Kitten looks into eyes of larger cat.Young People and Ageist Language | Conscious Style Guide

“Harmful stereotypes about children and teenagers have a special grip on language. Prejudice or discrimination based on age—that is, ageism—directed toward young people is especially difficult to dislodge from an adultist society, because the attitude that young people are inferior pervades despite the staggering evidence to the contrary.”


Want to Raise an Empowered Girl? Then Let Her Be Funny. | The Washington Post

“Research found that people who effectively used humor were more likely to be elected to leadership positions. This is something we want for our girls, yes? To not just be smart and confident, but to be able to convey those qualities in boardrooms, at dinner parties and while standing at a lectern?”

Culturally Responsive Teaching in Third Grade: Going Beyond “The Single Story” | The Open Book

“Single stories aren’t limited to portrayal of cultures. It is also in students’ interest to present a variety of examinations of particular themes. There is certainly no ‘single story’ of kindness or greed…Looking at a variety of texts within a given theme is particularly culturally responsive because it gives students options for entry points that resonate with them.”

California Will Be the First State to Use LGBT-Inclusive History Textbooks in Schools | Los Angeles Times

“Approval of these textbooks means that California schools will now have access to approved materials that accurately represent LGBTQ people.” —Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California

Your Words Matter, But Your Silence Matters More | Education Week

“Your words matter more than ever. Likewise, your silence is deafening.” —Daniella Suárez, mathematics instructor

The Importance of Proper and Improper English | The Economist

“All children in Britain and America do need standard English. But they do not need it all the time. Indeed, there is absolutely no need for them to abandon their home speech; people are perfectly able to switch speech varieties.”

Not Your Auntie | Rumpus

“‘Auntie Maxine’ is one of those things Black people can say that white people can’t because there’s too much history behind ‘Auntie.’”

Euphemisms for Disability Are Infantalizing | Crippledscholar

“Euphemisms used for disability are either overly cutesy like ‘special needs’ or linguistically awkward such as ‘differently abled.’ Often they are a combination of the two like ‘diffabled.’”

The Name-Game Dividing the Church: What Makes a Christian “Evangelical”? | Christian Today

“Names are important. Labels matter. To see evidence of this, look no further than the contemporary Church, where titles like ‘evangelical’, ‘liberal’, ‘biblical’ or ‘progressive’ are frequently fought over.”

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph | T Magazine

The problems with labeling cuisine as “Asian American,” “inauthentic,” or “fusion.”

David Cross, Charlyne Yi, and the Luxury of Forgetting | GQ

“Why are our smartest and most progressive comedians writing about Asian-Americans as if we are people they have never seen, met, or talked to?”

Editors Rejected Leonard Chang’s Novel Because His Characters Didn’t Act “Asian Enough” | Bustle

“The idea that characters who aren’t white need to seem ‘exotic’ or ‘different from the rest of us’ is the biggest reason why the push for more diverse books has been embraced so fully by so many in the first place…We need all different kinds of stories about marginalized communities because there is no one-size-fits-all person.”

Don’t Be Scared, Just Be Careful: A Guide for Writing in an Identity POV That Isn’t Yours | Dead Darlings

“Be aware of your intentions, make sure you do proper research, and don’t fall into fetishizing, romanticizing, or otherwise portraying the identity in a way that prioritizes how you want things to be (as opposed to what’s true). We’re not zoo animals.”

NYC Subway to Use Gender-Neutral Terms During Announcements | Associated Press

“Conductors on subway trains have been told to stop addressing passengers as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ when making announcements about delays, detours or other things, and instead use the gender-neutral terms ‘passengers,’ ‘riders,’ and ‘everyone.’”

Um, Uh, Huh? Are These Words Clues to Understanding Human Language? | NPR

Cross-cultural research by linguist Nick Enfield shows that “huh?” is a “human linguistic universal. When we ask “Huh?” in conversation, it can be a mark of cooperation rather than confusion.”

French Language Watchdogs Say “Non” to Gender-Neutral Style | The Guardian

“Supporters of inclusive writing say the new forms are aimed at use in written communication, not speech or literature. They also point out the Académie is hardly a model of gender equality.”

Why Are So Many Men Confused About What Sexual Consent Means? | The Washington Post

“For years, what powerful men did in Hollywood, politics or elsewhere in pop culture was described in terms of ‘seduction,’ ‘sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll’ and ‘free love”…. Some of these stories are now being retold from the perspective of those women, using such words as ‘rape’….”

What I Learned From #MeToo: Stop the Instant, Harsh Critiquing | Colorlines

“I fear that in the rush to be first and viral, we trample on the very people that we are in community with and levy criticisms that ultimately do not age well.”

Is It Assault or Harassment? AP Decides “Misconduct” Is a More Encompassing Word Choice | Poynter

“Sexual misconduct,” according to John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, can encompass “a broader range of sexual misbehavior and does not run the risk of diminishing some of the alleged acts.”

Recent Updates

Health

  • BuzzFeed’s Style Guidelines for Writing About Mental Health
  • Language Matters in Mental Health (from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health)
  • “Fifty Psychological and Psychiatric Terms to Avoid: A List of Inaccurate, Misleading, Misused, Ambiguous, and Logically Confused Words and Phrases”
  • “How to Talk to Your Partner About Postpartum Depression, According to Experts”
  • “How Patients Hear Their Diagnoses Can Change Everything About What Happens Next”
  • “Why Words Matter When We’re Talking About Mental Illnesses” (infographic)
  • “A Michigan Case Triggers Debate Over the Terminology for Female Genital Mutilation”

From the Archives

From Bias and Blame to Balance: Sensitive Style for Covering Sexual Violence​​​​​​​

“When misconceptions prevail about what constitutes rape, who can be raped, who rapes, and who can prevent rape, editors can minimize unfair and inaccurate media coverage of sexual assault by flagging biased reporting and words that shift blame to the victim.”

The Conscious Style Guide newsletter rounds up the best news and blog posts from the world of kind, compassionate, mindful, empowering, respectful, and inclusive language. Note: Spotlighting an opinion is not intended as an endorsement. Please send news tips to moc.e1513156929diuge1513156929lytss1513156929uoics1513156929noc@e1513156929vol1513156929.

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