The whole goal of language is to communicate, and there’s little point to removing any of it when it’s not actually causing harm. Colorado State University’s Inclusive Language Guide instructs students “to avoid” using the words “America” and “American,” because doing so “erases other cultures.”
“The Americas encompass a lot more than the United States,” the guide states. “There is South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean just to name a few of 42 countries in total.”
“That’s why the word ‘americano’ in Spanish can refer to anything on the American continent. Yet, when we talk about ‘Americans’ in the United States, we’re usually just referring to people from the United States. This erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”
The guide advises students to use the words “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” instead of “American.”
Some of the other words and phrases deemed not inclusive by the guide include the words “male” and “female” (because this “refers to biological sex and not gender,” and “we very rarely need to identify or know a person’s biological sex and more often are referring to gender”), “cake walk” (because it apparently has origins in “the racism of 19th century minstrel shows”), “freshman” (because it “excludes women and non-binary gender identities”), “Hispanic” (“because of its origins in colonialization and the implication that to be Hispanic or Latinx/Latine/Latino, one needs to be Spanish-speaking”), “hold down the fort” (because “the U.S. the historical connotation refers to guarding against Native American ‘intruders’ and feeds into the stereotype of ‘savages’”), “no can do” (because it was “originally a way to mock Chinese people”), “peanut gallery” (because it “names a section in theaters, usually the cheapest and worst, where many Black people sat during the era of Vaudeville”), “straight” (because it “implies that anyone LGBT is ‘crooked’ or not normal”), “food coma” (because it “directly alludes to the stereotype of laziness associated with African-Americans”), and “war” or “battle,” when used any way other than to describe a literal war or battle (because “they evoke very real tragedy that can be problematic for survivors of war or Veterans”).