The University of Washington’s Information Technology Department uses terminology on its website that appears to violate its own Inclusive Language Guide.
Words and terms the guide considers “racist,” “sexist,” “ageist” and/or “homophobic” include “grandfather,” “housekeeping,” “minority,” “ninja,” “lame,” “man-in-the-middle,” “mantra,” and “see,” Fox News reports.
“Lame” is considered “ableist,” for example. “Housekeeping”? Some might “feel gendered.” “Mantra” is a problem because Buddhists and Hindus use it as a “highly spiritual and religious experience.”
But “mantra” appears on the department’s technology help guide, and “man-in-the-middle” (it’s got “man” in it) is used on a page about server operator protection. “Minority” (which “implies a ‘less than’ attitude toward [a] community or communities”) shows up on yet another page (“minority-owned businesses”).
On still another we find “see” (“See a problem? Let us know”), but the language guide states “see” can be viewed (no pun intended) as “ableist” since it denotes someone with vision.
The guide also encourages employees within the department to contact vendors who use the “problematic words and phrases” and ask them to avoid terms that come from “racist, ableist and/or sexist origins,” and are given sample prompts to email to vendors.
“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,” the email prompt states. “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?”
A University of Washington spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the guide is a “work in progress.”
“The incorporation of these best practices is a work in progress. The guide is not intended to cast aspersions on any individuals or departments, but rather to provide a reference to be more thoughtful in the choice of language being used. We, as everyone should, seek to continue to learn and improve, and there is always more work to be done to maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment,” the spokesperson said.
In 2017, the Writing Center at UW’s Tacoma branch issued an “anti-racism statement” which blasted the “’unjust language structures’ propagated by a society in which ‘racism is the normal condition of things.’”
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