From the World of Conscious Language

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

Why Is It That Boy Scouts “Will,” But Girl Scouts “Try”? Change the Promise, Please. |

“The Boy Scout Oath states, ‘I will’ and the Girl Scout Promise says, ‘I will try’; the Boy Scout Law states, ‘A Scout is…’ and the Girl Scout Law says, ‘I will do my best to be….’”

The “OK” Hand Gesture Is Now a Hate Symbol, But It’s Also a Crucial Part of Sign Languages | The Feed

“In an effort to raise awareness of sign languages and reclaim the sign as their own, sign language communities around the world have been pushing back against the idea that the OK gesture is now reserved for racists.”

When Coverage Is What They Want: Covering Mass Shootings Without Perpetuating Them | Center for Journalism Ethics

“Many outlets have chosen to devote less coverage to perpetrators and more to victims and to the laws and policies that have not prevented these tragedies.”

Words We’re Watching: “Nibling” | Merriam-Webster

“Nibling is a gender-neutral term used to refer to a child of one’s sibling as a replacement for ‘niece’ or ‘nephew.’”

A Language for All | The Washington Post

“Young people are changing the way they speak and write—replacing the masculine ‘o’ or the feminine ‘a’ with the gender-neutral ‘e’ in certain words—in order to change what they see as a deeply gendered culture.”

Space Ageing: Why Sci-Fi Novels Shun the Badass Older Woman | Nature

“With so few venerable women in major roles, a single novel including a new manifestation (say, a crime-solving octogenarian tribble rancher or a trans woman over 50) could completely change the landscape.”


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Get the Racism Out of Health Care Algorithms | Bloomberg

“The system was therefore less likely to flag black patients as eligible for extra preventive care, simply because less had been spent on their health care in the past.”

Don’t Just Add “Other”: How to Make Employment Forms Inclusive | HR Dive

“If an employer is using vendor-provided forms, the answer may be as simple as talking with the vendor.”

Stanford, Kyoto & Georgia Tech Model “Neutralizes” Biased Language | Synced

“The researchers also introduced the Wiki Neutrality Corpus (WNC)…[which] contains 180,000 biased and neutralized sentence pairs along with contextual sentences and metadata harvested from NPOV Wikipedia edits.”

The Trends That May End the “Y’all” vs “You Guys” Debate | Quartz

“It’s clear that ‘y’all’ is in a solid place at the right moment in history to make ‘you guys’ vanish.”

What We Get Wrong About “People of Color” | Wired

“Broad, all-inclusive sweeps are convenient and comfortable—and sometimes, for the sake of progress, we need them—but they can also do great damage.”

A Guide to How Gender-Neutral Language Is Developing Around the World | The Washington Post

A look at gender-neutral terms in seven languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, German, and French.

From the Archives

Putting Language on Meat-Free Diet | Conscious Style Guide

“Some inclusive-language critics dismiss expressions as just that—harmless expressions. But intended or not, harm is still harm.”

In Case You Missed It

November 2019 Newsletter

Read about “gifted” education programs, the ways parents unintentionally reinforce class stigma, and tips for writing about students experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

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