Stanford releases guide to eliminate ‘harmful language,’ cautions against calling US citizens ‘American’

Stanford University published an index of “harmful language” it plans to eliminate from the school’s websites and computer code, offering terms to be used as replacements.

The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative, which was revealed in May, is a “multi-phase, multi-year project to address harmful language in IT at Stanford,” according to the guide.

The guide says its goal is to eliminate “many forms of harmful language,” including “racist, violent, and biased (e.g., disability bias, ethnic bias, ethnic slurs, gender bias, implicit bias, sexual bias) language” in Stanford websites and code. It added that it strives to educate people on the impact of words.

There are 10 “harmful language” sections outlined in the index: ableist, ageism, colonialism, culturally appropriative, gender-based, imprecise language, institutionalized racism, person-first, violent and additional considerations.


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