County Public School system in North Carolina will
no longer use the term “grandfathering”
because, you guessed it, it purportedly has a racist background. The school
system agreed to make the change after one parent—one—complained. That
parent, Lucy Hughes, recently directed a tweet at the school district: “PLEASE
do not use racist language and DROP the term ‘Grandfathering clause’ for new
high schools […] The term has roots in suppressing black voters. Language
matters! DO BETTER! Our students are watching. FIX IT.”
The district promptly turtled and responded by pledging
that it will cease using the term beginning next year. District spokeswoman
Lucy Luten (what’s with all the Lucies?) noted that the word is not “inclusive,”
as its origins lie in post-Civil War voting rights.
Southern states supposedly created “grandfather
clauses” to exempt white voters from certain new voting regulations.
is the Wikipedia definition of grandfathering or “grandfather clause:” A grandfather
clause (or grandfather policy or grandfathering) is a provision in which an old
rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply
to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have
grandfather rights or acquired rights, or to have been grandfathered in.
Use of the term
is still very common. School districts use it to describe situations in which
existing students are excluded from new rules, regulations, mandates and laws,
such as when they are allowed to keep attending their current school after
“redistricting” changes, etc.
Woke Wake County School system should make the change
immediately, whereas Lucy Luten proudly noted that “Wake
has moved to be more inclusive in recent years, such as recognizing Indigenous
Peoples’ Day and moving to expand anti-discrimination protection for
transgender students and school employees.”
“grandfathering” as racist is absurd. It is like saying the terms “underground
railroad” and “moonshine” are racist because they were used during a
time when blacks were discriminated against in the South.
am sure there are those who think “grandfathering” is misogynistic, as
well, and that there should be an official, state-approved, gender-neutral
version to describe the father of one’s father or mother. And, similarly, a
gender-neutral term to describe one’s father and mother, too. And…oh, f*ck it.
and gender-neutral terms are ever mandated for general use, I hope there will
be a grandfather clause excluding me from compliance.