From the World of Conscious Language

Note: The authors’ viewpoints are not necessarily shared by Conscious Style Guide. 


U.S. House Adopts Gender-Neutral Language for Rules Document | Advocate

“These changes apply only to the rules document and do not prevent House members from using gendered language in any other communication.”

Telling It Like It Is: When Writing News Requires a Distance From Neutrality | Poynter

“A neutral frame is often insufficient for the job of revealing the truth in the public interest, for telling it like it is.”

Government Funds Are Not “Taxpayer Money”—Media and Politicians Should Stop Confusing the Two | The Conversation

“Both reputable media and politicians of every stripe invariably use the phrase ‘taxpayer money’ to describe government funds, despite the phrase having no constitutional or legal basis.”

News Reports Rely on Ableist Language to Describe Societal Impacts of COVID-19 | Ricochet

“Because navigating bureaucratic requirements often compounds trauma, tackling ableism demands more than just changing language.”

The Need to Say It Nicer: The Language We Choose When We Talk About Substance Use Matters | The Conversation

“Relapse has become a negative word that is equated with failure instead of as a normal part of an individual’s treatment trajectory.”

Covering Stories About Palliative Care: 4 Tips for Journalists | Journalist’s Resource

Instead of saying that palliative care is not the same as hospice, stress what palliative care is.


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What’s in a Name? Why Do Some Linguists Not Call It African American Vernacular English (AAVE) Anymore? | Language Jones

A primer on AAVE, AAL, AAE, and AASE, by linguist Taylor Jones.

Epicurious Attempts to Right Cultural Wrongs One Recipe at a Time | HuffPost

“One of the first issues ‘repaired,’ [David Tamarkin, Epicurious digital director] said, was use of the word ‘exotic.’”

The Long Battle Against Racism and Sexism in Emoji | Daily Beast

“As of 2015, the only four roles that women had were Dancer, Bride, Princess, and Playboy Bunny.”

RuPaul Finally Changes Iconic Drag Race Catchphrase to Be More Inclusive of Trans and Non-Binary Queens | PinkNews

With the show’s 13th season comes an updated catchphrase: “Racers, start your engines, and may the best drag queen win!”

Dark and Light: Practicing Balance—and Countering Racism—in Metaphors | Radical Copyeditor

“The widespread metaphor that darkness/blackness is bad, evil, or otherwise negative, while lightness/whiteness is good, pure, or otherwise positive, has inestimable effects.”

Rooting Out Racism in Children’s Books | The Conversation

“When a book tells a story through the eyes of a character of color, there is a power assigned to the character in the telling of their own story.”

Running Out of Words: It’s Not a Slippery Slope | The Editors’ Weekly

“People concerned about sensitivity are suggesting new replacement words, not just eliminating words.” —Katherine Barber, former editor-in-chief, Canadian Oxford Dictionary

CSG in the News

Style Guidelines as the New Administration Takes Office | ACES: The Society for Editing

When should Kamala Harris’s background be mentioned? “The AP Stylebook says that race may be pertinent in news stories about ‘significant, groundbreaking or historic events,’ such as Harris’ election.”

It Makes Sense to Use Sensitive Language | PerfectIt

“From an editorial perspective, sensitive language is all about having the best effect on your readers.””

From the Archives

Breaking Up With Words | Conscious Style Guide

“A twinge of grief underlies certain shifts in language.”

 In Case You Missed It

The Conscious Language Newsletter: December 2020

How to handle questionable passages in classic children’s books, how the language of economics affects behavior, and how the words journalists choose can humanize people involved in the justice system rather than reducing them to the crimes they commit.

Submit Job Listings for Free

The Editors of Color Database, a project of Conscious Style Guide, is a free service that connects employers and recruiters with editors, proofreaders, and sensitivity readers of color in the U.S. and Canada. It’s also free to submit job listings for distribution to our private network of editorial pros. The Editors of Color website is home to the Database of Diverse Databases, now with over 75 resources featuring underrepresented communities. Diversify your staff and sources now! 

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Follow @consciousstyleguide on Instagram for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on children’s books, including young adult.

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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 .

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