Politics & Policy

University Language Campaign: ‘Get Over It,’ ‘Blind,’ and ‘Skinny’ Are ‘Violent’ Words

And so are "whitewashed" and "gingers."

A “Language Awareness Campaign” at Western University in London has declared a whole host of words and phrases to be offensive and “violent”  – including “get over it,” “blind to something,” and “skinny.”

The point of the campaign, which was part of student orientation, was to warn against using language with an “inherently violent nature” — and featured posters of students explaining why certain words and phrases fall into this category.

For example:

‐“I don’t say that ‘I was “blind” to something’ because it ignores the experiences of differently abled individuals.”

‐“I don’t ask ‘who wears the pants in your relationship?’ because it expects homosexual couples to subscribe to heterosexual norms.”

‐“I don’t say ‘White washed’ because it is used to insult those who do not conform to negative stereotypes of a community or culture.”

‐“I don’t call people ‘gingers’ because a unique hair colour does not make one inferior.”

‐“I don’t say ‘you are so skinny’ because ‘skinny’ is not validating”

‐“We don’t say ‘Spirit Animal’ because it is a form of cultural appropriation.”

‐“We don’t say ‘freak’ because it reduces certain identities and encourages the perpetuation of violence.”

“I don’t tell people to ‘get over it’ because it ignores the long-lasting impacts of certain life experiences.”

#share#Of course, “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” is a question often posed to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual ones, nothing in the definition of the word “ginger” is synonymous with “inferior,” and “whitewashed” can also refer to a freshly painted fence. (I’m pretty sure fences are not capable of feeling insulted.) Oh, and for the record, I was also not able to find a single instance of violence that was attributed to the perpetrator having heard the word “freak.”

But maybe I shouldn’t be joking about this — it seems like a pretty serious deal. In fact, the campaign was so concerned about potential trauma from seeing a phrase like “get over it” that it included a “trigger warning” on every single photo description, cautioning visitors that there might be danger ahead.

#related#And hey, the campaign’s mission sure does sound like a noble one, right?

“We hope to spread awareness among students on the inherently violent nature of certain discriminatory colloquialisms, and promote sensitivity and inclusivity within our campus,” the page’s description explains.

Hm.Well, call me insensitive, but I guess I’m not really convinced. In fact, I’m almost tempted to tell some of these kids that they need to “get over it” — but I wouldn’t want to be responsible for any violence.


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