From the World of Conscious Language

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

Why the Term “BIPOC” Is So Complicated, Explained by Linguists | Vox

“When people find themselves struggling to find the best language to talk about identities, [PhD linguistics student deandre miles-hercules] argues that they should think more critically about what exactly they are trying to say.”

The Durian Fiasco: How a Story About Asian Fruits Sparked a Debate on Orientalism | Vice

“The Times’ article sparked a heated online conversation about Western coverage of Asian food, and it’s sometimes allegedly problematic tendency to traffic in colonial, orientalist tropes.”

Washington NFL Team Name Change Shows This Was Always About More Than Just a Name | Think

“Native mascots are the dehumanization and commodification of a still living, still persecuted race of people.”

Removing “Blackface Episodes” Is Easy. Actually Confronting Racism in Media Isn’t | CNN

“As a scholar who works on racial caricature, I can’t help but feel that pulling these episodes demonstrates a mere surface engagement with this history, and an inability to recognize precisely what makes racist representations injurious.”

Weeding Out Racism’s Invisible Roots: Rethinking Children’s Classics | School Library Journal

“I’m not advocating we ban classics. Or erase the past…I’m just suggesting we study classics in social studies classrooms, where inherent ideas of inequity are exposed and examined.”

Uppercasing “Black” | The New York Times

“The term ‘brown’ as a racial or ethnic description should also generally remain lowercase and should be used with care…A more specific description is generally best.”

Microaggressions Are a Big Deal: How to Talk Them Out and When to Walk Away | NPR

“When they’re really asked to explain what they’re trying to say, that’s where, you know, they have to think about it and sometimes even retract…because they don’t want to perpetuate something that isn’t actually who they are.”


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Github Plans to Replace Racially Insensitive Terms Like “Master” and “Whitelist” | The Next Web

“This is a positive step from the tech community to change racially suggestive terms to support the Black Lives Matter movement. However, it might be ineffective if major programming languages across the world don’t adopt this nomenclature.”

The Word Nerd Reckoning | Slate

“The question of whether the appearance of slurs in that space should be troubling or not is dividing players of the game.”

“Thug Kitchen” Rebrands Following Accusations of Cultural Appropriation and “Digital Blackface” | Vegan Food & Living

The two White founders of Thug Kitchen “relied heavily on their use of Black English and hip-hop vernacular in the captions of their posts and cookbooks.”

Criticism of Skin Lighteners Brings Retreat by Unilever and Johnson & Johnson | The New York Times

Unilever says that it plans to “remove the words ‘fair/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening’ from product packaging and communications and change the name of its Fair & Lovely brand.”

A Debate Over Identity and Race Asks, Are African-Americans “Black” or “black”? | The New York Times

“Many say the country is long overdue to standardize the use of the uppercase B in black, which has been commonly used at black media outlets for a long time.”

Yalitza Sparks a Conversation About the Derogatory Term “Prieta” | Mitú

Yalitza Aparicio”s reclaiming of the word “prieta” “has sparked conversations about whether it is okay for non-Black people (no matter how dark or light) to use or claim the term.”

Have You Ever Heard of a “Raw and Toolsy,” “Well-Spoken” White Player? | Deadspin

“The more that we learn about how people actually experience the things we write about and speak about, it makes us better describers and writers and teachers.” —Kelly Wright, doctoral student of linguistics

Op-Ed: Those Who Exercise Free Speech Should Also Defend It—Even When It’s Offensive | Los Angeles Times

“When people in high government positions invoke free speech to protect bigotry, it’s no wonder some people begin to question whether the 1st Amendment is just a smokescreen for noxious ideas.”


CSG in the News

Ableism in Writing and Everyday Language | Rabbit With a Red Pen

“Think about how taking these small steps can create a different experience in an ableist world.”

Conscious Content Management: Where Business Transformation Begins | CMSWire

Conscious language means “being thoughtful and aware when creating—and sharing—content.”


From the Archives

Capitalizing for Equality | Conscious Style Guide

“By capitalizing black and white, we also make necessary distinctions between color and race—black hair and Black hair—similar to distinguishing between native and Native. Don’t wait for your style guide to catch up.”


In Case You Missed It

Gender, Sex + Sexuality: Resources

Check out the new style guide from the Trans Journalists Association in the Gender, Sex + Sexuality section of Conscious Style Guide.

The Conscious Language Newsletter: June 2020

Read about Merriam-Webster’s plans to update the definition of “racism,” why “unarmed Black man” doesn’t mean what you think it means, and how sharing videos can be a form of “pain porn” and repetitive trauma for Black people.


Need an Editorial Pro of Color?

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. Also home to the Database of Diverse Databases, now with 70 resources featuring underrepresented communities!

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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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