Campus Free Speech

'Long Time, No See' Is Considered Offensive, Non-Inclusive Language at Colorado State University

"Viewed as derogatory towards those of Asian descent."


Roman Samborskyi / Dreamstime

At Colorado State University (CSU), administrators have designated the common greeting "long time, no see" as non-inclusive language.

That's according to a student, Katrina Leibee, who writes for the campus paper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Leibee met with Zahra Al-Saloom, director of diversity and inclusion at CSU, who showed her a list of terms and phrases considered contrary to the university's mission of fostering inclusion.

"One of these phrases was 'long time, no see,' which is viewed as derogatory towards those of Asian descent," wrote Leibee.

Leibee also noted that administrators discouraged use of "you guys" in favor of "y'all," which is gender neutral (and ungrammatical, but this is apparently less of a concern). Her column does not claim that administrators force students to use the gender neutral terminology, just that such terminology is preferred.

Al-Saloom did not respond to a request for a comment.

The College Fix's Jennifer Kabbany sees this as an example of campus political correctness run amok, and I'm having a hard time disagreeing. I can't imagine anyone reading racial subtext into "long time, no see" unless they have already been instructed to look for it. The greeting's Wikipedia page raises the possibility that it is of Chinese or Native American origin, but an NPR article from 2014 says the phrase is so widespread that it's impossible to tell for sure.

It's no wonder that policing microagressions might actually backfire. As some research has shown, many people who are supposedly impugned by a given slight fail to register it as offensive. What is to be gained by insisting that they should find it offensive, and that people who persist in using the term are aggressing against them in some small way?