Be careful if you go on a picnic to the Seven Sisters...
From: Edward ThomasCollington Close, Eastbourne
A university in the USA has produced an Oppressive Language List, in an effort to make its campus more inclusive.
The phrases deemed best avoided by faculty members and students at Brandeis University, Massachusetts include ‘take a stab at’ and ‘take a shot at’ – to mean try – as these expressions needlessly use imagery of hurting someone.
Individual words best avoided include ‘picnic’, because picnics have been associated with lynchings in the States.
The word’s inclusion has mystified writer Joyce Carol Oates. She pointed out that the university suggests picnics might evoke lynchings, yet the word ‘lynchings’ itself has not been given the heave-ho.
Be that as it may, we should be on our guard.
We were told in the Herald on July 2 that the Seven Sisters now features in the top three of a guide revealing the most instagrammed – wait for it – picnic spots in the UK.
Be careful if you go up there with your sandwiches, flask of coffee and a rug.
The American language police could be lying in wait for you, or even their British counterparts who are usually none too far behind.