Dedicated to Black Lives Matter
I touch upon the language of Black Lives Matter in the upcoming issue of Copyediting (August/September 2016), so now, instead of discussing what others have already discussed so eloquently, I would like to step back and feature their words in this newsletter.
In other news:
- New Master Class: Copyediting‘s Colleen Barry will be teaching a Master Class tomorrow, July 15, 2016, and there’s still time to sign up. Tough Conversations: Handling Sticky Issues With Confidence will present concrete examples of how to raise tough questions respectfully.
- CSG on LinkedIn: We’ve set up a page for Conscious Style Guide on LinkedIn so that it’s easier for you to catch up on conscious-language news.Follow us!
- CSG Articles: “How Sexist Language Hurts Men” shows how stereotyping one gender means simultaneously stereotyping another.
“If I say ‘Save the whales,’ it does not mean, ‘Screw the eagles.'”
We Are Not “Niggers” or “Niggas” | Black Matters
“Why is it degrading in some situations and endearing in others?
How Gun Culture Permeates Our Everyday Language | Public Radio International
“Have you ever found yourself ‘sweating bullets’ because you were ‘under the gun’ at work? Ever hatched a ‘bulletproof’ plan? Or taken a ‘shot in the dark?’ Told a joke that totally ‘misfired?’ … We’re practically awash in ‘gun speak.'”
New Research Findings: People Who Say Society Is Too Politically Correct Tend Not to Have Experienced Discrimination | Demos
“The data are clear: those who acknowledge that discrimination exists and have experienced it themselves think society needs to become more sensitive to people from different backgrounds. Those who haven’t, don’t.”
“Lynching” Laws Were Meant to Protect Black People. Removing the Word Changed Everything | Pasadena Star-News
“Just changing the name makes it so we can’t call it what it is at trial,” [attorney Nana Gyamfi] said. “It would have been a lot different if people on the jury understood what they were looking at was ‘attempted lynching,’ instead of ‘attempted taking someone from the custody of police.’”
Political Correction: How “PC” and “Reclaimed” Words Got Their Start | Business 2 Community
“Reappropriation of ethnic and sexual slurs starts as an act of bravado by a few of the oppressed, then may become an empowering mechanism for a much wider community.”—Tony Thorne, curator of the Slang and New Language archive at Kings College
Converting Hidden Spiritual Racism Into Sacred Activism: An Open Letter to Spiritual White Folks | Virginia Rosenberg
Why conscious language must lead to conscious actions.
Dear Dana: I Really Want to Call Out People’s Racist, Sexist, and Homophobic Comments, but I’m Afraid | Role Reboot
“When someone says something you find abhorrent, you have a few options. One is to remain silent, which has not been working for you, one is to attack, one is to question, and one is to simply state what you believe.”
First, “eliminate the word ‘real’ from your vocabulary.”
We’re “sending messages about sex and consent all the time. Because of that, we need to make sure we’re not teaching [our kids] some very dangerous lessons, even if just by accident.”
“Lover,” “Partner,” “Main Squeeze”: Introducing Your Significant Other in the Age of Diversity | Role Reboot
“If you are in a social situation where you absolutely must introduce people according to their relationships, the safest bet is to ask them how they label themselves.”—Anne Penniston Grunsted
Dumb-Ass Stuff We Need to Stop Saying to Dads | The Huffington Post
“We need to stop talking about dads like they’re an inept accessory to parenting.”
“I like the freedom and flexibility” and more go-to responses for friends (or strangers) who question your decision to be a freelancer.
“Using ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ in everyday speech—be it as a throwaway adjective or an insult—can be hurtful to people who live with mental illness.”
Gender-Neutral Toys Still Have a Long Way to Go | Role Reboot
Many stores are desegregating the toy aisles. “Even online and clothing retailers are joining the movement. Amazon modified listings so children’s toys aren’t categorized by gender on its website.”
“A study of more than 1,200 state-level ballot questions that voters across the US were asked to approve between 1997 and 2007 found that, on average, they were written at a 17th-grade level…”
Marines Dropping “Man” From 19 Job Titles | Stars and Stripes
After a senior-level review, the Marine Corps will “shift to more gender-neutral names.” “Man” will be replaced by “Marine” in fifteen job titles and will be changed to reflect job specialties (e.g., “antitank gunner” instead of “antitank missleman”) in four others.
Why Do People Still Use the Word “Mistress”? A Reporter Reflects | The New York Times
“In article after article, Mr. Petraeus was called a ‘general,’ a ‘former commander’ and, as The Times put it, ‘the best-known military commander of his generation.’ The same Times article referred to Ms. Broadwell as ‘the mistress.'”
Lea DeLaria: LGBT Acronym Divides Community | Advocate
“Queer was once seen as a slur, and it still is considered a slur for many, but many millennials see it as a liberating word, especially if they don’t identify within the categories of gay or lesbian.”
“As well as simplifying content for readers, writing in plain language can be useful for bringing in more and better search engine traffic.”
“O Canada” Goes Gender-Neutral | The Atlantic
“The French-language version of the anthem, which uses different lyrics than its Anglophonic counterpart, is already gender-neutral.”
Heart to Heart: I’m Walking on Eggshells Around a Friend | Collier Citizen
How to be a good communicator while staying true to yourself—advice from certified life coach Laurie Martin.
“Cybersecurity terms, with their connotations of armed conflict, can make the digital world feel like a scary place, even for those in the profession.”
“Non Binary” Is Now a Legal Gender, Oregon Court Rules | The Daily Dot
“According to the website Nonbinary.org, other countries already federally recognize genders other than male and female—including Australia, Denmark, Nepal, and New Zealand.”
Putting legalese in plain language can be fun.
Calm Down, People. Focusing on “Guys” Misses the Point of #WordsAtWork | The Huffington Post
“Research tells us that inclusive work cultures are high performance cultures.”—CEO Lisa Annese, Diversity Council Australia
“[James Sudakow] not only advocates for speaking in plain English for his own sanity but articulates compelling reasons why doing so can have positive impacts on the work you do, the relationships you form, and even counterintuitively can help you be perceived as more credible.”
All Single-Stall Bathrooms in NYC to Become Gender Neutral Under Bill Passed by City Council | New York Daily News
Passed by a vote of 47-2, an NYC law will require business owners to take down the “men” and “women” signs on one-person bathrooms starting on Jan. 1.
The Mind: Less Puzzling in Chinese? | The New York Review of Books
“A deeper kind of worry about our fondness for nouns occurs to me: does it happen, perhaps, that speakers of English are drawn to believe that certain things exist because nouns that serve as their labels exist? Might it be only the labels that exist?”—Perry Link, author of “An Anatomy of Chinese”
Pick the Right Fights | Copyediting
Phrases that copy editors can rely on when pushing an issue.
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.