Brandeis University is a liberal arts college located outside of Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts. The college, known for its liberal tendencies and policies, has just released a list of words that will no longer be tolerated in the institution. The words, which include many common phrases and words, including “picnic,” are now banned for both students and faculty at the Massachusetts college.
The decision was made to ban these common words and phrases because they were identified as being “violent language” and are not appropriate for the people at the school. The phrases that have been banned have ties to violent imagery, which was the reason the school decided to ban the phrase “trigger warning” – it is too closely associated with guns and violence for Brandeis University.
The school identified phrases that have long been used in popular culture in America. However, the college claims that the words are derived from violent meanings and are not appropriate for today’s politically correct culture.
According to the college, “picnic 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.”
The word picnic is derived from the French term “pique-nique,” which originally referred to someone bringing his or her own wine to a meal. It evolved to include eating outdoors and was first used in England in the 18th century.
Brandeis University released their “oppressive language list” and included alternative phrases that students and faculty could use rather than the controversial phrases.
“PARC recognizes that language is a powerful tool used to perpetuate and perpetuate oppression. As a community, we strive to remove oppressive language from our everyday use. This list is meant to be a tool to share information and suggestions about potentially oppressive language.”
Phrases that were considered controversial include “killing it” and “taking a shot at” or “taking a stab at.” The school suggested alternatives like “great job” or “awesome” for “killing it.” While students and faculty are expected to say “give it a go” or “try” instead of the other two “violent” examples.
Another offensive phrase, “go off the reservation,” was deemed problematic because “this phrase has a harmful history rooted in the violent removal of indigenous people from their land and the horrible consequences for someone that left the reservation.”
Even “rule of thumb” is on the list. Students and faculty are expected to say “general rule” instead. The reason for this suggestion is because “this expression comes from an old British law allowing men to beat their wives with sticks no wider than their thumb.”
It was first printed in 1865 by Scottish Preacher James Durham, who wrote: “Many professed Christians are like to foolish builders, who build by guess, and by the rule of thumb (as we use to speak), and not by Square and Rule.”
The school also wants to stop using the terms “victim” and “survivor” and instead use “person who has experienced” or “person who has been impacted by” in their place.
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