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'Inclusive language guide' at college warns of un-woke, 'problematic' words and phrases. So steer clear of 'brown bags,' 'lower the bar,' and 'cakewalk.'

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Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images

TheBlaze has reported extensively on woke culture's attempts to squash and sideline words and phrases it views as unacceptable — particularly on college campuses — and the speech police haven't quit yet.

What now?

The University of Washington's Information Technology Department has released its very own list of "problematic" words and phrases as part of an “inclusive language guide.”

"Words matter. Words that reflect racial or other discriminatory bias are contrary to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) and at the University of Washington (UW)," the introduction reads. "They undermine the inclusive environment we aim to create in UW-IT and in serving a diverse University community."

With that, the department put together a guide to identify "racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic or otherwise non-inclusive language scattered throughout materials and resources in the software and information technology fields" and replace them with more acceptable words and phrases.

What are some examples?

A number of words and phrases that made the list we've seen before, but others have a ring of novelty to them, so we thought we'd identify and break down the ones that my be new to "problematic" lists.

  • First up is "brown bags." The guide says the term comes from the “brown paper bag test,” which was "traditionally used to judge skin color by certain African-American sororities and fraternities." Even though the term is identified today as a kind of lunch get-together, its roots are about "an ugly period of American history that can alienate and offend people." Instead the guide says we should use "lunch and learn" or "tech talks" as alternatives.
  • Second is "cakewalk," which we know as a way of saying something is easy to do. But according to the guide, "cakewalk" was a "pre-Civil War dance performed by enslaved people, and the winner ... would be given a cake ... [and] ... should be avoided." Instead, just say "easy," the guide instructs.
  • And don't say "lower the bar," as the phrase that many of us equate with reducing the level of difficulty actually "is based on the erroneous idea that a company has to relax hiring standards in order to add people from different racial, ethnic, gender backgrounds." Instead the guide says we should say "simplify" or "make more accessible."
  • This is an interesting no-no word: "Minority." While it's frequently used to describe numerically non-dominant racial or ethnic groups, the guide says "minority" actually can be "a generalized term for 'the other' and implies a 'less than' attitude toward the community or communities being discussed." Instead, when referring to racial or ethnic groups, the guide says to call these groups by their accepted names (e.g., "Native American" and "African American").
  • How about "peanut gallery"? It's commonly used these days to refer to the upper balcony of a theater. But the guide says it has its roots in the days of "segregated theaters, where African Americans had to sit. Peanuts were introduced to America during the slave trade, and thus became associated with black people." Instead, the guide says we should just say "upper balcony" or "cheap seats." (But wouldn't the latter alternative possibly offend those less financially well off?)
  • Then there's "housekeeping," which in an IT context means system maintenance, but the guide says the term "can feel gendered. It carries a fraught history and connotation of women’s traditional domestic role as housekeepers." So the guide says to just stick to "maintenance."
  • Perhaps the most eye-opening is the entry for "male or female connectors and fasteners." Yep, you read that right. Turns out those terms are "inherently problematic" because the "use of male or female anatomy to describe electrical and IT connectors and fasteners" unfortunately "sexualize[s] how they fit together." So, the guide says to just say "connector and receptacle" or "plug and socket."

There. Feel more woke, now?

(H/T: Big Country News)

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