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College Handbook Says Words Like "Rich" And "American" Are Offensive

The guide suggests replacing the word "rich" with "person of material wealth" and "poor" with "low economic status related to a person's education, occupation and income."

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A "bias-free language guide" from the University of New Hampshire has been making the rounds for being extremely politically correct, encouraging students to replace "problematic" words like "American" with "resident of the U.S."

The term "American," the guide says, is offensive because it doesn't recognize South America.

The handbook was written by students and staff in 2013, but was unearthed this week by the site Campus Reform.


Instead of the word homosexual, students were encouraged to say "same-gender loving," and instead of calling someone "rich," they were told to describe them as a "person of material wealth."

Other substitutions include "Western Asians" instead of the word "Arabs," "people of size" instead of "obese," and "international people" instead of foreigners. Instead of saying "guys" to refer to a group, people should instead say "y'all," it says.

The guide also suggests replacing the word "poor" with "low economic status related to a person's education, occupation and income." "Senior citizens" should be instead called "people of advanced age," though the guide does note that some have "reclaimed" the phrase "old people."

The AP reported that the guide appeared on a UNH website as a resource "detailing the university's efforts to create an inclusive, diverse and equitable community."

The handbook was supposedly meant to kick-off dialogue about potentially problematic words that are commonly used.

UNH's president, Mark Huddleston, said he was offended by the PC-ness of the guide, which a school spokesperson said they were unaware of until this week, and that it's not campus policy.

"I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term 'American' is misplaced or offensive," Huddleston told the AP.

"The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses. It is ironic that what was probably a well-meaning effort to be 'sensitive' proves offensive to many people, myself included."

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Rachel Zarrell at

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