University of California Considers These Terms 'Potentially Offensive'

UC professors are warned against using some innocuous phrases for the fear of offending minorities.

University of California

American love calling their country “the land of opportunity,” but maybe it's time to think twice because that can cause offense and leave some people feel discriminated against – at least that’s what the University of California’s new faculty training guide states. In fact, the newly published material dubs the term (and several others like it) to be a form of “micro-aggression.”

Sounds absurd? Well, it is.

Apparently, officials across the UC system are holding leadership seminars for the faculty where they discourage staff from using various innocuous terms, including “America is a melting pot” and “there is only one race, the human race” for the fear of offending minorities, or in some cases, women. They believe these phrases could be interpreted as discriminatory or racist.

“I don’t think University of California realizes how crazy it’s become,” Tim Groseclose, a former economics professor at George Mason University, told Fox News. “According to that document, Martin Luther King Jr. would be guilty of micro-aggressions.”

He also claims that professors are worried that they might accidentally say something that could be interpreted as offensive.

The sayings deemed unacceptable by the UC system include:

“I don’t believe in race” means you are “denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.”

“I believe the most qualified person should get the job” implies that “People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.”

“America is the land of opportunity” delivers the message that “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”

Asking an Asian, Latino or Native American “Why are you so quiet?” equals to giving the order “assimilate to dominant culture.”

“Gender plays no part in who we hire” means “The playing field is even so if women cannot make it, the problem is with them.”

“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough” implies “People of color need to work harder.”

These phrases apparently promote the “myth of meritocracy” or “that a white person does not want to or need to acknowledge race,” according to the handout titled “Tool: Recognizing Micro-aggressions and the Messages They Send.”

Meanwhile, University of California Office of the President spokeswoman Shelly Meron explained that they have not banned the words, and insisted the system was “committed to upholding, encouraging and preserving academic freedom and the free flow of ideas.”

Ironically, the University of California, Berkeley, is the place where the free speech movement was born some 50 years ago, and although some of the statements included can offend someone, it raises an important question: How can students and professors have an intellectual discussion about anything without being branded racist, since most of the terms included in the material are so widely used, they are considered the part of everyday jargon?

Read: Problems Of Whiteness' Course Puts University Racists In The Cross Hairs