The academic year is coming to a close, which means the academic summer is getting ready to start. People at universities do all sorts of things in the summer: Teach summer school, work on research and writing, travel and, these days, attend “diversity workshops.”
These workshops are advertised as teaching faculty and staff how to treat members of all racial and sexual groups with respect so as to maintain an inclusive and civil environment. They tell people what kinds of language to avoid because members of some groups might find it offensive, and they teach the importance of avoiding implicit biases and stereotyping in dealing with members of all groups.
It seems, however, that there’s often a gap in a lot of this training. So I’m going to list a few offensive words and phrases that should be avoided in the interest of fairness, and some common stereotypes that should not inform faculty and staff’s decision-making and interaction with students.