U of Michigan’s IT Department Told To Ban Word 'Picnic' Because It's 'Racist'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | December 21, 2020

In the downward race to see which tarnished Ivory Tower institution can achieve ripe, rotting, postmodernist perfection, the University of Michigan might have taken the lead.

Charles Hilu reports for The CollegeFix that the University of Michigan Information and Technology Services has established a (and this is not a joke) “Words Matter Task Force” -- because how else could people decide if they were offended by sounds or written words unless other people define what they should think is offensive?

Some people at U of M are simply blessed, and it’s their role to evaluate the world for others. That’s a very important thing to remember when choosing schools.

Writes Hilu: 

‘Crack the whip.’ ‘Master/slave.’ Even the term ‘picnic’ has been deemed offensive, according to a lengthy list of words and phrases put out recently by the University of Michigan’s Information and Technology Services’ ‘Words Matter Task Force.’

And isn’t it great to continually winnow-down the range of usable expressions in a university setting where students are supposed to be able to explore ideas? There were a couple writers who predicted this, and their names were Eric Arthur Blair -- aka George Orwell -- and Ray Bradbury; one wonders that they’d think of this “new normal.”

Even if one disregards the fact that “sensitivity” to certain terms is used as a weapon to demonize those who oppose the expansion of the state, if one trudges into the ever-expanding miasma of politically-correct censorship, the listing of such “verboten” terms is headache-inspiring.

It’s nonsensical to think that, since the term “crack the whip” could be seen as a reference to slavery, or to horse-drawn carriages or ranching, it should be eliminated. Likewise, the use of “master/slave” is a normative term in electronics and engineering of all kinds. If that’s insulting or opens wounds for people who oppose slavery around the world, then will the “Words Matter Task Force” recognize the slavery of taxation and list that as well? Slavery is not dead in the world, be it openly called slavery, or be it given a different name, like taxation, and the University of Michigan is the recipient of funds forcibly taken from people through precisely that latter means of enlsavement by the state.

Will the “ask force” issue proclamations about that?

Don’t hold your breath.

Other terms they find offensive include “black-and-white thinking" (which has nothing to do with race), “native” (which is a primary descriptor for something that is original or born), “dummy” (as in a physical dummy?), and of course, “picnic.”

And if this inspires for you enough head-scratching as to injure the scalp, you’re not alone. Hilu explains that the word “picnic” is on the mega-important list because the “task force” might have assumed it was - get this - associated with lynchings.

And that’s simply incorrect:

An internet search on the issue of the word ‘picnic’ being racist includes a Reuters article from July 2020 headlined: ‘Fact check: The word picnic does not originate from racist lynchings.’

And, even if it did, the lesson to be learned at University of Michigan is not that people can’t work with others to avoid insulting them or upsetting them, and that, likewise, folks might want to be a bit more lenient about what others innocently say, it’s that this “place of higher learning” has operating within it a “task force” that, even as it parades its members’ “sensitivity” to the legacy of oppression and slavery, exists in a system subsidized by forced labor. 

And they will not bother acknowledging it.

This infuses everything the group does with a patina of insufferable falsity and posing. But that’s that postmodernist leftism has been for decades.

So, at least these “task force members” are hewing to the line of the new “college tradition” to avoid reality as they virtue-signal.

Lesson learned. And that lesson is one many potential college students will remember, as they consider where they want to go to school.