Brandeis U. Releases ‘Oppressive Language List’ so Students Don’t Say Naughty Words Like ‘Policeman’

Free Speech College
AFP PHOTO/Josh Edelson

The Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC) at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, has released a bizarre “Oppressive Language List” urging students to refrain from saying certain words and phrases that have been deemed offensive. The list includes “policeman” as well as “crazy” and “walk-in.” The list even calls on students to stop saying “trigger warning,” a leftist favorite on campus.

“PARC recognizes that language is a powerful tool used to perpetrate and perpetuate oppression,” states PARC on the school’s website. “As a community, we strive to remove oppressive language from our everyday use. This list is meant to be a tool to share information and suggestions about potentially oppressive language.”

The so-called “oppressive language” is broken up into five categories:

Violent Language

Identity-Based Language

Language That Doesn’t Say What We Mean

Culturally Appropriative Language

Person-First Alternatives

In the “Identity-Based Language” category, students are encouraged to cease using words like “policeman,” “she/he,” and “African American,” and instead, replace those words with, “police officer,” “they” — unless they ask for their pronouns first — and “Black (with a capital B).”

“Ableist language” is such as “crazy,” “lame,” and “walk-in” is also mentioned on the list, and suggested to be replaced with, “that’s bananas,” “disappointing,” and “drop-in.”

The term “people of color” is also out, and should now be replaced with “BIPOC,” which stands for “black, Indigenous, and people of color.”

In the “Language That Doesn’t Say What We Mean” category, phrases such as, “everything going on right now” should be replaced with “police brutality, protests, BLM, COVID-19, etc.”

And instead of saying, “I’m going to kill myself” or “kill me,” Brandeis University prefers that students instead say, “I’m really upset” or “I’m so overwhelmed.”

The “Violent Language” category asks students to stop saying “killing it,” and instead replace the term with “great job,” or “awesome.” The term “trigger warning” is also now deemed violent, and should be replaced with “content note.”

“Picnic” is also a violent word, according to the university, which suggests it should be replaced with “outdoor eating.” The school explains that “picnic is often associated with lynchings of black people in the United States, during which white spectators were said to have watched while eating, referring to them as picnics or other terms involving racial slurs against black people.”

The “Culturally Appropriative Language” category deems “tribe,” “powwow,” and “spirit animal” oppressive, suggesting they be replaced with “friends,” “gathering,” and “animal I would most like to be.”

The university is also encouraging students to suggest other words or phrases that they would like to see on the Oppressive Language List.

“What suggestion do you have for our Oppressive Language List?” PARC asks. “Personal reasons are more than welcomed and if you have any other sources, that too.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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