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Yet Another Federal Agency Goes Woke: NIST Offers “Inclusive Language Guidance”

Yet Another Federal Agency Goes Woke: NIST Offers “Inclusive Language Guidance”

Many scientists are now raising the alarm about the rising politicization of research as the ideological capture of our scientific institutions accelerates.

Back in 2021, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal and science technology office, issued guidance for using “inclusive language” in its documentation standards.

Keep in mind, the NIST is the federal agency withing the Department of Commerce whose stated mission is to promote American innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Let’s see how the guidance will actually achieve this.

Some of the guidelines are fair and reasonable. For example, it’s hard to argue that removing “colloquialisms that are exclusive or usually not well understood by all (e.g., ‘drink the Kool-Aid’)” in scientific and technological discussions is fair and reasonable.

However, in its quest to be “inclusive” the document forces people to take on the role of psychologist and/or mind-reader. The guidance notes that the documents should “conveys respect to those who listen or read” and “enables all to feel included in the topic discussed.”

I would assert that if the NIST was going to truly promote American competitiveness, the focus wouldn’t been on generated emotions but on data, numbers, and precision.

The suggestions offered have the potential to stifle communications. These recommendations come from the NIST website:

  • Consider that biased terms, such as blacklist/whitelist, also may introduce comprehension issues.
  • Avoid terms such as master/slave that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships.
  • Avoid identifying an individual’s gender unless necessary for comprehension, or using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.

And don’t dare consider terms that come from history or the military!

[Avoid] terms which may carry unconscious racial bias or terms associated with military actions, politics, or historical events (e.g., use ‘stop responding’ instead of ‘hang’, and use ‘perimeter network’ instead of ‘demilitarized zone’).

The attention that the Pentagon has received for woke policies that are hindering military readiness and national security have now brought fresh eyes onto the NIST guidance. The policies that were rapidly introduced when Biden took office are drawing much deserved criticism.

Many scientists are now raising the alarm about the rising politicization of research as the ideological capture of our scientific institutions accelerates.

“Where most people might regard the sciences as somehow immune from politics, in fact it has taken over the sciences thoroughly, and in so doing, has corrupted the sciences thoroughly,” Scott Turner, who works with the National Association of Scholars, told The Center Square. “As a result, science is no longer the trustworthy source of objective knowledge and advice that the public has long believed.”

The NIST is not the only entity putting its attention and taxpayer funds into these efforts as it struggles to keep pace with its key mission. The trend has become common across federal agencies.

“This is not just a waste of time; prioritizing these nonsense issues comes with a cost,” Gonzalez said. “The NIST is supposed to help us stay technologically ahead of our enemies, particularly China. Taking our eyes off the ball to carry out a witch-hunt or terminology that fits the new orthodoxy is not just an Orwellian foray into language, but it puts us at a disadvantage.”

The NIST is also veering away from science and reality by accepting transgender dogma.

The NIST speech code also links to the American Psychological Association’s webpage on “biased language,” which goes on at length about the myriad of possible genders, and the need to cater to them.

“Transgender is used as an adjective to refer to persons whose gender identity, expression, and/or role does not conform to what is culturally associated with their sex assigned at birth,” APA says. “Some transgender people hold a binary gender, such as man or woman, but others have a gender outside of this binary, such as gender-fluid or nonbinary. Individuals whose gender varies from presumptions based on their sex assigned at birth may use terms other than ‘transgender’ to describe their gender, including ‘gender-nonconforming,’ ‘genderqueer,’ ‘gender-nonbinary,’ ‘gender-creative,’ ‘agender,’ or ‘two-spirit,’ to name a few.”

The effects of language control on scientific discourse are being felt down to the email level. One of my colleagues in the environmental health industry said her professional emails were “mean” and the style unacceptable . . . because she didn’t inquire how people were feeling as she transmitted information and data.

And when she did put in the polite phase, she was drenched in personal information she neither wanted nor needed in order to perform her tasks.

If there is a federal agency that exists that truly helps the American people, I have yet to identify it. The NIST has clearly diverted from its mission.

But at least everyone will feel included and respected!


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Marxism crawling into one government agency after another. Oh and they will need a Diversity Czar to make sure their hiring practice is political correct.

Politics and woke language aside, I believe proper documentation standards ought to call for little to no jargon of any kind. Exceptions could be made for the most common and widely understood jargon, and for terms explained thoroughly in the text of the document or in sidenotes and footnotes.

texansamurai | April 8, 2023 at 11:24 am

can’t speak for others but was taught to speak english when very young–will continue to do so for the rest of this life, regardless of any gov’t pamphlets / memos / directives, etc

was the language of the founders and has been the language of this country since

The way things are going, we will need a federal agency to help us learn to speak Mandarin.

Have they rebranded the term white noise?

    nordic prince in reply to buck61. | April 8, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    How about “dark money” or “dark horse”? “Black sheep”?

    We could play this all day!

E Howard Hunt | April 8, 2023 at 5:43 pm

I’m glad I’m not young anymore. I used to worry about waking up with a dose or a bad hangover. Now these kids have to worry about waking up with some unpronounceable gender.