PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — Stanford University’s IT department introduced its Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative (EHLI) in May, aiming to recognize and address words that could be considered harmful. On Monday, the EHLI published a long list of words that it says fall under this category.
The list contains more than 100 different words and phrases that are deemed harmful, including an explanation for why they are harmful and a word or phrase to use in lieu of the harmful term. Among the terms on the list were “American” and “you guys.”
“You guys” showed up in the list’s “gender-based” category. The school suggested using “folks,” “people” or “everyone” instead. The issue with “you guys” is that it “lumps a group of people using masculine language and/or into gender binary groups, which don’t include everyone,” Stanford EHLI explained.
“American” was deemed to be “imprecise language,” and the EHLI said “U.S. citizen” is preferred. “This term (American) often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas (which is actually made up of 42
countries),” Stanford EHLI said.
Other words and terms on the list include: Karen, white paper, straight, submit, abusive relationship, prisoner, crazy, victim walk-in, and grandfather.
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“We have particularly heard concerns about the guide’s treatment of the term ‘American.’ We understand and appreciate those concerns. To be very clear, not only is the use of the term ‘American’ not banned at Stanford, it is absolutely welcomed,” Stanford Chief Information Officer Steve Gallagher said.
Gallagher went on to write that the EHLI meant to say “American” can be imprecise in some uses, but “we clearly missed the mark in this presentation.”