We never realized the word "America" was so offensive.
Fortunately for us Colorado State University is here to set us straight.
Colorado State University claims that “American” is a non-inclusive word that should be avoided.
CSU's online Inclusive Language Guide, compiled by the school’s Inclusive Communications Task Force, lists certain words and phrases to avoid while providing replacements in an effort to help “communicators practice inclusive language and [help] everyone on [its] campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.” The school's Women and Gender Collaborative website directly links to the document.
CSU lists both “American” and “America” as non-inclusive words "to avoid," due to the fact that America encompasses more than just the U.S. By referring to the U.S. as America, the guide claims that one “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” The school suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.
The university additionally lists many gendered words and phrases to avoid. These include “male,” “female,” “ladies and gentlemen,” and “Mr./Mrs./Ms.”
“Male and female refers to biological sex and not gender,” says the guide. “In terms of communication methods (articles, social media, etc.), we very rarely need to identify or know a person’s biological sex and more often are referring to gender.”
“Straight” is another word to avoid, according to CSU. The guide explained that “when used to describe heterosexuals, the term straight implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal,” and says to use the word “heterosexual” instead.
“Normal person” was also listed as a phrase to avoid because it “implies that ‘other’ people… are not whole or regular people.” The guide offered no substitute word because it claimed that it is never appropriate to use the phrase to describe someone.
According to the list, the phrase “handicap parking” should also not be used because it can “minimize personhood” and offend disabled people. The guide recommends “accessible parking” as an alternative.
“War,” “cake walk,” “eenie meenie miney moe,” “Eskimo,” “freshman,” “hip hip hooray!”, “hold down the fort,” “starving,” and “policeman” were among other words and phrases deemed non-inclusive by CSU.