Things To Reconsider

  • Lynch mob. Do you really want to use a phrase that describes the crowd that witnessed, encouraged, and got glee from Black people being hung?
  • Pow-wow. You can say that you want to have a meeting. You can. I know you can.
  • The following can be found in this link here
    • Paddy-wagon
    • Gypsy, gipped, gypped
    • uppity
    • No can do
    • Long time, no see
  • Spirit animal. This is sacred for people. Use “patronus”. Harry Potter didn’t go through hell (Hogwarts was in the worst school district ever!) for you to not be able to use “patronus”.
  • Off the reservation. Ooh, a two-fer. Not only does it mock and appropriate Indigenous culture, but it also mocks people with mental illness.
  • R*tarded. I don’t even like typing it out or looking at the full word. Again, all of us do not have the same capabilities, so let’s be mindful of that. Also, as affiknitty pointed out, it’s not a medical term. Nope.
  • ______nazi, as in “grammar nazi”. No one wants to be compared to an actual Nazi. If you do, then…..well, damn.
  • Indian giver.
  • Oriental. This is for inanimate objects, not people. Think rugs, fabric, lamps, soup. Please correct me if I’m wrong, or if that’s not even a proper context anymore.
  • Biploar, OCD, psycho, etc. If you do not have any of these mental disorders, do not use them in the context. You like to clean? Cool, but that’s completely different than someone with OCD needing to do things a certain number of times or in a certain manner. I have ADD, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. Real talk? Y’all are catching me in a REAL GOOD groove. Shout-outs to the (sometimes) benefits of hyperfocusing!
  • Slave driver, sold up the river,skin off one’s back. What is it with people wanting to compare things to slavery?!? Slavery was not okay, and before you start in with “Irish slaves”, indentured servants were treated horribly, but it’s not the same as chattel slavery.
  • Deadnaming. Calling a transgender person by their former name instead of their preferred (and sometimes legal) name is disrespectful and dismissive of the person they are. Edited to say that it’s their name. Full stop. Not “preferred”; it’s their name.
    • People do this with religion, too. Someone converts to Islam and they keep calling them by their old name. You might remember the scene from Coming To America. “His momma named him Clay, Imma call him Clay!” — Eddie Murphy’s barber character talking about calling Muhammad Ali by his former name, Cassius Clay.
    • My mom has a cousin who converted and she still has trouble sometimes calling him by his old name. I’m like, “MOM!”
  • They is an acceptable pronoun for a singular person when in doubt. If a person has a set of pronouns they’d like used, respect that.
  • Don’t assume everyone’s first language is English. I had it in my head that a great project would be to correct misspellings I see on the internet. Misplaced apostrophe’s (see what I did there?), incorrect homophones, and a missing oxford comma would be a few of the things I’d reply to with the correct iteration in someone’s comments section. Liz reminded me that some people are learning English, and just need practice. Sometimes people will post that it’s not their first language and welcome assistance. Just gauge the situation.
  • Disabled. “Differently abled” can be easily swapped in for that term. (If I’m wrong, let me know!) stephGPhillips pointed out, “Anytime we speak to or about a ‘disabled person’ rather than an individual with a disability is wrong.”
  • Peanut gallery. Racist and classist, another two-fer!

If you couldn’t tell, I had some help putting this list together. (Thankfully!) I had to think about some of these terms since I don’t/try not to use them ever.
I almost didn’t post this and offer explanations. “Why should I have to explain this to people? They can just go Google it!” How can you Google something you are not even aware is offensive?

We all (people in IG comments) helped put this together and I’m compiling it for some sort of reference. Feel more than free to share, and add in the comments below!

We’re moving into the phase of acknowledging, redirecting, and teaching each other. We got this. We can do this.


  1. As someone whose(?) first language is not English, i didn’t even know most of these terms, so i did have to google it. They are horrid and hurtfull 😦 and i’ll never use them, so thank you for the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jerry Rigged is another one for this list. I grew up with parents who used all of these terms So it is completely possible to BREAK the freaking chain. Choices, people. It means respecting others!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so helpful. Many of these are long gone from my speech or weren’t there to begin with. But 100% admit that there are a couple I have never even considered the possibility of being problematic. And now that I see it in writing, it’s so freaking obvious. A little embarrassed but now I know better and will do better.

    Also, thank you for the gift you’re giving all of us. Your hyper focus is likely burden to you at times and you’re using it to educate and that incredibly generous of you.


  4. I didn’t know the background of the word uppity, I’d mostly seen/heard it used in old novels referring to young women who didn’t “know their place” (also offensive!) But the one time someone used it directed at me felt very hurtful. I’ll avoid for all these reasons!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Can we add “getting raped” or “bending over” when taking a bad deal? Like sorry that you ended up buying something that later went on sale, but let’s not pretend that the experience of paying too much or getting a bad deal is anything like sexual assault.


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