University of Washington department’s website appears to violate its own “inclusive language guide”
The University of Washington’s Department of Information Technology may be the newest member of the “do as I say, not as I do” club.
The IT department recently released an “inclusive language guide” that labels many everyday words used by Americans as “problematic.”
But it turns out that many of these words are used on the ministry’s website.
The “inclusive language guideclaims a number of words and phrases are ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘ageist’ or ‘homophobic’. These words, according to the guide, include ‘grandpa’, ‘household’, ‘minority “, “ninja, “Lame”, “man in the middle”, “mantra” and “see”.
The guide states that IT employees are responsible for ensuring that “racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic, or otherwise non-inclusive language is not included in online materials and resources.”
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From the look of the department’s website, it looks like these employees have work to do.
“Mantra,” for example, is a word deemed “non-inclusive,” but it appears on a technology help guide on the ministry’s website.
“A tool for every occasion. It’s our mantra here at UW, and because we know you’re always on the move, Mobile.UW gives you quick links to top apps, websites, and resources across the world. UW in a mobile-friendly format,” the website reads.
The language guide says the “mantra” is “problematic” because it is used in the Buddhist and Hindu community.
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“Many people in the Buddhist and Hindu community regard this term ‘mantra’ as a highly spiritual and religious experience, and should not be used casually,” the guide says.
On another occasion, the department used the phrase “man-in-the-middle”, which is also deemed “problematic” by the language guide.
“Please note that to protect yourself from server operators who have not yet chosen to disable it (and from man-in-the-middle attacks), you should disable it on your clients,” states a 2021 department webpage. .
The department’s language guide considers “man in the middle” a “problematic” phrase due to the use of “man”.
“The use of ‘male’ is not inclusive, and therefore gender-biased,” the guide states.
“The use of ‘man’ is not inclusive, and therefore sexist.”
Another page on the ministry’s website uses the word ‘minority’, which is also deemed ‘problematic’ by the language guide because it ‘implies a ‘below’ attitude towards the community or communities referred to. .
The web page also uses the word “see”, which is also considered “problematic” by the language guide. At the bottom of the language guide, a prompt says “See a problem? Let us know.”
“While these uses of the word ‘see’ are not inherently incorrect or necessarily offensive, content providers should avoid using the word ‘see’ in situations where a more specific, non-capacitist word would be preferable,” says the guide.
The word “lame” is also considered problematic because of its “capable” roots.
“This word is offensive, even when used in slang for uncool, because it uses a handicap in a negative way to imply that the opposite, which would not be lame, is superior,” the guide states.
The guide also encourages department employees to contact vendors who use “problem words and phrases” and ask them to avoid terms that come from “racist, ableist, and/or sexist backgrounds,” and are provided with examples of invites to be emailed to suppliers.
“Unfortunately, while working with your product/service, we have identified language that may be considered offensive due to its racist, ableist, and/or sexist origins,” the email prompt reads. “Can you tell us what efforts you are undertaking to move away from this language to create a more inclusive product/service?”
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A University of Washington spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the guide is a “work in progress.”
“Incorporating these best practices is a work in progress. The guide is not intended to disparage individuals or departments, but rather to provide a reference for being more thoughtful in the choice of language used. We, as everyone should, seek to continue learning and improving, and there is always more work to be done to maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment,” the spokesperson said.