Could it really be possible that the word “America” or “American” could be so offensive that a state university would actually recommend that people not use the words on campus? Apparently it is because that’s what’s happening at Colorado State University.
SU’s online Inclusive Language Guide, compiled by the school’s Inclusive Communications Task Force, lists certain words and phrases to avoid while providing replacements in an effort to help “communicators practice inclusive language and [help] everyone on [its] campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.” The school’s Women and Gender Collaborative website directly links to the document.
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.”
Sometimes, George Orwell’s 1984 seems all too real. Words that are commonplace that people would normally not think twice about using are suddenly becoming offensive and “non-inclusive” to use amongst entitled, delicate snowflake who feel assaulted by language they equate with violence. The word “straight” is one such word to avoid because, according to Colorado State University, “when used to describe heterosexuals, the term straight implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal.” And speaking of “normal” you shouldn’t say the phrase “normal person” because “implies that ‘other’ people… are not whole or regular people.”
While “heterosexual” is apparently okay, the word “homosexual” is not, “because of the clinical history of the word ‘homosexual,’ it is used in an offensive way to suggest that gay people are somehow not ‘normal’ or psychologically/emotionally disordered.”
I’m sorry to say this is not from The Onion or the Babylon Bee. This comes from Campus Reform, a conservative watchdog of higher education. If there’s any silver lining in this story, it’s that the Inclusive Language Guide is “not an official policy or required practice,” but “is intended as a resource to help our campus community reflect our Principles of Community, particularly inclusion, respect, and social justice.”
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!”
Aaron Allen, who is a third-year student at CSU, also reacted to the “guidelines,” telling Campus Reform, “what about the term ‘African-American’? Should I not use that term to describe myself?”
Campus Reform has previously reported that CSU warned against using gendered emojis to make social media interactions more inclusive.
How I really wish this was a Babylon Bee article.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis