Perhaps you’ve seen the story on the Wall Street Journal editorial page today (or in some other outlet where it is booming this morning) about Stanford University’s “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative,” which reads like a parody of our idiotic woke university culture today. But no—Stanford employed a task force that worked for months to advocate that no one on campus use the word “American” because “This term often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the US is the most important country in the Americas. . .”
It gets worse from there. The Journal highlights and comments aptly:
“Gangbusters” is banned because the index says it “invokes the notion of police action against ‘gangs’ in a positive light, which may have racial undertones.” Not to beat a dead horse (a phrase that the index says “normalizes violence against animals”), but you used to have to get a graduate degree in the humanities to write something that stupid.
Stanford has blocked access to the document from its website out of sheer embarrassment (not very “inclusive” of them to keep this helpful language guide out of sight), but copies were captured and are available. I’ve posted it on Scribd here. But as Stanford warns in boldface, “This website contains language that is offensive or harmful. Please engage with this website at your own pace.” Can’t believe we haven’t adopted this warning for Power Line years ago.
Question for Stanford: when can we expect the document to be made public again? If the answer is that it won’t be, the next question is when they are going to stop the stupid process that led to this?
As spectacularly stupid as this story is, the Journal arguably buried the lede, which is this sentence appearing near the end: “For 16,937 students, Stanford lists 2,288 faculty and 15,750 administrative staff.” [Emphasis added.] Stanford would improve immeasurably if they fired half their administrative staff randomly.
P.S. Yes—we’re going to make it our mission in this week’s podcast to use as many of the terms on Stanford’s list as possible.
UPDATE—Charles Lipson is ON IT:
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