In an ever-evolving landscape of cultural sensitivity and social awareness, the University of Surrey is taking steps to foster a more inclusive environment by encouraging staff to consider the language they use. Here’s the full story.
Abandonment Phrases That Perpetuate Biases or Stereotypes
Amid growing recognition of the power of words, the university is pushing for the abandonment of certain phrases that may inadvertently perpetuate biases or stereotypes.
Aiming to Promote Inclusive Conversations
The move comes in response to a guidance document that Mental Health First Aid England shared, aiming to promote more mindful and inclusive conversations, particularly concerning race.
The document provides examples of phrases that have the potential to offend or reinforce biases and offers alternative expressions that steer clear of such pitfalls.
Black Sheep Out, Renegade In
For instance, the commonly used phrase “black sheep” is suggested to be replaced with “renegade.”
Avoiding the Color Black
The rationale behind this substitution lies in avoiding the association of the color “black” with negative connotations.
It Follows Then That “Blackball” Is Out and “Ostracize” Is In
Similarly, the term “blackball” is replaced with “ostracize,” aiming to eliminate the inadvertent association of the word “black” with rejection or exclusion.
Idiomatic Expressions Are Being Reviewed Too: “Black and Blue”Was Ousted
The guidance document extends its recommendations to idiomatic expressions as well.
The phrase “black and blue,” often used to describe physical injuries, is suggested to be replaced with “bruised.”
A Summer Change Has Nothing to Do With Indians?
Beyond the realm of color association, the guidance addresses the term “Indian summer.” The recommendation is to opt for “warm autumn” or “late summer” instead.
Not an Official Policy
The University of Surrey clarifies that this inclusive language guidance is not an official policy but rather a “good practice” shared by an individual at the university.
Fostering Freedom of Speech and Respectful Interactions
This move aligns with the university’s commitment to maintaining an environment that fosters freedom of speech and respectful interactions.
A Broader Context
The initiative also finds resonance in a broader context of academic institutions grappling with inclusivity and decolonization efforts.
The Woke Toolkit
At Durham University, teaching staff have access to a “woke toolkit” designed to evaluate and modify course content for better inclusivity.
Similarly, King’s College London emphasizes the distinction between being ‘not racist’ and ‘anti-racist,’ promoting active engagement against racial biases.
Are the Phrases Even About Race?
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “I think the answer is that any people who come here who are offended by our language should go home!”
Another User wrote, “How many of these phrases are to do with race, none probably.”
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Source: Daily Mail