CSU’s Inclusive Language Guide Says You Should Avoid These Words
As times have changed in the United States, so has our use of the English language.
For most of our lives, we have use words and phrases with no intent of malevolence, racism, sexism, or any other "ism." Our intention was not to demonstrate superiority or to cast shade on any race or group of people. However, in today's world, it's not about the intent of the heart, it's all about the words we say.
For example, most of us in this country were born and raised here. We are Americans and we were born in the United States of America. However, the Colorado State University Inclusive Language Guide says we should avoid using the words "America" and "American" because it "erases" other cultures. The alternative is to say U.S. Citizen, or "person from the U.S."
I know what you are thinking but wait. There's more!
Here are some other words the guide says we shouldn't be using.
Male and female ( these words refer to biological sex, not gender, and we generally don't need to know someone's biological sex.)
Cakewalk - apparently originating in the "racism" of minstrel shows in the 19th century
Freshman - it excludes women
Hold down the fort - it implies guarding against Native American 'intruders' and stereotypes them as savages
No can do - mocking Chinese people
Peanut gallery - implies the cheapest and worst seats in the theater where Black people would often sit during the Vaudeville days
Straight - implies that anyone in the LGBT community is 'crooked' or not normal
War or battle - unless talking about a literal war or battle because the words can be problematic for war survivors and veterans
I have little doubt that most people reading this use or have used many of these words and expressions freely throughout a lifetime and never gave a moment's thought to the idea they might be offensive. Fact is, these words weren't offensive, until now.
The question is, considering the social climate of the world we live in, are you prepared to eliminate these words from your daily conversation? Are you going to change your language or will you stay the course? How far will you go?
I have to give the matter some thought, and I certainly don't want to be offensive to anyone. However, I may have to at least draw the line when it comes to defending my national heritage. I am no better than any other person on the planet, but I was born in America, I'm grateful for my American heritage, and as Lee Greenwood penned in the classic hit "God Bless the U.S.A.", I'm proud to be an American.