As Portland struggles to manage crime and an increase in homelessness, city staff members are being told to adopt a more “culturally conscious” vocabulary that includes not using words such as “women,” “Caucasian” or “citizen.”
The Office of Equity and Human Rights pushed an Inclusive Writing Guide in June as part of a “city-wide collaboration” to alter commonly used terms that they feel have evolved.
The guide suggested removing femininity from terms commonly used for women, including replacing “pregnant women” with “pregnant people” to be inclusive of those “who have this experience [pregnancy] but do not identify as women.”
Portland officials also advised staffers to “instead of women’s health rights, say reproductive rights, instead of feminine hygiene products, say menstrual products or period products, and instead of breastfeeding, say chest feeding.”
Rather than use “he” or “she” pronouns to describe people, staffers are encouraged to use “they/them.”
The staffers are also told to capitalize the word “Black as an adjective in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense,” while under the definition of “white,” they are told to “not capitalize when referring to one’s race.”
The guide defined “white and whiteness” as “a social construct that serves to reinforce power structures” and suggested avoiding use of the synonym “Caucasian” entirely.
The guide suggested that the word “manhole” is not gender-neutral, and therefore “maintenance hole” should be used in its place.
According to the guide, the term “citizen” is also “not inclusive” and should not be used by staffers.
“Language is fluid,” the guide read. “As our understanding of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability evolves, we must make informed choices about language and adopt a continuous improvement approach.”
As the city seeks to adopt “inclusive and equitable language,” Portland residents are concerned about “organized crime and drugs” in the area.
A recent Portland census data showed the city has lost 0.04% of its population, with Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office reporting a 50% increase in homelessness from 2019 to 2022.
“Walking around, it’s hard to not notice used needles, nudity, human feces and the stench of urine coming from our large homeless population,” said Cobalt Kaiser, a second-year Portland resident said of the ongoing homelessness crisis.
Fox News’ Kyra Colah contributed to this report.