POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ALERT: University of Michigan ‘Words Matter Task Force’ says “picnic” is offensive

United States Constitution Amendment I.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The United States Constitution, Amendment I forbids the abridging of the freedom of speech. One of the departments of the University of Michigan seems to disagree.

The University of Michigan (UM) has issued an updated report on December 8, 2020 from its Information Technology Services (ITS) department titled “Words Matter Task Force Recommendations.” It seems that the UM ITS department wants to abridge their students, employees, vendors and faculty’s freedom of speech.

The Executive Summary of Words Matter Task Force Recommendations states:

Given the importance of communication and the ITS core value of inclusivity, the Words Matter Task Force was formed and charged with identifying terms used within ITS that are, or can be construed to be, racist, sexist, or non-inclusive.

What Words Are Now Considered Racist, Sexist or Non-Inclusive at UM?

Note in the table below that that the words man, men, picnic, he, she, grandfathered, and phrases like long time no see are now considered offensive. See the chart below of words and phrases that are now banned at UM.

The purpose of the is to impact language globally. According to the report:

The University of Michigan has the opportunity to influence change with vendors, suppliers, and associations. ITS can share with strategic partners the business case for using inclusive language, and prepare them on new terms they may hear ITS staff members use. There are a few scenarios that offer opportunities for communication and relationship building, including proactively reaching out to vendors to make them aware of changes they may experience when interacting with ITS; requesting a change from vendors toward inclusive language; and starting a conversation with other university partners to increase adoption. An email template example was developed that Service Owners can use to inform and prepare external partners. See Appendix D.

This is political correctness gone wild at a premier American university.
Mario Goveia in an email wrote:

As an alumnus of the University of Michigan during an era when knowledge and understanding were prized and robust differences of opinion were encouraged as a learning tool, I’m now being asked to think twice before I speak or write, in case I offend someone.

I just learned that the University’s “Information and Technology Services Department” has a “Words Matter Task Force”, which has decided that the word “PICNIC” is OFFENSIVE along with a whole list of other words deemed offensive.

This kind of thinking may explain how Biden-Harris got elected with their objective of turning us into a nanny state.  The Biden-voters in the task force suggested the use of “gatherings” instead of “picnic” without explaining why!

If you disagree you’re obviously a racist!

The US is being transformed from a “glass is always at least half full” country into a “glass is always less than half empty” country.

Inclusive Language

This list is not exhaustive and will continue to grow. 

Term Alternative Term
-men-, -man- -people, -person, or a wholly different word.

(e.g., “man-hours” can become “person-hours”)

blacklist/whitelist allowed/prohibited, include/exclude, allowlist/deny list
black-and-white thinking binary thinking, all-or-nothing thinking
brown bag lunch and learn
crack the whip manage the effort closely
crazy, insane outrageous, unthinkable, nonsensical, incomprehensible, ridiculous, egregious, irrational
crippled weakened, deteriorated
disabled when referring to a system: deactivated, broken
dummy placeholder, sample
gender-neutral he or she gender-neutral they, referring by name
grandfathered (in) legacy status, legacies in, exempted, excused
gypped/jipped defrauded, swindled, cheated, ripped off
handicapped restricted
girl/gal, boy/guy person, or use the person’s name
guys/gals (e.g., Hi guys!) everyone, folks (e.g., Hi everyone!)
honey, sweetheart, sweetie use the person’s name
long time, no see “It’s been a while,” “I haven’t seen you in ages!”
low man on the totem pole last in the pecking order, the bottom of the heap
master/slave leader/follower, primary/replica, primary/standby
native built-in, innate
off the reservation outside the norms, rogue, break with the group, off on your own
picnic gathering
preferred pronouns pronouns
privileged account elevated account
sanity check quick check, confidence check, coherence check
sold down the river betrayed, thrown under the bus
straw-man proposed conceptual design
uppity arrogant, conceited

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.



1 reply
  1. Jan K
    Jan K says:

    U of M got fooled by a falsehood, don’t ‘academics’ know how to fact check???
    Obviously not well …

    “Neither the concept nor the word ‘picnic’ originated with crowds gathering to witness extrajudicial racial hangings.”

    Reuters Fact Check:
    “Images circulating on social media make the claim that the word “picnic” originates from the racist, extrajudicial killings of African Americans. This claim is false.”

    a myth being spread by some black politicians …


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