Colorado State University has included the words “American” and “America” on its list of language to avoid because they are not inclusive.
The school’s Inclusive Communications Task Force compiled a list of words in its Inclusive Language Guide that serve to help those on campus foster “inclusion, respect, and social justice.”
The guide states that it is not about being politically correct but instead is there to help “communicators practice inclusive language” and make everyone on campus “feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”
CSU lists both “American” and “America” as non-inclusive words “to avoid,” due to the fact that America encompasses more than just the U.S.
“The Americas encompass a lot more than the United States,” the guide states. “There is South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean just to name a few of 42 countries in total.”
By referring to the U.S. as America, the guide claims that one “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” The school suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.
The guide advises students to use the words “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” instead of “American.”
Among other words and phrases on the list are:
The words “male” and “female” (because this “refers to biological sex and not gender,” and “we very rarely need to identify or know a person’s biological sex and more often are referring to gender”), “cake walk” (because it apparently has origins in “the racism of 19th century minstrel shows”), “freshman” (because it “excludes women and non-binary gender identities”), “Hispanic” (“because of its origins in colonialization and the implication that to be Hispanic or Latinx/Latine/Latino, one needs to be Spanish-speaking”), “hold down the fort” (because “the U.S. the historical connotation refers to guarding against Native American ‘intruders’ and feeds into the stereotype of ‘savages’”), “no can do” (because it was “originally a way to mock Chinese people”), “peanut gallery” (because it “names a section in theaters, usually the cheapest and worst, where many Black people sat during the era of Vaudeville”), “straight” (because it “implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal”), “food coma” (because it “directly alludes to the stereotype of laziness associated with African-Americans”), and “war” or “battle,” when used any way other than to describe a literal war or battle (because “they evoke very real tragedy that can be problematic for survivors of war or Veterans”). (National Review)
The guide does note, however, that the recommendations are not official policy.