From the World of Conscious Language
When Should You Name COVID-19 Patients and Other Ethical Decisions U.S. Newsrooms Will Face This Week | Poynter
“Avoid distortions. One grocery store may be out of toilet paper. But if two more stores in the same neighborhood are stocked, then the image of an empty shelf is the exception, not the rule.”
How to Name a Coronavirus | Columbia Journalism Review
“Journalists have the responsibility to put things in context…Reporting as if [COVID-19] were the end of the world is an epidemic of a different kind.”
Reporting on Coronavirus | Reframe
Two new guides on how to cover the coronovirus accurately and responsibly.
“There’s a big mismatch between what scientists, journalists, and activists are saying and what the public understands.”
The Use of Jargon Kills People’s Interest in Science, Politics | Ohio State News
“People who read no-jargon versions felt more empowered.”
How Language Is Deployed as a Weapon of War | Mother Jones
Examining the role of euphemisms, such as defense, casualty, readiness, and collateral damage.
Why Diversity and Inclusion at Conferences Matter | Chemistry World
“Opening remarks are important for setting an inclusive and welcoming tone, and can highlight and normalise the services available, such as quiet rooms or lactation rooms.”
“Garbage language can also smooth the edges of difficult interactions or help people save necessary face…Why is it such a problem if we show compassion this way in a business setting?”
When Does Someone Become “Old”? | The Atlantic
“‘Older’ may be catching on because it seems to irritate the smallest number of people.”
These Children’s Books Get Aging Right | Next Avenue
“Children’s books that dismiss ageism and portray loving and fun intergenerational relationships…are powerful in developing a child’s worldview of aging and longevity.”
No, E! News, Blue Ivy Isn’t an “Adult,” She’s Still a Little Girl. Address Her as Such. | HelloBeautiful
“Little Black girls have not been allowed to be their age and are deemed as ‘grown’ or ‘fast’ in ways that rob our babies of their innocence and girlhood. Not only are they sexualized way too soon, but…they are often punished harsher than their white counterparts, especially in schools.”
What Can You Learn From Studying The Washington Post’s Death Notices? A Lot, as One Avid Reader Found Out. | The Washington Post
“The first thing that struck Betty [Walters] were all the different ways people avoided using the D-word: ‘died.’”
Newly Released Coming Out Guide Is Valuable Resource for Black LGBTQ+ People | Changing America
“The resource also discusses the ways in which black LGBTQ+ people must contend with the realities of systemic racism and anti-blackness that influence all facets of their daily lives—including their LGBTQ+ identities.”
This Lawmaker Wants to Remove the Words “Illegal Alien” From the Law | The New York Times
“Other pejorative terms have been removed from government documents as people better understood the hurtful connotations.”
Wellesley College Must Rethink Its Exclusionary Language Surrounding Gender | The Wellesley News
“We cannot stay silent as our non-binary and transgender siblings are stripped of their humanity by being excluded from something as crucial as language.”
“A lot of language about gender and sexual diversity has originated from the English because Francophone Quebecers have found in it words that fit their identities.”
“It’s an important consideration to be conscious of the unintentional impact that authoritative resources like the dictionary can have on historically marginalised groups.” —Katherine Martin, head of language content and data, Oxford University Press
CSG in the News
Living in Parasite Country as Asian/American | Blog // Los Angeles Review of Books
“Asian American transnational thinking has grappled with this misrepresentation, and advocated for studies of Asia/America beyond the racial hyphenation of Asian-America where Chaw is stuck. (Part of this has to do with the Times holding out on hyphenating Asian-American as a style issue in spite of the movement to drop the hyphen).” Thanks, BLARB, for linking to Conscious Style Guide‘s “Drop the Hyphen in Asian American.”
From the Archives
Conscious Language in “The American Heritage Dictionary” | Conscious Style Guide
Under Steve Kleinedler’s leadership, The American Heritage Dictionary was “a quiet force for progress in conscious language.”
In Case You Missed It
Why newsrooms are rethinking mugshots, crazy isn’t always ableist, and gaming needs gender-neutral pronouns.
Visit the Database of Diverse Databases!
Content + Context = Conscious Language
Follow @consciousstyleguide on Instagram for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on young-adult books and kidlit.
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.