USA Today: Stop Using ‘Culturally Sensitive Words’ Like ‘Aloha’, ‘Shalom’

DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24: An Aloha banner welcomes guests during Ohana Festiv
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Greetings such as “aloha” and “shalom” are “culturally sensitive” and their use could “come off as mockery,” according to a recent USA Today piece demanding people “consider the cultural implications” before using such terms.

In an essay published in USA Today on Friday, titled “Is it time to stop saying ‘aloha’ and other culturally sensitive words out of context?” reporter David Oliver argues, “just because you can say something doesn’t mean it’s always appropriate.”

Claiming that “aloha” has a “deeper meaning” than just hello or goodbye, the author states, “If you’re not Hawaiian and you say it, it could come off as mockery.”

“The use of certain words requires education, knowledge and the foresight to understand when they should – or shouldn’t – come out of your mouth,” he adds.

According to Oliver, using the greetings “hola” or “shalom” with a “fake, exaggerated accent” when conversing with a Spanish or Hebrew speaker is problematic, while “saying ‘ni hao’ to someone Asian American who isn’t Chinese” could be “both othering and a microaggression.”

He also calls to consider “the larger cultural considerations” around the use of such words, while demanding that “everyone needs context before speaking another culture’s language besides their own.”

Urging readers to “think before you speak,” the author offers a list of action items to “help keep your language in check.”

First, you should “make an effort to befriend people from other cultures” in order to “get a better feel for what’s appropriate this way.”

Then you should “ask yourself why you are saying the term,” “consider the cultural implications before you do,” and “remember the weight of words.”

In addition, the author warns readers to “avoid terms you don’t know about.” 

And, finally, you should “educate, educate, educate.” 

“Whether it’s the history of colonialism in Hawaii or other significant historical facts, knowledge helps fight ignorance,” Oliver writes.

He concludes by suggesting that “if you feel uncomfortable saying something, don’t say it at all without further research or consideration.”

“It will save you – and everyone – some grief,” he adds.

In response, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) hit back at the piece, calling its premise “nonsense.”

“So I guess if we travel to France, it would then be wrong to say ‘Merci’ as a word of thanks,” the congressman wrote.

“When will this nonsense stop?” he added.

The piece comes as “woke” language edicts continue to pervade the public sphere, as politically correct pressure pushes to alter everyday terminology.

In December, Breitbart News reported on an index of “harmful” words to be “eliminated” from use by Stanford University, which included terms and phrases such as “American,” “Karen,” “prisoner,” and even “hip hip hooray.” 

Previously, retired Navy SEAL and author Jocko Willink warned of totalitarianism in the context of growing censorship, claiming: “It starts with banning words.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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