The jaws of an adjustable wrench hover around the head of a nail, while a hammer hovers over a bolt, both tools unable to complete the task.

Why We Confuse Race and Ethnicity: A Lexicographer’s Perspective | Conscious Style Guide

Dictionaries sometimes provide an opportunity for users to tell more about what certain words should mean as opposed to what they do mean. Take race and ethnicity. The online dictionary at Merriam-Webster allows users to leave comments on entries, and the most common comment by far on the entry for ethnicity is that people are looking it up to determine how it’s distinguished from race. The most common comment on the entry for race is essentially “Okay, but what is race, then?”

The reality is that the words race and ethnicity have a significant amount of overlap in terms of their general use. Race is the older word, dating back to the 1500s, and for most of its history, it referred to groups of people who shared a common ancestor, culture, or cultural marker (such as language or religion): “the English race,” “the Scottish race,” “the Jewish race.” Read more


CSG in the News

Top 14 Content Style Guides 2019 (and How to Use Them) | UX Writing Hub

We’re delighted to be included in UX Writing Hub’s list of top content style guides!


From the World of Conscious Language

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

4 Reasons Couples Call Each Other “My Partner” | MindBodyGreen

“‘Partner’ is free from all the cultural baggage layered onto all its gendered alternatives.”

From Interracial Couples to People With Disabilities: More Inclusive Emojis Are on Their Way | NBC News Better

Emoji 12.0 “offers users an array of other options we haven’t seen before, such as a prosthetic arm and leg, a person in a wheelchair (both manual and automatic), a person with a probing cane, a deaf person, an ear with a hearing aid, a service dog, interracial couples and gender-neutral couples.”

I’ve Talked With Teenage Boys About Sexual Assault for 20 Years. This Is What They Still Don’t Know | Time

“Teenage boys are hungry for practical conversations about sex. They want to know the rules. They want to be the good guy, the stand-up, honorable dude. Their intentions might be good, but their ignorance is dangerous.”

What to Say When Someone Has a Miscarriage (and What Not to Say) | Anne Sage

Anne Sage shares some personal suggestions, such as not saying “20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage” and, instead, saying “You’re not alone.”

People Diagnosed With Cancer Often Don’t Embrace the Term “Survivor” | The Conversation

“Among the negative responses to the term ‘cancer survivor,’ the most common theme had to do with its disregarding the patient’s fear of recurrence. One woman’s response captures the essence of this concern: ‘I feel like I’m tempting fate when I say I’ve survived it.’”

Japanese Firm Rewrites Magazines and Manga for Disabled Readers | South China Morning Post

For readers with a mental disability, “as a rule, neither double negatives nor metaphors are used in constructing the sentences and there are many line breaks. Readers can also click a play button to hear an audio version of the article being read at a slow pace.”

We’ve Got This Covered: The Art of Book Jacket Design | Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

“In instances that online critics have dubbed ‘cover fails,’ several characters of color were represented by images of white people or people racially ambiguous enough that they could be read as white…Backlash against these mistakes led to discussions about how to improve diversity on covers as well as the content between the pages.”

Women’s Center for Creative Work Plans to Diversify the Subjects of Stock Photos | Hyperallergic

“Our goal is to create a stock photo database featuring people of color, women, genderqueer, and disabled folks of all ages and body types, in a variety of settings and narratives”

Editors Canada Encourages Stock Photo Agencies to Acquire and Provide More Diverse Images | Editors Canada

“Editors Canada president Gael Spivak sent the following letter to the Canadian offices of eight stock photo agencies to encourage them to acquire and provide more diverse and respectful images.”

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Can Dialogue Journalism Engage Audiences, Foster Civil Discourse, and Increase Trust in the Media? | Nieman Reports

“Practitioners of ‘dialogue journalism’ hope to burst the liberal versus conservative information bubbles and create bonds with their readers that will lead to greater trust.”

What I’ve Learned Reporting About Lyme Disease, a Contested Illness | Columbia Journalism Review

“Journalists are in a unique position to shape how people view contested illnesses and the people suffering from them. It is both vital and possible to be simultaneously empathetic and accurate.”

Watch Your Language: Tasty Words “Luring” People to Healthier Foods | Reuters

“Right now, the predominant language is ‘meat-free’, ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ and that doesn’t have associations with deliciousness…Language isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s going to have a key role in reframing the food and luring in a whole new set of the population.” —Daniel Vennard, head of WRI’s Better Buying Lab

Ms., Mr. or Mx.? Nonbinary Teachers Embrace Gender-Neutral Honorific | NBC News

“Mx., generally pronounced as ‘mix,’ has grown in popularity over the past few years, as more people outwardly and openly identify as transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary—and have rejected the idea that only two options, male and female, exist.”

Tony Dungy: Some Announcers’ Biased Language Perpetuates Black QB Stereotypes | The Undefeated

“The position that needs the most change might be the broadcast booth. That’s where African-American quarterbacks are still described more for their physicality than intellect.”

Six Reporting Tips for Covering Islam in America | Journalist’s Resource

A tip from Hannah Allam, former national reporter at BuzzFeed News: “If a reporter would not use the word ‘Dios,’ the Spanish word for ‘God,’ when reporting on religion in relation to Latinos, why would they refer to God as ‘Allah’ in stories about Muslims? That makes it appear as though Muslims worship a different God and makes them look like ‘the other.’”

On Deaf Literature | Bloomsbury Literary Studies

Some Deaf writers “are reclaiming the use of ‘said’ or ‘speaks’ in relation to American Sign Language and Deaf literature in print instead of using ‘she signed’ as a dialogue tag.”


From the Archives

When Bias-Free Language Excludes | Conscious Style Guide

And when biased language promotes visibility.


In Case You Missed It

January 2019 Newsletter

Read some of the latest thoughts on food-based slurs, conscious design, “diverse” as a gender designation, positive language in the classroom, and more in the latest newsletter!

Need an Editor? Start Here!

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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. Check it out!

Going to ACES 2019?

Don’t miss our presentation and Q&A on religion and language! For details, visit our Events page.

Do You Write or Edit Fiction?

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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 love@consciousstyleguide.com.

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