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I live and work in Atlanta, in the South. I write descriptions of property for real estate agents. A desirable and popular window treatment here are what is widely referred to as Plantation Shutters.

I want to appeal to all buyers, and avoid offending anyone with the association to slave-powered plantations. I have thought about calling these shutters Estate Shutters. They are historically found in large estate homes in the Southern United States, on the inside of the windows, as well as outside. Does anyone have another suggestion? What are your thoughts about the phrase Estate Shutters?

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    A quick Google suggests that they are called "plantation shutters".
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 29, 2015 at 1:14
  • it's a great question! I really think "plantation shutters" is the only good and common term. Katherine, personally I think "Estate" shutters actually is MORE IN DANGER of sounding historically offensive!! So definitely no on that one. i really think you can just say "shutters" these days and people get it, what about "full shutters" or just "internal shutters".
    – Fattie
    Jun 29, 2015 at 3:55
  • I think "quality interior shutters" is the phrase everyone should start using to avoid Estate/Plantation.
    – Fattie
    Jun 29, 2015 at 3:59
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    I am offended by the use of shutters, which represents the exclusion of privilege and calls to mind the shutting out of protest and the shutting down of change. I also call out your use of "the South," which serves to label and Other a heavily African-American part of the country that has some of our highest rates of poverty and illiteracy. Okay, so I'm kidding. I'd love to take a crowbar to our culture's seemingly limitless hypersensitivity. But of course, you can't say crowbar, or so I was told..
    – choster
    Jun 30, 2015 at 0:33
  • "California Shutters" might work, I am not sure how many people would be familiar with the name, but if they Google it, they should figure it out. Apr 28, 2019 at 14:30

4 Answers 4

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Manufacturers and salespeople have already begun to sidestep this particular PC invasion of descriptive language. Unfortunately, there is little relief from self-appointed PC police. No matter what we call our plantations shutters, they will hunt us down and accuse us of racism, because that style of shutters was actually used on southern plantations during the era of southern slavery.

The good news is that the PC police are a minuscule minority, and the vast majority of real estate customers just want to buy a beautiful home in a nice location at a reasonable price. It is practically impossible to choose a word that will satisfy everyone, but there are a host of names that minimize the risk of politically correct blowback.

Some have rightfully chosen to stand their linguistic ground. The picture below is labeled plantation shutters:

enter image description here

Certain distinctions remain significant to avoid confusion. The plantation style is similar to the colonial style, which tends to have immovable louvers, and is usually installed on the exterior:

enter image description here

Some have chosen to generalize, recognizing that plantation shutters are a specific style of a general class--louvered shutters:

enter image description here

Since estate is a recognized synonym of plantation, the substitution would be benign from a linguistic perspective. The PC police can always broaden their dragnet of retribution, but a google search for estate shutters produces images similar to plantation shutters:

enter image description here

Some words will ride nicely on regional preferences, like traditional shutters:

enter image description here

Customers who prefer this style of shutters, will probably like them regardless of what we call them. Those who are offended will, likely be offended regardless of what we call them. Any label will have its unique set of advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Traditional shutters
  2. Estate shutters
  3. Southern shutters
  4. Plantation shutters
  5. Interior louvered shutters
  6. Adjustable louvered shutters
  7. Louvered shutters
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These are also called "jalousies" and "louvers." (The latter also applying to the individual slats.) "Estate shutters" sounds like executors to me.

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  • Whilst admirable, those two terms would be very unused in the South, I fear.
    – Fattie
    Jun 29, 2015 at 3:56
  • "jalousies" are a particular kind, not necessarily wood. There are "jalousie windows" where the window glass itself is arranged as slats. These are often crank-operated, unlike plantation shutters. Jun 29, 2015 at 4:06
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Interior wooden louvered shutters.

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To clarify, you might want to specify "horizontal" (to distinguish from "vertical blinds") and mention the approximate width of the slats; I believe "plantation shutters" typically have relatively wide slats, as wood blinds go. Like this:

  • 3" horizontal-louver wood blinds

The term "shutters" (with or without "plantation") can be misconstrued by Northerners as meaning external shutters, like the storm shutters used in colder climates.

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  • Don't wood blinds have a draw string that causes the blind in its entirety to be raised and lowered, as distinct from the louver, the slats of which are controlled by a rod?
    – TimR
    Jun 29, 2015 at 16:27
  • The words louver and louvered are known in the South.
    – TimR
    Jun 29, 2015 at 16:28
  • @Tim Romano: not necessarily. Venetion blinds work that way. Roman shades also are lifted by a string, but they lift by rolling up. As for louvered, I agree, but since xxx already mentioned it, I didn't repeat it. Perhaps louvered wood blinds would be succinct. Jun 30, 2015 at 11:04
  • Oops. "Venetian" Jun 30, 2015 at 11:13

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