By Daily Mail
Freshmen at a Clark University orientation event have been told not to address other students with the phrase ‘you guys’ because it could be interpreted as excluding women.
Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, hired a chief diversity officer, Sheree Marlowe, who has directed students on how to avoid subtle insults known as ‘micro-aggressions’.
The trained lawyer who is ‘committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education’ recently told freshmen at Clark they should avoid asking a black student if he plays basketball.
They should also not badger an Asian student they don’t know for help with their math homework, The New York Times reports.
The term ‘micro-aggression’, coined by Columbia professor Derald Sue, refers to the ‘brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities’ that ‘communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of colour’.
One example of a ‘micro-aggression’, that Marlow presented to an audience of around 525 first-year students at Clark, was to imagine what it feels like to see their race or gender not represented on a ‘wall of fame’.
“On your first day of class, you enter the chemistry building and all of the pictures on the wall are scientists who are white and male.
“If you are a female, or you just don’t identify as a white male, that space automatically shows that you are not represented,” she said.
Clark University is not the only college trying to clamp down on racial tensions and sexism on campus.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has put together a programme to tackle such incidents after a racist letter was slipped under a black student’s door last year.
Earlier this month it emerged students at Rutgers University have been advised to use language that is ‘kind’ and ‘necessary’ and avoid offensive terms such as ‘retarded’ and ‘that’s so ghetto’ so that they don’t commit ‘micro-aggressions’.
A bulletin board, titled ‘Language Matters: Think’, has been put on display in at least one hall of residence on the campus, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, telling them to question whether their choice of words is ‘true’ and ‘helpful’.
Last year Professors at the University of California were urged not to use a number of ‘offensive’ phrases, such as describing America as a ‘melting pot’ or the ‘land of opportunity’.
The phrases were included on a list of ‘micro-aggressions’ faculty members have been advised not to use, fearing they could be deemed sexist or racist.
“There is only one race, the human race’ and ‘I believe the most qualified person should get the job,’ are also sound bites academics are not allowed to say, in the eyes of administrators.”