Brandeis University considers 'picnic' to be oppressive language

Whitewash and white-knight are also negative terms. These are just common language idioms that have no race related connotations. Unless people insist on giving them one.

Anyone ever tell you how English ended up with so many French loan-words?

I think putting the PARC folks in the league of “cultural elite” is giving them far more credibility and credit than they deserve. They’re a punchline for including the word “picnic”, among other silly terms. I think we run the risk of giving them legitimacy when we elevate them above being mere cultural rebels without a clue. Point. Laugh. Move on.

Don’t worry, this scary, scary tiny group of strangers isn’t going to hurt you, no matter how much right wing media pumps up their importance.

But the “white” in whitewash and white knight are positive parts of a negative phrase. They indicate that the goal was to be or appear metaphorically more pure or noble, but failing due to being fake or ostentatious yet useless.

I actually do think that using the terms “black” and “white” for good and bad things can lead to unconscious bias. But the solution isn’t to stop using that language, the solution is to stop using them as racial descriptors because not only do they have this metaphorical baggage, they also have baggage of their own as racial descriptors, and are scientifically inaccurate descriptions of peoples’ skin tone.

That was the laudable goal behind the failed attempt to use “African American” instead of “Black”. I don’t actually know a good alternative term to use, since “Black” seems to have a consensus from African-Americans, and is slightly more accurate because while it does incorrectly refer to a skin color, Caribbean-Americans and recently arrived immigrants from Africa are not African-American but are still treated as “Black” by a lot of society.

However, “European-American” is more clearly a better term than “white”. It more precisely describes who is treated as “white” currently in America, because while America does not treat other Caucasian and Caucasian-adjacent people as poorly as Black people, there are still a lot of stereotypes about middle-eastern and Indian people around, not to mention anti-Latin American bias. It has edge cases but not as many. And it has the benefit of not using the historical metaphor of “white = good”, and is less scientifically inaccurate.

Whenever I hear the term “white” used in a racial context it feels like a big strawman since the term “white” is used for positive things. It feels like people are saying “I dub thee white, and therefore, since I consider you white, you must consider yourself white as well, and since you consider yourself white, you must think yourself superior since “white” has a historical connotation of “good” both racially and non-racially”.

I actually think that calling people “white” and “black” does cement unintentional bias. But the solution is to ditch the racial terms, not to ditch centuries of entrenched metaphor. It wouldn’t be that hard to do since the last 2 decades have shown that people – at least the people who care about equitable language – aren’t averse to adopting new terms for people.


Please dial back the hostility and remember you’re in IMHO. Also, attack the post and not the poster.

Not a warning.

You should write BLM and explain this to them. Let us know how that goes.

There’s also Black Friday, which might be related to the financial one.

I think “this means we must cut down all trees!” Is a moronic argument, so I called it out.

That one’s in a gray area. (See what I did there?) I have heard stories that the term originated among businesses to indicate that the sales would put the yearly financial figures “in the black”. But the term has now gone past being a business insider term and is used by the general public in a different sense.

I feel the term evolved because while people like the sales, they hate the crowds and the stress. Shopping on Black Friday isn’t seen as something fun to do; it’s more like something unpleasant you do in order to achieve a desired goal. Like going to the dentist. And in that sense, I feel the term has generally negative connotations.

Reported for maligning us old folks.

You mean the American shopping riot that happens the day after Thanksgiving? That’s not meant as a positive usage:

It was a reference to the tradition of calling a catastrophe that falls on a Friday “Black Friday.

This is a fairly old urban myth, actually, that I’ve seen repeated for at least 25, 30 years. A popular version is that “picnic” comes from “pickaninny.” (It does not.)

This “black” stuff is evidently ancient, and pre-dates the English language:

" Do you think if a venomous tooth attacks me

I’ll cry, un-avenged, like a child? "

IOW the “black” tooth is malevolent, malicious, virulent

I’m one of you. I’m allowed to say it.

I’d only heard of it as a day (or week) when loads of companies have sales on. They’ve started holding it in the UK too in the last couple of years, and for all I know all around the world.

If they do, I’m sure Tucker Hannity will be primarybating about the potential for arglebargling about it.


They could rename them first degree, second degree, and third degree.

Alternatively, they could just leave things alone.