Oxfam, an international confederation of charitable organizations, has come under fire for releasing a 92-page “inclusive language” guide, which includes a long list of English words and phrases now considered offensive. The document seeks to address the “Anglo supremacy of the sector as part of its coloniality” by avoiding words such as “headquarters,” “local,” “people,” “field trip,” “mother” and even “feminine hygiene.”
The guide outlines why certain terms should be avoided in order to avoid reinforcing “colonial attitudes,” with some examples including the word “headquarters,” which the document claims implies “a colonial power dynamic,” and “field trip,” which it considers a phrase that reinforces colonial thinking. These recommendations have been met with criticism from many who find the language guide too restrictive and believe that Oxfam should focus more on their core mission — fighting poverty and hunger.
This controversy has prompted debate about political correctness in language usage and whether or not Oxfam is going too far in attempting to promote inclusion.