A bias-free language guide published on The University of New Hampshire’s website has gathered significant Internet attention due to references in the guide that words like “American” are biased. The president of the university issued a statement rejecting the guide. Meanwhile, politicians are weighing in, including Donald Trump.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. American Is Un-American According to the Guide
According to the language guide, which is published on The University of New Hampshire’s website, “American” is one of many questionable words that should no longer be used. The word American doesn’t recognize the existence of North Americans and South Americans, and therefore should be avoided, the guide states. Instead, U.S. citizen or “Resident of the U.S.” are preferred phrases.
2. Elderly Is Another Questionable Word
The bias-free language guide also suggests that “elderly” is word that should be avoided. According to the guide, “old people” is coming back in style and is now the preferred word. The guide states that the term old people “halts the euphemizing of age.”
The guide also suggests replacing “homeless” with “person experiencing homelessness” and replacing “rich” with “person of material wealth.” The latter is suggested because the term rich gives off a feeling of omnipotence, the guide claims. Other problematic words include:
- Caucasian, which should be replaced by “white people”
- Healthy, which should be replaced by “non-disabled”
- Homosexual, which is now derogatory and should be replaced by “Same Gender Loving”
3. The Guide Was Published in 2013 but Gained Attention After a Conservative Website Found It
The guide flew under the radar for almost two years before a conservative blogger found it and published a review of it. The authors said the guide was offered to promote discussion and coming up with new ways for creative and accurate expressions. The guide matches UNH’s inclusive-learning environment, the authors wrote. The specific authors aren’t known, but The Blaze reported that it was created by “community members.”
4. The President of the University Issued a Statement Rejecting the Guide
Mark Huddleston, president of the University of New Hampshire, was not happy about the bias-free language guide. A note appears beneath the guide stating that it is not university policy, and linking to the statement pictured above. The statement says, in part:
I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term ‘American’ is misplaced or offensive…
5. Donald Trump Has Already Weighed in on the Guide
It didn’t take Donald Trump, 2016 presidential candidate, long to weigh in on the bias-free language guide. He posted a tweet denouncing the guide as an outrage. UNH quickly tweeted back that the guide was not part of the university’s policy.