Pinned for its guide to “inclusive” language, a New York school denounces a “cultural war”

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Pinned down for having called on his students, parents and staff to avoid gendered terms such as “mom and dad” or “nanny”, the director of a private Manhattan school vigorously defended himself on Friday, a new episode in the cultural war that rabies in the United States.

Fueled by political polarization, these debates have also fueled the recent controversy surrounding the withdrawal of some books by the very popular children’s author Dr Seuss, accused of conveying racial stereotypes.

This time, it was an “inclusive language guide” issued by Grace Church School, an episcopal school in the East Village neighborhood, which reignited the controversy.

According to this guide, released by the establishment in the fall according to the director, but published by the media only on Thursday, we must try to avoid words that potentially constitute “hurtful assumptions” by more “inclusive” terms. .

The 12-page guide discusses the many language issues of the day – whether it’s gender, family composition, sexual orientation, or racism and microaggressions.

In particular, he lists some common terms, such as “boys and girls”, “ladies and gentlemen”, asking to use gender-neutral terms like “people, friends”, etc. instead.

When it comes to talking about families, the guide calls for avoiding talking about “mom and dad”, “parents” or “nanny” and instead speak of “adults” or “guardians”.

The guide also calls for people who introduce themselves in class to use the pronouns they want to use to speak about themselves.

More and more Americans who call themselves “progressives” are claiming their right to choose which pronoun they wish to be referred to, regardless of their birth sex, “he”, “she” or the neutral pronoun “they”.

Media coverage of the guide – fueled by a debate Thursday night hosted by Fox News pro-Trump presenter Sean Hannity – placed the school “in the” eye of the cultural war hurricane, “the director admitted on Friday. of the school, George Davison, in a post on the school’s website.

Assuring that he did not want to “ban any words”, he felt that he had the responsibility to “give the members of (our) community the resources allowing them to make informed and generous choices”.

“The spirit of this guide is to give us all words that bring us together”, he assured, adding “to fully assume” his decision.

Founded in 1894, Grace Church School has some 770 students ranging from the end of kindergarten to the last year of high school.