Once they took out Dumbo and Pepe Le Pew, it was only a matter of time until the language police doubled down.
An elite school in Manhattan has advised the school “community” — that means not just the staff but students and parents — to stop saying “mom” and “dad,” or even “parents,” advising them to instead say “grown-ups, folks, or family.”
The Grace Church School, which charges $57,000 for students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, put out a 12-page guide addressed to the school community that discourages a slew of words, phrases and even ideas. (The head of Grace Church School has pushed back on the idea the guidelines are actually mandatory.)
“The goal of this guide is to provide the community with more inclusive language that is aligned with the mission of Grace Church School,” reads the guide. “While we recognize hateful language that promotes racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination are already addressed in our school handbooks, we also recognize that we can do more than ban hateful language; we can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces. This guide addresses ways we can remove harmful assumptions from the way we interact with each other.”
“Families are formed and structured in many ways. At Grace Church School, we use inclusive language that reflects this diversity,” the guide says. “It’s important to refrain from making assumptions about who kids live with, who cares for them, whether they sleep in the same place every night, whether they see their parents, etc.”
On avoiding even the phrase “happy holidays,” the school says, “At Grace Church School, we work to be mindful of the language we use in order to avoid making assumptions about people as we engage in conversation that touches on religion.”
How is “happy holidays” making assumptions about someone’s religion? Students are on break — a holiday break!
The school also directs the community not to ask others where they went during school breaks.
“At Grace Church School, we work to be mindful of the language we use in order to avoid making assumptions about people and their available resources as we engage in conversations that touch on socioeconomics.”
Instead of saying “Where did you go for break?” say “Name something you learned during break” or “Tell me something that happened during break,” the school said. Instead of saying “Everyone has (insert item)” say “Some people have…” or “Not everyone has….”
And instead of asking a fellow student “What are you? Where are you from?” the question should be “What is your cultural/ethnic background? Where are your ancestors/is your family from?”
Don’t ask “Where are you from?” but it’s OK to ask “Where is your family from?” My parents (I’m sorry, my “grown-ups”) are from Chicago. I’m not. I’m from Maryland.
All this wokeness in the name of “inclusivity” and combatting “privilege”:
Privilege is best understood as the system of advantages that one has. These advantages are sometimes at the expense of another group, often due to historical discrimination. Some privileges are earned, such as achieving a masters degree, but some are unearned, such as being born with light colored skin or being born male. Historically, the unearned privilege of whiteness and maleness allowed some to enter universities to earn their education, so an unearned privilege helped facilitate getting an earned privilege.
In terms of race and skin color, white people have unearned privileges in many instances such as being preferred home buyers, being perceived as trustworthy by the police, or being able to see people who share their heritage in history books and in the media. The system that maintains that privilege and power for white people is called white supremacy.
And that lesson — that if you’re white you and your family have benefitted from white supremacy — costs $57,000 a year. Seriously.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a reference to the head of Grace Church School pushing back on the idea the guidelines are mandatory.