Stanford University Attempts To Ban ‘Harmful’ Words, List Includes ‘American’

Stanford University Attempts To Ban ‘Harmful’ Words, List Includes ‘American’

By Nicole Silverio

Stanford University IT released an index of “harmful language” that it recommends be erased from the school’s websites. The list includes the terms “American” and “Hispanic.”

The list is a product of the “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative,” which aims to “eliminate” words that may be deemed “racist, violent, and biased,” the document reads. The index lists a wide variety of words — some of which are commonly used — and provides an alternative word and an explanation of why the language may be harmful.

There are ten “harmful language” sections outlined in the document including: ableist, ageism, colonialism, culturally appropriate, gender-based, and biased (e.g., disability bias, ethnic bias, ethnic slurs, gender bias, implicit bias, sexual bias) language.

The list recommends banning the term “American” and replacing it with “U.S. Citizen,” as it reportedly implies that the U.S. is the “most important country in the Americas.”

“This term [American] often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas (which is actually made up of 42 countries),” the list reads. [Editor’s Note: The U.S. is the most important country in the Americas. It is by far the most populous country in the Americas, as well as the most economically productive.]

A person should also use the term “LatinX” instead of “Hispanic,” since the former term is connected to Spanish colonization, the document reads. It also listed the word “Karen,” explaining that it can “ridicule or demean” a group of people due to their behaviors. The list further includes the term “straight,” “victim,” “grandfather,” “landlord,” “gentleman,” “ladies” and “chief.” (RELATED: Stanford Students Compare Ben Shapiro To A Cockroach On Protest Flyer) 

The list recommends replacing the term “straight” with “heterosexual” because it allegedly “implies that anyone who is not heterosexual is bent or not ‘normal.’” The term “people of color” should also be switched to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).

The “Institutionalized Racism” category bans the terms “black mark,” “brown bag,” “master,” and “white paper” for its alleged racial connotations. The “Person-First” category lists the terms “immigrant,” “prostitute,” and “homeless person” as they define an individual by a single characteristic.

The document included a disclaimer assuring staff and students that it does not intend to completely remove the words from its websites, noting that elimination is “a goal to strive for even if it can’t be achieved.”

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