Attending ACES 2019?
Join Our Talk on Religion and Conscious Language
Are you a conscious editor when it comes to religion and spirituality? At the ACES 2019 national conference in Providence, Conscious Style Guide will be presenting “Holy $%#@: Religion and Conscious Language,” an illuminating session on best practices for being more sensitive to spiritual diversity, with panelists Aleksandra Sandstrom, Besheer Mohamed, Rhiannon Root, and Alex Kapitan. Advice will include style-guide considerations, guidelines for checking facts, acknowledging atheists and other nonreligious people in your copy, recognizing how spirituality intersects with other identities, Pew Research Center findings on how religious groups view themselves and one another, and the importance of community feedback. Bring your questions about terminology and framing; ground your work in accuracy and respect.
From the World of Conscious Language
This College Student Created a Way for Nonbinary People to Speak Hebrew | Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“The core rule of the system is simple: Instead of leaving the ends of most words bare, which by default would signify a masculine word, or adding the feminine ‘ah,’ ‘ut’ or ‘et’ sounds, most of Gross and Rivlin’s forms take the ending ‘eh.’”
Most News Coverage of Muslims Is Negative. But Not When It’s About Devotion. | The Washington Post
“If newspapers in liberal democracies increasingly cover devotional practices within their countries or interfaith dialogue across religious divides, they may begin to soften readers’ prejudices about Islam and Muslims—prejudices that are often reinforced by the media and that can have significant consequences for Muslims themselves.”
“While explanatory footnotes are common in religious texts, not least significantly Jewish ones, the proposed recommendations would mark a bold editorial step for combating hate.”
The Racist Politics of the English Language | Boston Review
“Why the semantic somersaults when it comes to race? We never hear anti-Semitic rhetoric described as ‘religiously tinged.’”
“Don’t correct the way people choose to identify. Native American, Indian, American Indian, Indigenous, or our tribal names—it’s our choice.”
On the racially biased narratives about MSG: “Very few people complain about getting headaches or heart palpitations from eating Doritos, or from dousing pizza in Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.”
Dear White People: Stop Using the Term “Uncle Tom” | The Washington Post
“Any person of any color can face situations in which the choice is between profit or safety, on the one hand, and principle on the other. There are words for a person who makes the less admirable choice. ‘Coward,’ ‘sellout’ or ‘traitor’ would suffice. If the person is black, why use ‘Uncle Tom,’ unless it is to punish the person for his color as well as his behavior?”
Do you write or edit fiction?
how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on YA books and kidlit.
“Latinos” Is Out, “Latinx” Is In at UC San Diego in Nod to Evolving Gender and Sexuality Terms | Los Angeles Times
“Latinx includes men and women of Latin American descent, people who are not exclusively male or female, people who don’t think of themselves as a man or a woman, and people who don’t act or dress in ways that are common to people of their gender.”
Tinder in India Now Offers 23 Gender Options | Gay Star News
“The changes made to the app in India were made with consultations of transgender and gender non-conforming Indians, the company said.”
“Google’s technology will not suggest gender-based pronouns because the risk is too high that its ‘Smart Compose’ technology might predict someone’s sex or gender identity incorrectly and offend users, product leaders revealed to Reuters in interviews.”
Kids Want to See More Female Superheroes, According to New Study | Los Angeles Times
“Our research found that female sci-fi and superhero characters help bridge the confidence gap for girls, making them feel strong, brave, confident, inspired, positive and motivated.” —Julie Burton, president, Women’s Media Center
Financial Times Tool Warns If Articles Quote Too Many Men | The Guardian
“Only 21% of people quoted in the FT were women, prompting the development of a bot that uses pronouns and analysis of first names to determine whether a source is male or a female. Section editors will then be alerted if they are not doing enough to feature women in their stories.”
“Some people would say that part of being a ‘professional’ is knowing your context and code-switching (e.g., changing word choice, tone, or language) to suit the audience. I am conflicted by that.”
How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross | The New York Times
“Interviewing a person and having a conversation with them are two different things, but a common thread that can help you to excel at both, according to Ms. Gross, is ‘being genuinely curious, and wanting to hear what the other person is telling you. I can respond to what somebody is saying by expressing if I’m feeling sympathy or empathy, and explaining why.’”
In Case You Missed It
Covering Poverty: What to Avoid and How to Get It Right | Conscious Style Guide
When covering any topic, ask: “Am I making class-based assumptions? Is this approach or the language I’m using going to offend, demean, or be relatable” to people who’ve experienced poverty?
Using religious terminology, giving your child a “foreign” name, and teaching conscious language―catch up on these topics and more in the November newsletter.
From the Archives
Make Peace With Words | Conscious Style Guide
On borrowing the wisdom of mindfulness meditation to explore the desire for equanimity and emotional liberation.
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.