No, this isn’t from The Onion.
Phrases such as “hold down the fort,” and beverage names such as “black and tan,” have racist connotations and should not be used, according to the State Department’s Chief Diversity Officer John Robinson warned in a column this month.
Robinson prefaced the argument of the latest “Diversity Notes” feature by warning that he was about to make historical claims that may not be accurate, “but this isn’t about their historical validity; instead, instead, it is an opportunity to remember that our choice of wording affects our professional environment,” Robinson wrote in State Magazine.
At that point, he warned that an apparently benign phrase such as “hold down the fort” could strike some people as “negative and racially offensive,” because the phrase originates from forts on the American frontier (Robsinson says, having conceded that his history may or may not be true) when soldiers fought Native Americans.
Or, as Robinson put it: “In the territories of the west, Army soldiers or settlers saw the ‘fort’ as their refuge from their perceived ‘enemy,’ the stereotypical ‘savage’ Native American tribes.”
The link to the story is here. You know what else might be offensive? Rule of thumb. Yes, really.
We really, really need a new administration.