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University of Washington IT speech guide: ‘See,’ ‘grandfather,’ ‘housekeeping’ among words/phrases now considered offensive


The University of Washington’s Information Technology (UW-IT) Department has released a radical new inclusive language guide that characterizes many everyday terms as “offensive” and requires that department employees, contractors, and vendors abide by the guidelines.

Quick Facts

So-called inclusive speech guidelines are becoming commonplace, but the UW-IT guidelines may take the cake (a phrase considered offensive by the guide). Its officials are now seeking to replace offensive words commonly used in IT circles with ostensibly less offensive words.

“Words matter,” the introduction reads. “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). They undermine the inclusive environment we aim to create in UW-IT and in serving a diverse University community.”

If a vendor uses a word that is listed in the guide, vendor liaisons are advised to change the word, or if changing the word could cause more confusion, they will contact the vendor and urge them to change the word.

Liaisons are to send one of two emails to the vendor, the shorter of which reads: 

“Dear [insert vendor name],

The University of Washington works to foster an inclusive and welcoming culture for everyone in our campus community, and we wish to work with suppliers who share this desire. Unfortunately, in working with your product/service we have identified language that can be considered offensive due to its racist, ableist and/or sexist origins. Specifically, the use of [fill in]. Can you let us know what efforts you are undertaking to move away from this language so as to create a more inclusive product/service?”

Terms and buzzwords used by IT specialists that are considered offensive based on “Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, Religion, Native/Indigenous Identity” include:

The above terms are considered offensive because they allegedly portray “white” as morally superior and “black” as inferior. But there are many others. They include:

Terms considered offensive to those with disabilities include:

Terms considered offensive due to sex or gender identity:

This was as lengthy though not exhaustive list of some of the most absurd words and phrases targeted in the “inclusive speech guide.” Unfortunately, there isn’t time to deeply discuss these and why the call to ban them from the department’s lexicon is so ludicrous and disturbing.

As Christians we should, of course, show love and grace and refrain from being rude to people, but the correct response to these speech guidelines is to completely ignore them and continue to speak as a normal human being.

The absurdity should be noted because while some truly do not want to hurt someone’s feelings, others are using speech codes to manipulate language and change the country. We cannot live as slaves to others’ insecurities or give in to those (like the UW-IT staff) who use words as a weapon to either shallowly signal their virtue or to have power over others.

Offense at such terms is the sign of a society with too much time on its hands, overly thin skins, and a self-centered need to control those in their reach. As a result, no one should live life desperately trying not to offend the woke — you will run afoul of them no matter what you do.

So simply be a kind person and show love and compassion in everything you say and do. If a member of the language police is offended by truthful words such as male and female pronouns or “normal” everyday words like “healthy,” “crazy,” and “guru,” that is their problem.

Hopefully, one day the men and women at UW-IT will “see” that while sticks and stones thrown by “mobs” can break your bones, words can only offend you if you let them.

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