CTRL+Z: Stanford's IT Department Walks Back Plan to Purge 'Harmful Phrases' Like 'Blind Study'

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December 21, 2022

That was quick! Just 48 hours after the Washington Free Beacon and the Wall Street Journal shed light on a Stanford University list of "offensive" words and phrases like "American" and "blind study," the university would like to make a few clarifications.

The university hid its "Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative" behind a login page Monday following widespread public criticism of its effort to purge "potentially harmful" language like "survivor," "victim," "blackbox" and "white paper" from university websites. In a letter posted Tuesday evening, the university's chief information officer Steve Gallagher said the guide "does not represent university policy," nor "mandates or requirements."

"We have particularly heard concerns about the guide’s treatment of the term 'American,'" Gallagher wrote, referring to the blueprint's assessment that "American" ascribed superiority to people from the United States. "To be very clear, not only is the use of the term 'American' not banned at Stanford, it is absolutely welcomed," he continued.

The Free Beacon reported Tuesday that Stanford’s IT Department developed the guide in an effort to eliminate "gender-based" terms like "landlord," and "ableist" phrases like "balls to the wall" which inappropriately "attributes personality traits to anatomy." The blueprint also warned against the use of seemingly innocuous words like "blackbox," noting that while they are not racist in themselves, they "assign negative connotations to the color black, racializing the term."

The guide even warned against using the progressive phrase "preferred pronouns," since it "suggests that non-binary gender identity is a choice and a preference."

Stanford’s effort to police language reflects a trend across academia, government, media, the medical establishment, and corporate America to police language and circulate new "woke" vocabularies. Principles of this new speech include erasure of any noted biological difference between men and women and a hyper-awareness of race and an attempt to wipe out references to physical infirmities like blindness.