Stanford University lists word ‘American’ as hate speech

Stanford University

Stanford University has replaced the word “American” with “U.S. citizen”, terming it as a “harmful” language.

On Monday, the university published an index of “harmful language” on its website, replacing the words.

The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative was launched in May, and aims to address prohibited terms listed under 10 categories which include racism, ableism, ageism, colonialism, culturally appropriative, gender-based, ethic bias, homophobia and additional consideration.

The university urged readers to replace the term “American” with “U.S. citizen” because “American” often refers to people from the United States only, thereby insinuating that the U.S. is the most important country in the Americas.

It also noted that the Americas include 42 countries between North and South America, adding that terms such as “immigrant” should be replaced by “person who has immigrated” or “non-citizen” to avoid referring to people by single characteristics.

In addition to the 13-page outlines, several words against black individuals, indigenous groups, disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals and others, were replaced or omitted.

“The purpose of this website is to educate people about the possible impact of the words we use,” the statement said.

“Language affects different people in different ways. We are not attempting to assign levels of harm to the terms on this site. We also are not attempting to address all informal uses of language.”

In a statement on Tuesday issued by its assistant vice president of external communications, Dee Mostofi, the university said the guidelines were meant for “internal use”.

“In this case, the EHLI website was specifically created by and intended for use within the university IT community,” Ms Mostofi said. “It will continue to be refined based on ongoing input from the community.”