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Around Town: Stanford removes Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative website amid backlash

Original post made on Jan 7, 2023

Read news about controversy surrounding Stanford's Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, a new docuseries about a 1998 Palo Alto murder and an artist with local ties who'll contribute to the Hearts in San Francisco 2023 project.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, January 7, 2023, 8:44 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2023 at 4:44 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Language (or vocabulary) is not harmful, it is the way it is used that can cause harm.

We use the term African American because that is now the politically correct term, but that can be confusing to other cultures who are not American and don't consider themselves from Africa.

We talk about humans, humanity, humane, and it applies to everyone. Women menstruate and go through menopause. Just because the letters m a n or m e n turn up in a word, it has nothing to do with gender.

As for being offended by a straightforward term, then obviously there is very little in the world that is more important. When we see countries being invaded, women in Afghanistan or middle east countries getting treated badly by their countries leaders and laws, that causes me more pain than whether or not someone is offended by the word American and rightly so.

Posted by Easy8
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 7, 2023 at 11:34 pm

Easy8 is a registered user.

I'm a double Stanford alum, and lament the runaway extremism.

Using Stanford's logic, they should demand the banning of Latin and Spanish, because they are (literally) sexist. Most nouns are labelled masculine or feminine.

For instance, book is the masculine "el libro" implying books should be associated with males, and not females.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2023 at 11:43 am

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

Seems the Stanford IT Community got caught with their pants down. What an embarrassment. Do they honestly think the initiative was "intended as a guide, not a mandate," to address racist and harmful terminology or was it what they really want the university to mandate?

Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 9, 2023 at 3:17 pm

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

The word "America" has been used, especially by politicians, for a couple of decades. The usage is unfortunate, but persists, and is now part of the language.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 10, 2023 at 10:51 am

Citizen is a registered user.

I see no reason to give Stanford any more contributions, given this is the wasteful manner in which time, energy, and resources are spent over there.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 10, 2023 at 11:26 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Decades ago the New York Times changed its style manual from "black" to African-American, did a global search and replace and ended up publishing such absurdities as "Third quarter sales were in the African-American" thus becoming as much of a joke as Stanford's NewSpeak list even among those of us who oppose discrimination, etc.

If Stanford wants to do something useful, maybe it should start lobbying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, start fighting for Equal Pay and an end to sexual harassment at the high tech companies it backs and lobbying to end book banning, gerrymandering etc.

Since its Newspeak list bans the use of "victim" I'm wondering how they refer to all the women whose rapes, assaults and harassment it's historically ignored. Or maybe that was the point of the list.

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