University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Illinois Street Residence Hall has a bulletin board that lists a number of “dumb” things that “well-intentioned” people say that are supposedly offensive to minorities, Campus Reform reports.
Some of the phrases that the bulletin board lists as “dumb” include “if you’re going to live in the country, learn to speak the language,” “where are you from from?,” “when I said the same thing to other people like you, they didn’t seem to mind,” “some of my best friends are [insert identity here],” “you speak the language well,” and of course, “I don’t see color. I’m colorblind.”
The bulletin board gives explanations as to why each one of these “dumb” phrases is so offensive.
For instance,”some of my best friends are” is offensive because it implies that “just because you know somebody that is Korean or Philipino doesn’t mean you know what it’s like to be Korean or Filipino.”
The bulletin board suggests that instead of saying “some of my best friends are,” to not to mention their ethnicity at all.
Likewise, saying “you speak the language well” is apparently a form of racial profiling.
All the information the bulletin board is using comes from a book called “35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen The Diversity Gap” by Dr. Maura Cullen.
According to her website, Cullen is known as “The Diversity Speaker.” She has written articles like “Should White People Serve As Chief Diversity Officers?” and “Trump And His Menacing Band Of Misfits.” In an article titled “Should Diversity Officer Be Fired For Signing An Anti-Gay Petition?,” Cullen argues that a diversity officer should be fired if she signs a petition against gay marriage because it creates an “an unsafe and chilly climate for GLBTQ students and their allies.”
Kirsten Ruby, the Associate Director of Housing and Communication, told The Daily Caller that the bulletin board was put together by a student. She defended the bulletin board and recommended TheDC read Cullen’s book for more context.
“It’s about educating students about inclusiveness,” Ruby said. “The way language is perceived is not always the way language is intended.”