University Task Force Proposes Ban on Words ‘Man,’ ‘Brown Bag,’ ‘Picnic,’ ‘Dummy,’ ‘Crazy’

A University of Michigan task force has proposed a ban on several words it deemed non-inclusive earlier this month, and recommended several replacement words.
Brian Wangenheim via Unsplash

A University of Michigan task force has proposed a ban on several words it deemed non-inclusive earlier this month, and recommended their replacements.

A work group within the Information and Technology Services (ITS), called the Words Matter Task Force, came up with the lengthy list “that may hinder effective communication, harm morale, and deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted to foment a healthy and inclusive culture.”

The list, it said, are terms that “can be construed to be, racist, sexist, or non-inclusive.”

The university identified 28 offending words and phrases, including, “men” or “man” as a prefix or suffix. The alternative term recommended by the university group is “-people” or “-person,” such as changing “man-hours” to “person-hours.”

The task force zeroed in on several other gender-based words and phrases, and proposed alternatives:

  • “gender-neutral he or she” to “gender-neutral they”
  • “grandfathered” to “legacy status”
  • “girl/gal, boy/guy” to “person”
  • “guys/gals (e.g. Hi guys!)” to “everyone, folks”
  • “honey, sweetheart, sweetie” to “use the person’s name”

The task force objected to color-based sayings, such as “blacklist/whitelist.” One recommended term change was “allowlist/deny list.” It suggested changing “black-and-white thinking” to “all-or-nothing thinking.”

“Brown bag” should be changed to “lunch and learn.” “Picnic” should be dropped in favor of “gathering.” The task force did not identify why sitting in a park on a blanket eating a meal could be “racist, sexist, or non-inclusive.”

The task force also focused on words and phrases is apparently found rooted in race, and proposed alternative sayings:

  • “long time, no see” to “It’s been a while” or “I haven’t seen you in ages!”
  • “low man on the totem pole” to “last in the pecking order, the bottom of the heap”
  • “master/slave” to “leader/follower”
  • “native” to “built-in, innate”
  • “off the reservation” to “outside the norms”
  • “sold down the river” to “betrayed”
  • “straw-man” to “proposed conceptual design”

The group urged eliminating “crazy, insane” for “outrageous, unthinkable, nonsensical, incomprehensible, ridiculous, egregious, irrational.”

“Dummy” should be changed to “placeholder, sample,” the report said.

The Words Matter Task Force said it would like its recommendations “to be embedded into consistent professional development opportunities for all current and future staff.”

The group indicated its recommendations are not just intended to change the way the university communicates, but that it “has the opportunity to influence change with vendors, suppliers, and associations.”

h/t Fox News

Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays–download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Parler.

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