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Quangos blackball ... oops, sorry ... veto ‘racist’ everyday phrases

Posted by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 11:52 PM
  • 7 Replies

It could be construed as a black day for the English language — but not if you work in the public sector.

Dozens of quangos and taxpayer-funded organisations have ordered a purge of common words and phrases so as not to cause offence.

Among the everyday sayings that have been quietly dropped in a bid to stamp out racism and sexism are “whiter than white”, “gentleman’s agreement”, “black mark” and “right-hand man”.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has advised staff to replace the phrase “black day” with “miserable day”, according to documents released under freedom of information rules.

It points out that certain words carry with them a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”. The commission even urges employees to be mindful of the term “ethnic minority” because it can imply “something smaller and less important”.

The National Gallery in London believes that the phrase “gentleman’s agreement” is potentially offensive to women and suggests that staff should replace it with “unwritten agreement” or “an agreement based on trust” instead. The term “right-hand man” is also considered taboo by the gallery, with “second in command” being deemed more suitable.

Many institutions have urged their workforce to be mindful of “gender bias” in language. The Learning and Skills Council wants staff to “perfect” their brief rather than “master” it, while the Newcastle University has singled out the phrase “master bedroom” as being problematic.

Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency states: “Terms such as ‘black sheep of the family’, ‘black looks’ and ‘black mark’ have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black. Equally, certain terms imply a negative image of ‘black’ by reinforcing the positive aspects of white.

“For example, in the context of being above suspicion, the phrase ‘whiter than white’ is often used. Purer than pure or cleaner than clean are alternatives which do not infer that anything other than white should be regarded with suspicion.”

The clampdown in the public sector has angered some of the country’s most popular writers.

Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider children’s spy books, said: “A great deal of our modern language is based on traditions which have now gone but it would be silly — and extremely inconvenient — to replace them all. A ‘white collar worker’, for example, probably doesn’t wear one. An ‘able seaman’, under new regulations, could well be neither. ‘Spanish practices’ can happen all over Europe. We know what these phrases mean and we can find out from where they were derived. Banning them is just unnecessary.”

Marie Clair, spokeswoman for the Plain English Campaign, said: “Political correctness has good intentions but things can be taken to an extreme. What is really needed is a bit of common sense.”

LINK

Thoughts?

by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 11:52 PM
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Replies (1-7):
aidans_mama
by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 11:58 PM

well, shit......

that's all i got for now.

PerseyG
by Silver Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 11:59 PM

*facepalm*

I guess White House/Black Market better change it's name too. Which is sad because the name perfectly describes it's clothing line in a non-pretentious way.

Well, following in line with this organizations goal, as a peach-colored person, I demand that the phrase "peachy keen" never be used in a sarcastic or negative tone.

stormcris
by Christy on Aug. 26, 2009 at 12:00 AM

LOL that is awesome.

Quoting PerseyG:

*facepalm*

I guess White House/Black Market better change it's name too. Which is sad because the name perfectly describes it's clothing line in a non-pretentious way.

Well, following in line with this organizations goal, as a peach-colored person, I demand that the phrase "peachy keen" never be used in a sarcastic or negative tone.


tericared
by on Aug. 26, 2009 at 12:32 AM


Quoting aidans_mama:

well, shit......

that's all i got for now.


with that Prince siggy thats all you need..lol

mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Aug. 26, 2009 at 1:14 AM

 ugh, now this is the kinda crap that takes away from real issues. just crap, ridiculous. you know I don't think anyone that is a minority came up with this ... really. i think this is more oversensitive whites that minories ...

But I'm not Irish but who knows. But I wonder if the banning black thing has to do more with "black Irish" ? I dunno could be off.

christan723
by Member on Aug. 26, 2009 at 1:19 PM

how much pot have they been smoking?slap

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 26, 2009 at 1:30 PM


Quoting mommajen32:

 ugh, now this is the kinda crap that takes away from real issues. just crap, ridiculous. you know I don't think anyone that is a minority came up with this ... really. i think this is more oversensitive whites that minories ...

But I'm not Irish but who knows. But I wonder if the banning black thing has to do more with "black Irish" ? I dunno could be off.

Black Irish is a traditional term that is commonly used among Irish American communities to describe a dark brown or black hair phenotype appearing in Caucasian people of Irish descent.

Why be upset about that?

Oh another question- doesn't a 'black day' in business mean a good day? Like Black Friday after Thanksgiving? Because they make alot of profits that day and are in the black as opposed to in the red for the day? Just asking.

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