A New York medical college has set up new guidelines meant to make its curriculum more inclusive. One of the new rules requires the term “Caucasian” to stop being used to describe white people. Apparently, it brings too much “comfort.”
How did it all happen?
The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons has indicated that its new guidelines are meant to “combat systemic racism and bias which decrease our ability to provide equitable medical care, and to increase inclusion within our medical school.”
One of the most prominent objectives is “eliminating the use of outdated and imprecise terms, e.g., 'Oriental' to describe an Asian person or 'Caucasian' to describe a white person.”
As support for the initiative the college quotes a 2020 article titled “Time to Phase Out 'Caucasian’”. The article was written by Andrea Westby, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
Westby notes that “using ‘Caucasian’ to describe white people serves the purpose of prioritizing comfort of white people.”
The author also adds that "white people are uncomfortable with naming themselves as white and that doing away with ‘Caucasian’ can be seen as an antiracist action.”
“It is important to consider the implications and effects of the language we use, and the word Caucasian used indiscriminately when not rooted in historical context or impact does further racist assumptions and obstructs antiracist discourse.”
Campus Reform reached out to Westby for further explanations and her response was that “'Caucasian' is a historically and geographically inaccurate descriptor for white people, so it would be preferable to use 'white' or specific geographically correct ancestry terms.”
The news outlet has also tried to contact the New Yok college for comment but did not receive a response.