Federal Agency Discourages ‘Blacklist,’ ‘Male/Female,’ ‘Master/Slave’

The language police are at it again.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has decided that it needs to restrict language to fulfill its duty as the top federal science and technology office charged with staying ahead of — or at least keeping up with — China. Really.

NIST has put out a new guide telling federal employees they shouldn’t use the words “blacklist” or “whitelist.” Why? They carry racial connotations.

And workers should never use terms “that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.”

NIST’s “Inclusive Language Guidance” lays out to scientists what words and phrases or OK. The guide says:

Consider that biased terms, such as blacklist/whitelist, also may introduce comprehension issues.
 Avoid terms such as master/slave that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships.
Avoid identifying an individual’s gender unless necessary for comprehension, or using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.
Avoid descriptive terms that are condescending or reductive in favor of language that the groups being described would prefer.

Jennifer Huergo, a NIST spokesman, told The Center Square the guidance “was created primarily for the benefit of NIST staff experts who participate in the development of documentary standards as expert collaborators and leaders.”

“Use of inclusive language helps to avoid potential gaps in understanding that could arise from the use of colloquial or idiomatic expressions that are rooted in particular historical events or regional dialects,” she said.


The NIST guide follows another from the liberal language police. The ultra-woke are coming for more words and phrases like “jump the gun,” “roll with the punches,” and even “deadline,” claiming they’re just too “violent.”

For the record, the word “deadline” was first recorded in 1864 during the Civil War. As both sides captured prisoners of war, a “do not cross” line was traced around prisons, and guards were ordered to shoot anyone that might cross the “dead line.”

And by the way, “jump the gun” has nothing to do with violence. The term comes from sporting contests like foot races, delineating when a runner started too early or “jumped” the starting gun, The Daily Wire reported.

But never mind all that. The word cops have deemed them offensive and demand new softer terms be used. For instance, they say the phrase “kill two birds with one stone” — which originated in China in the 1600s — must be replaced with “feed two birds with one scone.”

The new guide, titled “Evolving From Violent Language,” was created by Anna Taylor, a communications director and “diversity, equity, and inclusion champion” at the technology company Phenomenex.

“The guide is for those who would like to replace mostly violently framed idioms with more positive and inclusive language,” Taylor told The Daily Mail.

The guide offers new acceptable phrases:

“I won’t avoid it any longer” for “I’ll bite the bullet.”

“We’re going to launch” for “we’re going to pull the trigger.”

“Can you send me an email?” for “can you shoot me an email?”

“That was a bit excessive” for “that was overkill.”

“Let’s not focus on that anymore” for “let’s not beat a dead horse.”

But wait. It’ll get dumber. On that, you can count on. The wokesters will never stop.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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