icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
24 Jun, 2021 16:33

‘Language policing’: University wants ‘oppressive’ phrases like ‘picnic’ & ‘trigger warning’ retired, offers ‘alternatives’

‘Language policing’: University wants ‘oppressive’ phrases like ‘picnic’ & ‘trigger warning’ retired, offers ‘alternatives’

Massachusetts’ Brandeis University has earned blowback for recommending phasing out numerous words and phrases it claims are offensive, including ‘picnic’, ‘policeman’, and ‘rule of thumb’.

Brandeis University, located in the city of Waltham, is the latest US college to be accused of injecting extreme woke talking points into its schooling, with its Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center drawing attention for providing a long list of regularly used words and terms it recommends faculty and staff avoid using. The school even provides alternative words and phrases it deems more inclusive. 

On the ‘violent’ section of the offensive language list are commonly used terms like ‘killing it’. Instead of complimenting someone and saying they are “killing it,” the list recommends that one just say “great job” or “awesome” to avoid equating success with murder.

Also on the list of ‘naughty language’ are ‘policeman’, ‘rule of thumb’, and many more. 

‘Picnic’ and ‘rule of thumb’, the school argues, have racist and sexist origins, though ‘picnic’ appears to have since been removed from the list without explanation – the school warns the list will “grow and change all the time.” 

“Rule of thumb,” the advocacy group claims, “allegedly comes from an old British law allowing men to beat their wives with sticks no wider than their thumb.”

Also on rt.com It’s the ‘student Stasi’: Deploying ‘sensitivity readers’ to vet articles condemns Oxford's undergraduates to intellectual poverty

“Picnic,” on the other hand, 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,” according to a previous description used by the group. 

While these origins have been presented by activists in the past, both are highly disputed by historians.

Picnic, for instance, is more commonly known for coming from the word ‘pique-nique’, a French term for a social gathering where guests bring items such as food or wine, as noted in a Reuters fact-check of the claims.

Picnic has likely been linked to lynchings because some descriptions of lynchings in the 1800s and early 1900s described ‘picnic-like’ settings around the public affairs, but the term itself does not appear to actually originate or even be directly tied to the public killings. 

‘Rule of thumb’ has similarly long been floated as a sexist term by activists, despite the fact that today it is generally used as a phrase describing the general principles of something. 

Other phrases Brandeis wants to see retired include ‘long time no see’ and ‘no can do’, as both are phrases that originate from hateful language used to mock non-English speakers. 

Even the phrase ‘trigger warning’ is on the school’s list of offensive language, despite the term most commonly being used to warn the more sensitive about topics that may offend them. The phrase itself is now also offensive, because the word trigger has “connections to guns for many people.”

Now one is supposed to say ‘drop-in’ or ‘content note’ instead.

Many of the school’s recommended alternative phrases, as well as its explanations for policing certain words, have gained the attention of numerous critics, many of whom have blasted the school for drawing false equivalencies and suppressing free speech.

“Language policing is almost Freudian in how it exposes someone's own disturbing brain connections. It never even occurred to me that saying ‘no can do’ was making fun of poor English, let alone anything Asian,” Tablet Magazine’s Noam Blum tweeted

“There's nothing weird happening in our major institutions, why would you think that? It's not like they're trying to prohibit the use of the word ‘picnic,’” pundit Charles Fain Lehman added

Like this story? Share it with a friend!