At what point do people finally push back and ask, "isn't this enough?"
Colorado State University recently ramped up its effort to teach what is known as "inclusive language." Inclusive language is generally considered to be the proper use of gender pronouns to describe a person as well as reducing words and statements that stereotype a group or groups of people. It works to discourage and eliminate not just blatantly racist or bigoted language, but any language that could be offensive to some people.
Is there a point though, where it gets to be too much? Is banning "you guys" taking it too far? Has Colorado State University reached the point of no return?
According to an article in the school paper, CSU has taken the noble idea of gender inclusivity and pushed way further out. Now, according to Zahra Al-Saloom, the director of Diversity and Inclusion at Associated Students of Colorado State University, "You guys" is no good anymore. It should be replaced with "Y'all." Ok, fair enough. We're not convinced that people are really offended by that, but "guys" is gender-specific, so we'll go along with this.
The list goes on. "Freshman" should be replaced with First Year. Ok, fine, we agree, again, that it's not gender-neutral, but really? Are there really people out there offended by "freshman?"
"Dorm" is verboten because "dorm refers to only a place where one sleeps, and residence hall refers to a place where we sleep, eat, study and participate in social activities." Uh, ok? We're losing you here.
By far the weirdest one is "long time, no see."
Wait, what?? Long time, no see? Who in the world is offended by that and more importantly, WHY are they offended? This doesn't make even a little bit of sense!
Gender language inclusivity is important. Very important. People should be called by whatever pronoun they prefer. If a trans woman wishes to be called "she," she should be afforded that dignity, at a minimum. There is nothing more offensive than calling someone a pronoun in nothing more than an attempt to belittle them. We should be diligent in calling out people when they do this, even if they don't mean to be offensive. Education and respect are important.
At the same time, we can't start arbitrarily calling things offense without a good reason for it. Not only does it not solve any problems, but it also reduces the importance of REAL change that is needed in our language. It's easy for skeptics to dismiss everything when one thing goes too far.
Then we have all lost.
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