Students at a university in the US have been told they will be marked down if they use the term "illegal immigrants" when speaking about migrants, while white students have been told they are expected to "defer" to classmates of colour.
Professors at Washington State University have told their students they even risk failing their class if they use the |oppressive and hateful language".
According to the syllabus for Selena Lester Breikss' 'Women and Popular Culture' class: "Gross generalizations, stereotypes, and derogatory/oppressive language are not acceptable.
"Use of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, or generally offensive language in class or
submission of such material will not be tolerated. (This includes “The Man,” “Colored People,” “Illegals/Illegal Aliens,” “Tranny” and so on - or referring to women/men as females or males) If I see it or hear it, I will correct it in class since it can be a learning moment for many students.
"Repeated use of oppressive and hateful language will be handled accordingly – including but not limited to removal from the class without attendance or participation points, failure of the assignment, and - in extreme cases - failure for the semester."
Lester Breikss is not the only professor to introduce the penalties, however. As Campus Reform points out, Rebecca Fowler, who runs the Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies course, reminds her students: "I will condone absolutely NO racist, homophobic, or sexist language or behavior. I encourage you to cultivate an atmosphere that is conducive to healthy dialogue and debate."
"A Note on [In]appropriate Terminology: Don’t use it.
• Not “colored” person/s/people but “people of color.”
• Not “the white man” but “white men,” “white males,” or “white society”
• Not “illegal alien” or “illegals” but “undocumented” migrants/immigrants/persons. Note that the Associated Press (AP) has determined not to use it: ‘The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.’
• If you use the above terms in your writing, your grade will suffer a deduction of one point
Meanwhile white students in John Streamas' 'Introduction to Multicultural Literature' class, are expected to "defer" to non-white students.
The professor tells his students: "Reflect your grasp of history and social relations by respecting shy and quiet classmates,
and by deferring to the experiences of people of color."
He then tells students they should question themselves if they do not feel angry while they are studying.
"Finally, understand and consider the rage of people who are victims of systematic injustice. James Baldwin wrote that people of color have an obligation to feel rage over this nation’s history of racism. If injustice does not fill you with rage, then perhaps you should ask yourself why."