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Oxfam's new 92-page inclusivity guide calls English 'the language of a colonising nation'

Oxfam came under fire last night for issuing a bizarre ‘inclusive’ language guide to staff.

The 92-page report warns against ‘colonial’ phrases such as ‘headquarters’, suggests ‘local’ may be offensive and says ‘people’ could be patriarchal.

The guide even suggests that ‘youth’, ‘the elderly’ and ‘seniors’ should be avoided – to afford respect and dignity.

Tory former minister Robert Buckland said: ‘Most people will find this particular use of valuable time and resources by Oxfam totally bizarre. It would do them well to remember the old adage that actions speak louder than words.’

The introduction apologises for being written in and about the English language, saying: ‘We recognise that this guide has its origin in English, the language of a colonising nation. We acknowledge the Anglo-supremacy of the sector as part of its coloniality.

‘This guide aims to support people who have to work and communicate in the English language as part of this colonial legacy. However, we recognise that the dominance of English is one of the key issues that must be addressed in order to decolonise our ways of working and shift power.’

The official advice from the charity – founded in Oxford in 1942 to relieve famine worldwide – attempts to revolutionise its staff’s language across a wide range of fields. 

It looks to outlaw ‘headquarters’ as it ‘implies a colonial power dynamic’; ‘aid sector’, which ‘cements ideology where an agent with resources gives support on a charitable basis’; and ‘field trip’ because it can ‘reinforce colonial attitudes’.

Source of data and images: dailymail

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