The University of California’s expectation, introduced in 2015, that faculty abstain from offensive phrases known as microaggressions has been so popular and effective at eliminating the complex problem of systemic discrimination that an updated selection of frowned upon phrases has been added to the original list, which included remarks such as “Where are you from?”
“This was a tricky selection process,” said UC VP for Inclusive Pedagogy Homer Guidry. “We have set a standard for ourselves to be the model of shutting down any dialogue that might be sensitive in nature so we had to find creative ways for individuals to convey the essence of offensive terms without saying the term itself. Many games of academic charades were played.”
The following examples may be too offensive for many readers. Adult supervision is recommended and trauma counseling will be provided through a free hotline for anyone who feels triggered.
- “Good morning” may be the most flagrantly used microaggression.
“It’s troubling to believe that ‘G.M.’ is still considered an acceptable term to so many people,” said Post Traumatic Stress Disorder specialist Elizabeth Cather, who submitted this suggestion for inclusion on the updated list. “The American’s with Disabilities Act made it clear that mental illness, including depression and suicidal tendencies, required accommodation. I’ve seen professors loudly say ‘G.M.’ to entire classrooms of students, with a brazen assumption that the students must all certainly agree that the M was G. Not a single one of those professors has been reprimanded, but I’m happy to see the UC system will take the lead in protecting rights.”
- The (FILL IN ANY LETTER)-Word
“I was at an open forum about race relations recently and, as a white woman who went to an all-white high school, I went to the forum to learn more about the issues,” said Dawn Daniels. “All of the sudden, people started saying ‘the-letter-that-comes-after-M-word.’ I don’t actually know what that letter stands for, but I could tell it was bad and the fact that people were saying the blank-word really made me uncomfortable. I don’t think anyone, regardless of race or background should be allowed to say any individual letter of the alphabet with the word ‘word’ after it.”
- How Are You Doing?
“‘H.H.A.Y.D.?’ is just a throwback to the old ‘You don’t look like a student,’ microaggression of old,” said historical linguist Anne Dowd. “We used to have problems on predominantly white campuses where our security officers would stop students of color and ask to see their IDs because they ‘didn’t look like a student.’ Now, after more careful hiring practices and lots of sensitivity training, officers say to students ‘Hello. How are you doing?’ How are they doing? These officers are obviously questioning the work ethic of students but in such a subtle way they get away with it daily.”
Additional phrases that have been added to the Campus Sensitivity Suggestion Box are still being decoded by UC’s Cryptography Department.
“A dialogue stopper’s job is never done,” said Guidry. “We hope to add between twenty and seven hundred more phrases banned phrases by next fall.”