The Stanford List of Unspeakable Words
Just don't tell me this was a cake walk...no really, the folks at Stanford will be pissed
In the Concentration Camps during the holocaust, there were groups of Jews known as “Capos.” The Capos were the Jews in the camps who worked with the Nazis as embedded enforcers and informers for a few extra crumbs of bread, really just the scum of the earth, which the other Jews obviously despised in the camps.
An unfortunate trend in the US over the past decade or so is not that modern-day scholastic student Capos are enforcing cultural trends at schools, since those types always existed, but that they seem to be the cool kids now.
The example below from Stanford is a perfect example of this trend.
After years (yes, years) of work, the Stanford CIO Council (CIOC) and the People of Color in Technology (POC-IT) produced a list of words that aims to “eliminate many forms of harmful language, including racist, violent, and biased (e.g., disability bias, ethnic bias, ethnic slurs, gender bias, implicit bias, sexual bias) language in Stanford websites and code,” in something called the Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative (EHLI).
Luckily enough for all the knuckle-draggers out there, the report helpfully provides the rationale for why the word should be taboo, along with potential replacements.
The EHLI represents another excellent example of the hall-monitoring, school-marm, Capo trend in the US; this is a list of words that need to be phased out of polite society because they cause a group of glass-jawed students big hurt feelings, and most of the lemmings at these schools will go along with it because after all, why risk your job at Goldman-Sachs or McKinsey to fight some speech code.
The bright side is that it makes the job for those of us who mock their inanity so easy that I shouldn’t even get paid to do this…oh wait, I don’t. So I guess I am getting what I deserve here.
To give you a small taste of the list, I have prepared an amuse-bouche to compliment the Orwellian menu the dimwitted language chefs have offered us. It is a ripe yet slightly overcooked sense of entitlement, paired with an overly sensitive ego; all served to you in an empty shell of hollowed-out culture. Enjoy!
To be replaced with “accessible parking” because the word handicapped “trivializes the experiences of people living with disabilities.” At least let them have their own parking spots, you selfish assholes. Haven’t the handicapped been through enough already?
Replace it with “a person who is paralyzed” because “this term generalizes a population of people while also implying that people with disabilities are not capable.”
Generalizing? Generalizing what? Do we need to describe the precise place where their spine was severed? Should we not say people have cancer either because it generalizes the population? To be able to talk about a parent who has cancer, you need to become a God damn oncologist now? “Please don’t use ableist language to describe Papa Bob; he doesn’t have cancer; we prefer to say he has Chronic Myeloproliferative Neoplasms.” On the plus side, it will be a short conversation because no one will know what in Christ you are talking about.
Also, how does calling someone paraplegic generally indicate they “are not capable”? It is meant to mean that they are incapable of just one critical function...WALKING. If calling them “person with a spinal cord injury” was a magical incantation that gave them back the use of their legs, I’d be happy to oblige; until then, leave me alone.
My grammar check software gave me this note when using the word “paraplegic”:
Good news, Stanford - if your stupidity prevents you from getting a job at Boston Consulting Group, you could always go work for Grammarly.
To be replaced with “masked study” because it is ableist against blind people. Well, Stanford, I guess you don’t care about the poors because some people out there can’t afford masks. To repent for your harmful economic language, I hear by sentence you to 100 hours at the local soup kitchen.
In victim ideology, being a Jew is like having a penny (not in the way you’re thinking you, anti-semite). You sort of have money, but not really, and it could be revoked at any time. So I have lived all my life without being able to buy anything at the victimhood store…until now!
I finally have my Million Man March moment. FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, THANK THE LORD ALL MIGHTY WE (the grey beards) ARE FREE AT LAST (I can use the term because I am one, you can’t, you bigot).
And to all you gray beards out there who color your glorious salt and pepper-ness… you’re a reverse, Michael Jackson. Be proud of your lack of pigmentation! Don’t let society judge you.
Yes, really. Instead, call it “Philippines”; otherwise, you are <checks notes> “perpetuating colonialism.” And don’t you dare add “the” in front, or you’ll literally be committing the next Batan Death March.
But what do I call the woman who married John Rolfe in 1614? Did Rolfe marry “the ‘P’ word?” I feel like that could get me in a lot more trouble.
Too many chiefs, not enough Indians
This apparently “trivializes the structure of indigenous communities.” Or, it accurately describes how many of their communities were structured…tomato/tomato
Instead, we should use “demanding or entitled white women.” Uhhhhhh, I don’t think that makes it any better.
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I mean…what are we doing here? We can’t use “user” because it can be negatively associated with someone who has an addiction problem.
In that case, we need to change the name of the animal formally known as a “bear” because a homophone (is that ok to use still?) is bare, which we all know is demeaning to prostitutes because they are naked when their Johns are plowing them. “Prostitute” is also on the list, but fuck it. I’m a rebel.
Replace with “Person who has immigrated.” Famous pornstar turned rapist Ron Jeremy is not “big dicked”…he is a person with a big dick. Please be culturally sensitive to those of us with massive hogs.
Never heard of this word outside of Star Wars. Star Wars…you’re canceled
Killing Two Birds with One Stone
True story - I was a vegan for the first ten years of my life, then I heard someone use the phrase “killing two birds with one stone” and was so intrigued by the concept that I went out in my backyard to see if it was possible. On the first day, I killed seven birds, but only one at a time.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the avian holocaust I was shooting for, and being someone who is not easily deterred from achieving my goals, I pitched a tent, put on warpaint (my mom’s lipstick), and spent the next two weeks living Lord of the Flies style.
After two weeks and approximately 34 dead birds, I finally did it. Admittedly, I cheated. I found a nest in a tree, knocked it down with a rock, and then stomped on the babies, but hey, I’ll take the W.
So yeah, better off we get rid of that one.
I grew up at the start of the political correctness movement, and the first word inserted into the lexicon was African American as a replacement for Black; now we’re going backward? What’s next? Does Stanford want to reinstitute Jim Crow? Re-establish the Transatlantic Slave Trade? Sorry, Stanford, you’ve gone too far now. I will join the Freedom Riders to prevent this backsliding from occurring if needed.
Stanford claims Indian Summer is insensitive because “the term infers that Indigenous people are chronically late.”
Among the various stereotypes I have heard, Native Americans (I refuse to call them “indigenous”) being chronically late is not one I have come across. And more importantly, that is not what Indian Summer means anyway. Indian Summer means a longer-than-expected summer, which I think most people would agree is kick-ass.
With that perspective, I would think the folks at Stanford would want us to use the term “Indian” to describe more great things that last longer than expected. Like Indian Cookouts, Indian Massages, or Indian Sex…am I right, ladies 😉? (Not to be confused with the Karma Sutra).
Replace Stupid with “boring, uncool,” except those words are in no way synonyms. They have functionally different definitions. If that’s what is happening here, I demand we replace “short” with “dashingly handsome.” If I can get a sign-off on that, I will concede stupid.
This reminds me of when Representative Emanuel Cleaver gave the opening prayer at Congress and concluded it with “amen, and a-women.” What are the odds that this dumbass knew that amen is Hebrew and that, surprise, Hebrew has a different word for “men.” If the wokies want to replace every instance of the letters m-e-n with “people,” we will have to expand our list a bit.
If you’re a writer, you didn’t just write a manuscript…you wrote a peoplescript.
That company didn’t manufacture something; they peoplefactured it.
Ladies, you don’t get manicures…you get peoplecures.
To all you mandolin players out there…your instrument is now called a peopledolin.
You don’t have many dogs; you have peopley dogs.
Have you got that straight? Will someone take a note to let Spotify know they will have to change the band that sang Blinded By the Light to Peoplefred Peoples’ Earth Band? Thanks
Black Hat/Black Mark/Black Sheep/Blackballed/Blackbox/Blacklisted/White Hat Hacker/White Paper/White Team/Whitebox/Whitelist/Whitespace
I’ll bet you guys will never figure out why these words are now verboten.
Apparently, Germans used this phrase when hunting down Jews during the holocaust. Call me skeptical, but let’s go with that assumption…does anyone use the phrase like that anywhere? Do we need to do a complete etymological study for every word we utter now?
Until next time… Hip, Hip, Horray!