters also pondered if the ‘inclusive language guide’ was actually real, and not a piece of comedic societal satire.
Terms like manpower, man-hours, man-in-the-middle, and manning a desk have all been dubbed “not inclusive, and thus sexist” in the guide, due to the use of the word ‘man’.
The word housekeeping has also been branded sexist due to what the guide describes as “a fraught history and connotation of women’s traditional domestic role as housekeepers”.
“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?”
Over the past three years, a growing number of Australian university affiliates and self-professed ‘experts’ have attempted to alter everyday language and behaviour of seniors.
This includes a “childhood educator” who claimed that grandparents should have to ask for consent to kiss their grandchildren, and other attempts at branding common terms as potentially offensive ‘trigger words’.