The University of New Hampshire is offering its Bias-Free Language Guide on its website to students. Among the words that the guide finds “problematic” are: “American,” “illegal alien,” “foreigners,” “mothering,” and “fathering.” The guide, according to the website, is intended “to invite inclusive excellence in [the] campus community.” Among the other proscribed terms are: “elders,” “senior citizen,” “overweight,” “speech impediment,” “dumb,” “sexual preference,” “manpower,” “freshmen,” “mailman,” and “chairman,” in addition to many others.   The guide prefers the use of “Same Gender Loving” in place of “homosexual,” since the latter term is also considered “problematic.” 
 
Abandoning the use of words such as “American,” according to the guide, fosters inclusion. “Each step of inclusion moves us closer to a full democracy,” stated the guide. According to the university website, “inclusive language” is “communication that does not stereotype or demean people based on personal characteristics.” The university website encourages readers to understand that the guide “is not a means to censor but rather to create dialogues of inclusion where all of us feel comfortable and welcomed.”
 
The university also goes on to cite “ciscentrism” as also being problematic. According to the university, “ciscentrism” is a “pervasive and institutionalized system that places transgender people in the ‘other’ category and treats their needs and identities as less important than those of cisgender people.” “Ciscentrism” bias, says the university, “includes the lack of gender-neutral restrooms, locker rooms, and residences.”
 
The guide also finds that the use of the word “American” is problematic. In its stead, the guide prefers  “U.S. citizen” or “Resident of the U.S.”  because it “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside [the continents of North and South America].” “Illegal alien” is also a problem, according to the guide. While “undocumented immigrant” is an acceptable term, the guide states a preference for “person seeking asylum,” or “refugee,” instead. “Foreigners” is also precluded. The preferred term is “international people.”
 
The racial category, “Caucasian,” is also problematic: it should be replaced with “European-American individuals.” 
 
“Mothering” or “fathering” are also out in order to “avoid gendering a non-gendered activity.”
 
The university prefers to use the term “non-disabled” for healthy people. Also, the terms “handicapped” or “physically-challenged” are to be avoided. The university wants students and faculty to use the term  “wheelchair user,” or “person who is wheelchair mobile” instead of “handicapped.”
 
In the political arena, the university guide prefers to “person of material wealth” to the more common term “rich,” while “poor” is also frowned upon. A poor person should be referred to as a “person who lacks advantages that others have” or “low economic status related to a person’s education, occupation and income.” Among the many other proscribed terms are: “senior citizen,” “sexual preference,’ “overweight” (which the guide says is “arbitrary”), “speech impediment,” “elders,’ “dumb,” “manpower,” “freshmen,” “mailman,” and “chairman.” 
 
Following the example of the University of Wisconsin, the University of New Hampshire also offers a  “Gender Pronouns Guide” as “a starting point for using pronouns respectfully.” The guide explains the use of “nonbinary pronouns” such as spivak pronouns or ze/zie/hir sets. For example, instead of saying the sentence “their eyes gleam” (using binary pronouns), the sentence would become “hir [pronounced identically to “here,” and “hear”] eyes gleam.” These non-binary pronouns, states the guide, are frequently used by “trans, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people.”
 
Beside all of the above, the University of New Hampshire also offers training to faculty in how to handle so-called “microaggressions.”

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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