Oppressive Language List

The Oppressive Language List was developed, created, and continues to be managed by students involved with PARC. Suggestions are brought forth by students who have been impacted by violence and students who have sought out advanced training for intervening in potentially violent situations.

This list is meant to be a tool to share information and suggestions about potentially oppressive language. Use of the suggested alternatives is not a university expectation, requirement or reflection of policy. As shared in Brandeis University's Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression, the language you choose to use or not use is entirely up to you.

PARC recognizes that language is a powerful tool that can be used to perpetrate and perpetuate oppression. As a community, we can strive to remove language that may hurt those who have experienced violence from our everyday use. Currently we have our list sorted into five categories: 

Violent Language

Identity-Based Language

Language That Doesn't Say What We Mean

Culturally Appropriative Language


This list will grow and change all the time; we encourage you to share additional suggestions with us by completing this short form:

Form to Submit a Suggestion for the Oppressive Language List