Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Snowmen, huts, yachts banned from textbooks by language police
You won't see any references to bookworms, busybodies, craftsmanship, cults, dialects, dogma, extremists, fairies, heroines, huts, jungles, lumberjacks, limping, Navajos, one-man bands, slaves, snowmen, straw men, or yachts in today's textbooks. That's because these terms are among the hundreds that turn up in lists of banned words and phrases, lists now widely used by writers, editors, and illustrators when preparing textbooks or tests. They've all been banished as sexist, ethnocentric, offensive to the
handicapped, inauthentic, elitist or otherwise troublesome. The Atlantic Monthly has published a short glossary of banned words compiled by Diane Ravitch; the list is an abridgement of a longer list that will appear in her new book, The Language Police, to be published in April by Knopf.
"The Language Police," by Diane Ravitch, The Atlantic Monthly, March 2003 (not available online)