University ‘woke’ task force says words like ‘picnic’ and ‘brown bag’ are offensive, must be canceled


The following article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

ANN ARBOR, MI- Have you ever heard of a “Words Matter Task Force?” Well you have now.

The IT department at the University of Michigan has, and have now issued a list of words, phrases and terms which are now deemed to be “offensive” and which should require the use of alternative terms, Fox News and other outlets are reporting.

Among the words or terms considered offensive? Picnic and brown bag…seriously.


According to this task force, which clearly has way too much time on its hands, the list was established in order to “more effectively communicate with customers” by using language that does not “harm morale” or “inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted to foment a healthy and inclusive culture.”

If you thought we were living in the Twilight Zone, you would be correct.

According to the task force, the use of inclusive language is “imperative to create a culture where everyone feels welcome, valued and respected.”

The task force suggested the use of alternative terms for “men” or “man,” instead suggesting more generic terms such as “people” or “person.”

However, they were really put off by the terms “picnic” and “brown bag.” It is honestly getting to the point where one might be better off just speaking in sign language in order to not offend someone, so absurd is all of this becoming.


In place of “brown bag,” the task force suggested the term “lunch and learn” and “gathering” for the word “picnic.”

Other than the use of the color “brown” which is apparently now offensive if used for anything other than to describe a person of color, it is not known why the term “brown bag” is considered offensive.

Apparently some triggered individuals seemed to think the word “picnic” had somehow gotten its origins in lynching of African Americans, according to some social media language “experts.”

How that specifically tied into our common connotation of picnic, that being bringing a lunch or meal and eating it on a blanket on the grass is unknown.

According to Reuters, the term “picnic” was derived from the 17th-century French word “pique-nique” which was used to describe social gathering sin which those attending would bring food or other items.

Reuters concluded that the origins of the word “picnic” have nothing to do with racially motivated killings. However, it apparently makes the moonbats at the University of Michigan feel good.

Another word the University of Michigan IT department unilaterally found offensive was the term “blacklist,” according to National File. We aren’t sure if they’ve gotten to the whole “Black Friday” thing, but one can imagine in the age of sensitivity that one isn’t long for the lexicon either.

In a memorandum, the “task force” said, “To effectively communicate with its customers, it is important for ITS to evaluate the terms and language conventions that may hinder effective communication, harm morale, and deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted and foment a healthy and inclusive culture.”

Other terms put up to be canceled with their preferred “alternative term” are:

  • Off the reservation- outside the norms, rogue, break with the group, off on your own;
  • Preferred pronouns- pronouns;
  • Privileged account- elevated account;
  • Sanity check- quick check, confidence check, coherence check
  • Sold down the river- betrayed, thrown under the bus (although that might be offensive to bus drivers)
  • Dummy- sample
  • Crippled- weakened
  • Crazy- unthinkable
  • Low hanging fruit- no alternatives given.

However one nutjob college professor said, “For African-Americans, if you say ‘low-hanging fruit’ we think lynching.”

That genius bit of logic is attributed to Mae Hicks-Jones, an adjunct faculty member of Elgin Community College in Illinois.

Not to be outdone by her own convoluted thinking, Hicks-Jones also claims the word “grandfathered” is a racist term. As a grandfather, I dispute that assertion.

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However for this college professor who apparently views the world through a racist-colored lens, she claims the term is reminiscent of the term “grandfather clause,” which she asserts is connected to “privileged white people’s right to vote over that of blacks during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Below is a more inclusive list of the “offensive” words and terms:

University 'woke' task force says words like 'picnic' and 'brown bag' are offensive, must be canceled
“Words Matter” task force “bad” words/terms list; photo University of Michigan

On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, author Mark Steyn slammed the list issued by the university, while specifically singling out their condemnation of the word “picnic.”


“This is one of those internet rumors unconnected to anything in reality.”

Steyn then noted the origins of the word, and said the word was “easily translatable” from language to language.

In addressing the term “off the reservation,” Steyn said:

“You’re just making yourself more moronic and more parochial, moving yourself on to the linguistic reservation.”

Steyn compared the banning of words to the works of dystopian literature, and singled out the George Orwell book “1984,” in which thought was outlawed.

“If you lack the word to express a thought, in the end you can’t think a thought.”

He continued to blast the University of Michigan.

“You don’t go to a university to shrink your vocabulary. Pull your kids out of this school folks, this isn’t a  school anymore,” Steyn said.

He then compared censorship of language to the rioting in the streets.

“If you lack the vocabulary to hold a debate, it’s easier to just lob a piece of concrete through a store window,” Steyn finished.

The university issued a statement to The College Fix about the list, saying:

“This ongoing work around language is part of the ITS effort to create a workplace that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

“As a unit that is part of a world-class educational institution, it’s important to make sure all members of the ITS team understand the impact of language.

“This effort remains a work in progress, but it’s important to remember this is an educational effort about language that will allow the ITS team to better serve the entire university community.”

We wonder what probably the most famous University of Michigan graduate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady thinks about this absurdity.

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