Stanford’s ‘Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative’ Is Unintentionally Hilarious

December 21, 2022 in News by RBN Staff


Source: PJ Media


About 20 years ago when the drive to eliminate words and phrases from everyday discourse based on the perceived injury done to non-white, non-male, and non-straight people began to pick up steam, I told myself that life was far too short to be walking around on eggshells hoping not to offend anyone. Except for out-and-out racial and sexual orientation insults (not including “misgendering”), there is little in the English language that should be circumscribed for any reason.

But Stanford University — the “Harvard of the West” (or maybe Harvard is the “Stanford of the East”) — isn’t so forgiving in its development of the “proper” nomenclature. According to Stanford, there are, in fact, dozens and dozens of words and phrases that are so far beyond the pale of empathetic and sensitive use they should be banished forever to the outer darkness.

Stanford published the “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative” to keep students, professors, and anyone else connected with the university from committing the sacrilege of stepping on the toes of the oppressed and hurting their feelings.

What would they have done if Don Rickles performed onstage at Stanford?

The Wall Street Journal:

You can’t “master” your subject at Stanford any longer; in case you hadn’t heard, the school instructs that “historically, masters enslaved people.” And don’t dare design a “blind study,” which “unintentionally perpetuates that disability is somehow abnormal or negative, furthering an ableist culture.” Blind studies are good and useful, but never mind; “masked study” is to be preferred. Follow the science.

“Gangbusters” is banned because the index says it “invokes the notion of police action against ‘gangs’ in a positive light, which may have racial undertones.” Not to beat a dead horse (a phrase that the index says “normalizes violence against animals”), but you used to have to get a graduate degree in the humanities to write something that stupid.

Don’t use the word “crazy” to describe this utter nonsense. Use “surprising/wild” instead. “Ableist language that trivializes the experiences of people living with mental health conditions” is to be avoided.

You can’t use the word “American” because it’s “imprecise.” Use “U.S. citizen” instead.

Here’s why you can’t use the term “circle the wagons: “Hollywood movies about settlers migrating west contributed greatly to the formation of this phrase, which means that “savages” are coming and a group of (White) people is about to be attacked. It also paints Indigenous Peoples as the aggressors.”

Begging your pardon, but the phrase “circle the wagons” does not have anything to do with Native Americans. Whoever wrote that never saw the John Wayne movie The Undefeated, where a force of bitter-end Confederates on their way to Mexico were set upon not by “savages” but by Mexican bandits. They formed a circle with their wagons to fight them off.

Related: The Babylon Bee Publishes a Hysterical Spoof of a College English Course Description. Oh, Wait!

There are all sorts of restrictions that, to be completely free of your inappropriate language usage, require a serious download and not a few megabytes of space on your hard drive.

The list was prefaced with (to use another forbidden word) a trigger warning: “This website contains language that is offensive or harmful. Please engage with this website at your own pace.”

Evidently it was all too much for some at the school to handle. On Monday, after the index came to light on social media, Stanford hid it from public view. Without a password, you wouldn’t know that “stupid” made the list.

Why would Stanford create this baloney? The short answer is that someone has to enforce these standards. That means more administrative staff added to the 15,750 already employed at the University to serve 16,937 students.

And we wonder why college is so expensive.