From the World of Conscious Language

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


People Keep Sharing the Video of George Floyd. Some Activists and Mental Health Professionals Are Calling It “Pain Porn” and Begging Them to Stop. | Insider

“By sharing these videos, you’re desensitizing white folks who already are taught to trivialize black lives from a white supremacist system, and now kind of continue that repetitive trauma for black folks.” —Queen-Cheyenne Wade, organizer and educator

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Will Update Their Definition of “Racism” Thanks to a Recent College Grad | Teen Vogue

“It’s not just ‘I don’t like someone,’ it’s a system of oppression for a certain group of people.” —Kennedy Mitchum

“Unarmed Black Man” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means | NPR

“Language itself is complicated and it changes context…The same language that works in one setting doesn’t work in another setting.” —Karen Yin, founder, Conscious Style Guide

Should We Capitalize “Black”? Publications Should Be Talking About It | National Association of Independent Writers and Editors

“One issue with capitalizing Black is what do we do with White? Some argue that the latter is not as distinctive as a self-identified group…But leaving white lowercase risks presenting one race as the norm.”

How Do You Sign “Black Lives Matter” in ASL? For Black Deaf Angelenos, It’s Complicated | Los Angeles Times

“Many still end the phrase with the gesture for ‘worthy’ or ‘important’…But the death of George Floyd and the national uprising that has followed caused many black deaf Americans to once again reconsider the phrase.”

Do’s and Don’ts of Covering Protests | Poynter

“Context matters. The WHY is this happening is just as important as the WHAT is happening.”

How to Be a Buddhist Protester | The Same Old Zen

From mindful language (known as Right Speech) to documenting events, Zen Buddhist teacher Alex Kakuyo offers guidance on ways Buddhists can help during protests.

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The Language Around Homelessness Is Finally Changing | Curbed

On the West Coast, “one of the preferred terms is ‘unhoused,’ which denotes that people are being pushed out of their dwelling units by inequitable housing policies.”

Coronavirus Bullying Is a Thing. Here’s How Parents Can Deal | Today

“Bullying is modeled…Our voice and behavior become the kids’ voice and behavior.” —Dr. Michele Borba, Today parenting expert

Maybe It’s Time to Retire the Idea of “Going Viral” | MIT Technology Review

“Whether the current situation lasts or not, there are other reasons to question whether ‘viral’ is appropriate language for content on the internet.”

TV Stations Ran an Amazon Press Release as a News Story Just in Time for the Company’s Shareholder Meeting | Poynter

“Even using the video with attribution does not release journalists from pointing out that Amazon’s safety claims are at odds with warehouse worker’s claims.”

The Internet Makes It Easier (and Harder) to Find Original Sources | Grammar Girl

“In the past, an attribution was only likely to become widespread if it appeared in print, and this limited the possibilities. Today, it only takes one careless tweet or blog, and repetition on a huge scale sets in.”

CSG in the News

Jane’s Electric Speed List (June 13, 2020) | Jane Friedman

“An invaluable resource.” —Jane Friedman about Conscious Style Guide
For more digital tools and resources for writers, get Jane’s “Electric Speed” newsletter.

The Scout Report: Vol. 26, No. 19 | The Scout Report

One of the Internet’s oldest publications, The Scout Report has been sharing the editors’ picks of best web-based resources since 1994.

How to Write a Stylebook in 2020 | The Fordham Ram

“While publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal still instruct that writers refer to individuals with the gendered honorific titles of ‘Mr.,’ ‘Ms.,’ etc., resources like the Conscious Style Guide show the errors of using such modifiers. Steve Bien-Aimé wrote…that honorifics can imply that one’s gender holds more importance over any one of their other traits.” Read Steve’s article: “Rethinking Courtesy Titles in Obituaries.”

5 Steps Freelance Book Editors Can Take to Combat Racism | Editorial Arts Academy

Steps include reading actively, editing better, and seeking out diversity.

How to Do Diverse and Inclusive Content Marketing That Matters | Word Wow

“Diversity and inclusion are important. But they can’t be incorporated into your content marketing with a checklist or an image. They require embracing the opportunity to think differently and genuinely valuing the inclusion of diverse voices in your content marketing.”

From the Archives

Moving Beyond “Default” Language in Pop-Culture Criticism | Conscious Style Guide

On the practice of assuming that straightness and Whiteness are culturally neutral.

In Case You Missed It

Ethnicity, Race + Nationality: Resources

The Ethnicity, Race + Nationality section of Conscious Style Guide offers helpful resources on covering communities of color and police killings.

The Conscious Language Newsletter: May 2020

Read about language that empowers communities in times of crisis.

70 Databases to Expand Your World

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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Hey, Writers!

Follow @consciousstyleguide on Instagram for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on young-adult books and kidlit.

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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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