Are You Racist? According to the U.S. State Department, You Might (Unintentionally) Be
The State Department is warning about some common phrases that could be offensive.
Phrases like “hold down the fort” and “rule of thumb” are potentially offensive. Here’s some of the reasoning, which is kind of nutty. Chief Diversity Officer John Robinson says “hold down the fort” is a potentially insulting reference to American Indian stereotypes.
He also cautions against the use of “Going Dutch.” He says that is a “negative stereotype portraying the Dutch as cheap.” Additionally, “rule of thumb” could be offensive to women. Why? Because it refers “to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband’s thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife.”
Robinson argues that we should stop using the word “handicap” because it has a correlation 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.