Federal Reserve to Employees: Don’t Use ‘Founding Fathers’


Outside the Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

The Federal Reserve has directed employees to use “bias-free language” and avoid using terms it believes show bias, such as “Founding Fathers,” according to a new report.

The Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors issued the instructions to all employees nationwide on April 29, according to Fox News. 

“Bias-free language recognizes diversity and avoids stereotyping, demeaning, or excluding people on the basis of gender, race, ethnic group, religion, age, ability/disability, or sexual orientation,” the guidance reportedly reads.

“Try to avoid words and phrases that may be considered offensive, pejorative, or prejudiced (whether consciously or unconsciously), as these can distract your audience from the ideas/information you’re trying to convey,” it adds.

The directive contains a list of “biased terms” to avoid, such as “blacklist,” “grandfathered,” and “Founding Fathers.” Employees are instead asked to use terms like “denied,” “legacy,” and “Founders,” respectively. 

It goes on to suggest that the terms “whitelisted,” “manpower,” “manmade,” be replaced with more “bias-free” alternatives such as “allowed” and “artificial.” The guidance also asks employees to avoid “singular generic pronouns,” such as “he,” “she,” “his,” and “hers,” in favor of a more inclusive “they,” “their,” and “theirs.”

The directive came not long after Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, issued a word of caution against “mission creep” at the Fed’s regional banks earlier this year.

In a letter to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Toomey questioned the bank’s focus on climate change and racial equality.

“The Federal Reserve’s independence and careful adherence to nonpartisanship has allowed it to avoid being seen as a politicized body,” he wrote.

He also criticized central bank writings, including a “racial equity primer” it published on Medium last year.

“The Federal Reserve may pursue mission creep or welcome itself to political capture,” he added. “But such activities are inconsistent with its statutory responsibilities.”

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