Can’t we all just get along? Turns out we gotta start adjusting our vocab for the Native American homies because one of the terms we’ve been using for ages is actually pretty offensive in it’s origins when it comes to their ancestral peeps!
Political correctness has just claimed another victim – saying ‘hold the fort’ has now been deemed offensive to Native Americans
That is the view of the U.S. State Department’s Chief Diversity Officer John Robinson, who has penned a column explaining why that phrase and many others can cause offensive – offering advice on how citizens can watch what they say.
Explaining that ‘hold the fort’ derives from defending homesteads and seeking refuge from raging Native American’s in the 19th century, Robinson advises his readers in State Magazine to be aware that the phrase is now negative and racist.
How many times have you or a colleague asked if someone could ‘hold down the fort?’ wrote Robinson.
‘You were likely asking someone to watch the office while you go and do something else, but the phrase’s historical connotation to some is negative and racially offensive.
‘To ‘hold down the fort’ originally meant to watch and protect against the vicious Native American intruders.
‘In the territories of the West, Army soldiers or settlers saw the ‘fort’ as their refuge from their perceived ‘enemy,’ the stereotypical ‘savage’ Native American tribes.’
The common phrase that signals trust to care for someone or something has two competing claims for its etymology
The first is that during the Battle of Allatoona in the Civil War, General William Sherman ordered Union forces to ‘hold the fort’ and wait for relief. General Sherman denied he said this, although the myth persisted.
The second and most likely source of the quotation is from a hymn entitled ‘Hold the Fort’ by Chicago evangelist Philip P. Bliss who lived and produced his work also during the Civil War
Also on the vocabulary chopping block is the term “going Dutch.” Instead of a fair way of dividing the restaurant bill among friends, the top diversity officer in the country has deemed the phrase as a ‘negative stereotype portraying the Dutch as cheap.’
And instead of referring to a non-exact average ‘rule of thumb’ is offensive to women all across the world.
This is because the phrase derives from ‘an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband’s thumb was the legal size of a switch of rod allowed to beat his wife,’ wrote Robinson.
‘If her bruises were not larger than the width of his thumb, the husband could not be brought to court to answer for his behavior because he had not violated the ‘rule of thumb’.
Drawing attention to this, Robinson hopes that everyone, men and women think before they say this popular phrase.
Moving on to those with disabilities, Robinson urges caution over the word ‘handicap’.
This is because some in the disabled community, ‘believe this term is rooted in a coorelation between a disabled individual and a beggar, who had to beg with a cap in his or her hand because of the inability to maintain employment.’
Sparking this all off, Robinson recalls the debacle of Nike’s apology over rolling out a pair of sneakers around St. Patrick’s Day called ‘Black and Tan
The ‘Black and Tans’ in Irish history are a notorious paramilitary group made up of British veterans of World War 1 who committed atrocities against Irish civilians in the 1920s.
‘Choose your words thoughtfully,’ wrote Robinson wrote.
‘Now that you know the possible historical context of the above phrases, perhaps you will understand why someone could be offended by their use. Let us agree that language will continue to evolve with continually improving consciousness and respect for others.’
If you don’t know now ya know baby baby!