Message From the Founder
Last month, The Associated Press Stylebook announced several changes in its 2019 edition that were credited to efforts by the Conscious Style Guide team: Henry Fuhrmann’s well-argued “Drop the Hyphen in Asian American” article for CSG persuaded the AP to do just that. And I’m proud to say that I convinced the editors to add entries on asexual and bisexual—and to define the latter in nonbinary terms, as an attraction to “more than one gender.”
We are thrilled to be making an impact on a large scale, and with your support, we’re determined to continue our work at the intersection of critical thinking and compassion. Every article, link, comment, social media post, and shout-out about CSG spreads conscious language. And as I wrote on my AP vs. Chicago blog years ago, “Love is…retweeting.” Thank you.
CSG in the News
“AP finally agrees that ‘hyphenated Americans’ are a relic. And, when an incident is racist, journalists should say so.”
Dropped Hyphens, Split Infinitives, and Other Thrilling Developments From the 2019 American Copy Editors Society Conference | The New Yorker
“The A.P. is dropping the hyphen in such terms as ‘African American,’ ‘Asian American,’ and ‘Filipino American.’ [Lead editor Paula Froke] credited this change to the eloquence of Henry Fuhrmann, formerly the copy chief of the L.A. Times, who wrote, ‘Those hyphens serve to divide even as they are meant to connect. Their use in racial and ethnic identifiers can connote an otherness, a sense that people of color are somehow not full citizens or fully American.’”
Hyphens Out, Euphemisms for “Racism” Discouraged | Journal-isms
“It’s taken decades, but the Associated Press has decided to drop the hyphen in ‘African American’ and ‘Asian American,’ and while it was at it, to discourage the use of such terms as ‘racially charged’ as euphemisms for just plain racism…On the hyphen issue, [AP’s director of media relations Lauren Easton] said, ‘Editors took to heart the argument about “hyphenated Americans,” which was particularly well conveyed in a piece by Henry Fuhrmann for the Conscious Style Guide.’”
From the World of Conscious Language
The Media Are Complacent While the World Burns | Columbia Journalism Review
“Perhaps the media’s most damaging climate-change error has been to cover a science story as if it were a politics story.”
Life-Saving Opioid Addiction Treatments Get a Negative Slant | Columbia Journalism Review
“When reporters focus on negative consequences, they often step into the realm of misinformation.”
Why We’re Making the Age of Our Journalism Clearer | The Guardian
To improve transparency and preserve context, the Guardian will now include its logo and the year of an article’s publication for pictures picked up by social media and search sites.
Why You Should Stop Saying “Committed Suicide” | HuffPost Life
“The term ‘committed suicide’ is damaging because for many, if not most, people it evokes associations with ‘committed a crime’ or ‘committed a sin’ and makes us think about something morally reprehensible or illegal.” ―Jacek Debiec, assistant professor of psychiatry
Latter-Day Saints Move to Remove “Mormon” From Lexicon | Columbia Journalism Review
“No longer should the church or its followers be called ‘Mormon’ by default, both the church and AP say. No longer should the initials ‘LDS’ be used to refer to the church.”
The Word “Mistress” Is Creeping Back Into Our Vocabulary. Should Journalists Stop Using It? | Poynter
“The feeling among the editors is that the word ‘mistress’ is largely archaic and tends to be sexist in its assumptions.” —John Daniszewski, Associated Press standards editor
Getty Images Has Taken Action With Dove, Girlgaze and Women Around the World to Create Project #ShowUs | Getty Images
Project #ShowUs, “the world’s largest stock photo library created by women and non-binary individuals,” features 5,000-plus images by photographers from Girlgaze.
Follow CSG on Instagram!
Follow @consciousstyleguide for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on YA books and kidlit.
Words for Every Body | Aeon
Behind trans-inclusive language for bodies is the idea that “what we need is not a single, objectively correct set of words, but an awareness of individual variation among the people that such words describe, and a willingness to adjust to changing contexts and circumstances.”
Milk Bar Renames “Crack Pie” | The Boston Globe
Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar bakery, renames their popular “Crack Pie” to “Milk Bar Pie” and acknowledges that the original name falls short of their mission to “spread joy and inspire celebration.”
Misconceptions About Arranged Marriage Abound. Romance Authors Are Here to Help. | The Washington Post
“There is a difference between forced marriages and arranged marriages, and I think a lot of people get those two things confused.” —Nisha Sharma, author
Let’s Talk About “Project Runway” Stars Using “Old Lady” to Describe Unflattering Clothes | The Washington Post
“‘Old lady’ is not just an adjective married to a noun. It’s not a nonjudgmental fact. To tell someone not to be such an old lady is to say: Don’t be fearful. Or don’t be a whiner. It’s a description of invisibility. Of unsightliness.”
This Georgetown Sophomore Wants to Change How We View and Talk About Disabilities | The Washington Post
“In praising achievement as ‘overcoming’ disability, we are only teaching that disability is incompatible with success.” —Anna Landre for “The Hoya”
“Whenever someone weaponizes anger against black women, it is designed to silence them. It is designed to discredit them and to say that they are overreacting.” —Brittney Cooper, professor and author of “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower”
“What happens is, it goes into one book, it goes into 10 books, people read those books and write their own books, and suddenly, everybody’s got pink nipples. And they forget about the fact that that’s not reality.” —Alisha Rai, romance novelist
How Historians Got Nike to Pull an Ad Campaign—in Under Six Hours | The Washington Post
“A simple Google search would have revealed to the marketing department at Nike that they might not have wanted to go with this slogan. The entire first page of search results for the phrase ‘Lost Cause’ references its Confederate and Civil War origins.”
From the Archives
Drop the Hyphen in “Asian American” | Conscious Style Guide
The 2018 article by CSG adviser Henry Fuhrmann that changed BuzzFeed Style Guide and The Associated Press Stylebook.
In Case You Missed It
Read about finding mindful ways to talk about food and eating disorders, including history in stories, and pushing for changes in The AP Stylebook.
Diversify Your Staff and Sources
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.