Totes Obvs: the word "American" is problematic in a university environment

Katherine Timpf uncovers yet another charming aspect of American university life this week, expressed in a “language guide” for students and staff. (Oh, wait… I probably shouldn’t have said “American” there. I’d better check the Hot Air style guide.) Some of their examples will prove instructive and should serve as a reminder of why you’re probably wasting your tuition money if you pack your kids off to one of these schools. (National Review)

According to a “Bias-Free Language Guide” used by the University of New Hampshire, the word “American” is “problematic” and therefore should not be used.

“North Americans often use ‘American’ which usually, depending on the contexts, fails to recognize South America,” the guide explains.

“[It] assumes the U.S. is the only country inside these two continents,” it adds.

It recommends using “Resident of the U.S.” or “U.S. citizen” instead.

According to the guide, other “problematic” terms include “opposite sex” (it recommends using “other sex,”) “senior citizen” (it recommends “old people” or “people of advanced age”) and “obese” (it recommends using “people of size.”)

Edit: National Review credits Campus Reform as the source of the story.

But don’t worry. This isn’t censorship… it’s only intended to foster dialogues of inclusion.

I can’t even remember when it was that the word “American” began to become problematic for the Left, but it clearly grinds the gears of some of them. To be clear, they are all quick with the denials, saying, oh we have nothing against being American! It’s just not fair to the indigenous tribes or the rest of the nations. Yes… yes… of course. We wouldn’t suspect for even a moment that you’re less than proud of your country and resent the word American because it summons up images of Reagan riding a velociraptor waving Old Glory and firing a rifle. Perish the thought.

Even in the politically correct universe this seems like a weak argument. We aren’t “The United States” the last time I checked. We’re “The United States of America.” In fact, if you think about it, the “United States” part is actually more of a qualifier with “America” being the object in the phrase. As to the other countries, do you really think they’re offended? Nobody made Canada choose that name. They could have been “Northern America” if they were all fired up about it. And Mexico inherited their name long before we started hanging signs on things.

If your child is attending the University of New Hampshire and runs up against this language guide, invite them to burn it for fuel over the winter and offer to pay the cost of the inevitable summons. There’s nothing inherently wrong or insulting about saying “Americans” and nobody is ashamed of it unless they are actually ashamed of their country.