The University of Michigan IT department is releasing a memorandum from its staff, and the university “Words Matter Task Force”. Along with general recommendations about developing and archiving documents on the university server system, there are proposed recommendations about proper use or eliminating the use, of a number of words and phrases. Fox News has an interesting review of the ideas. One that seems to be catching the most attention is the recommendation to stop using the word “picnic” and replace that with “gathering”.

The media outlet College Fix reports there seem to be some claims about how the word picnic was used in connection with lynching black people. But that has been solidly debunked.  The Fix says the word is based on a French phrase referencing people gathering to eat and responsible for bringing something to pass around.

A phrase listed by the U of M panel that should not be used is “long time no see”. The claim is, it is offensive to Asians and Native Americans. But why seems to be a question.

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Words that present any kind of reference to the sexes are listed as incompatible with maintaining a comfortable working environment. Even use of the most basic, “girl” or “boy” are listed as inappropriate. While noted as a draft message, the U of M panel indicates the list of inappropriate words and phrases will be expanding over time.

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