A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that:

Stanford University administrators in May published an index of forbidden words to be eliminated from the school’s websites and computer code, and provided inclusive replacements to help re-educate the benighted.

Actually, exploring the list is intellectually painful. While I’m all in favor of avoiding the use of genuinely offensive terms, Stanford’s list assumes extreme fragility on behalf of pretty much everyone. I find this assumption insulting, but perhaps I’m not adequately representative of, or in touch with, public opinion.

In light of these debates about what we can and cannot say these days, the New York Times has a piece trying to figure out how people feel about it all.

According to Pew, a majority of Americans believe there isn’t any agreement on what language is considered sexist or racist of late, with the boundaries seemingly ever shifting.

It’s something we’ve all experienced, perhaps more so over the holidays — a neighbor uses a word that makes you cringe, or a niece gives you an elbow and a disapproving look. You might find yourself wondering: Can I use that word? Am I not supposed to say that anymore? Where is the rulebook?

The Times article includes the result of a poll that looks at how people feel about a series of words.

To find out, we enlisted the help of the polling firm Morning Consult to survey a representative sample of over 4,000 Americans. We asked about some words for which we believe the rules are still unsettled, as well as how our respondents identified along the political, socioeconomic and generational spectrum.

You can also take the quiz to see where you fit compared to these 4,000 people polled by Morning Consult.

Below are the overall results produced by the poll. Interestingly, we can see that most (sometimes even an overwhelming majority of) people polled aren’t as uncomfortable with some of the words that many progressives believe should not be used. In addition, many of the words these same progressives would like us to adopt instead aren’t resonating with people. Now this could change overtime. Time will tell but until then we can only speculate that either Stanford is ahead of its time, or it is widely out of touch with the American people.


Veronique de Rugy is a Senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and syndicated columnist at Creators.