How to Speak Up Against Casual Hate

An outdoor cat yowls fiercely with eyes shut.We’ve all been there: A child jokes about having “chinky eyes” in a selfie. Your boss makes a transphobic remark, and everybody laughs. You hear a stranger mock someone’s appearance.

What can we do? Do we say something?

When casual ignorance and intolerance surface as we go about our daily lives, it’s important to remember one thing: We are not helpless. We all can do something about it and make an impact. Read more

In other news:

Voting with my actions,

Karen Yin

Writing About the “Alt-Right” | The Associated Press

“We should not limit ourselves to letting such groups define themselves, and instead should report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.”

What’s in a Word? History, Violence, and Erasure When the Words Are “Japanese Internment” and “Muslim Registry” | Rewire

“In addition to being incorrect, using the more genteel and urbane term ‘internment’ as a synonym for the harsher-sounding ‘mass incarceration’ makes it a harmful euphemism—the substitution of a benign, indirect, or vague word to hide something offensive, unpleasant, or embarrassing.”

Research Says There Are Ways to Reduce Racial Bias. Calling People Racist Isn’t One of Them. | Vox

“In 2016, researchers stumbled on a radical tactic for reducing another person’s bigotry: a frank, brief conversation.”

The Conversation You Must Have With Your Kids Today | Girl Scouts

“Make sure they know that even if everyone else is laughing at an inappropriate comment or joke, they don’t have to. This isn’t about being polite, it’s about standing up for what’s right.”

The Case Against Banning Offensive Words | The Atlantic

Instagram is “essentially outsourcing its housekeeping responsibilities to its users. But the move, with its embrace of subjective censorship, also acknowledges a broader linguistic phenomenon: ‘Offense’ itself is—and to some extent has become—a deeply individualized affair.”

Dear Readers: Please Stop Calling Us “The Media.” There Is No Such Thing. | The Washington Post

“Yes, in some sense, we are the media. But not in the blunt way you use the phrase. It’s so imprecise and generic that it has lost any meaning. It’s—how would you put this?—lazy and unfair.”

Why “LGBTQ” Will Replace “LGBT” | Time

“Media advocacy organization GLAAD is releasing the tenth edition of its style guide…which asks that all major media outlets use LGBTQ from now on. The ‘q’ stands for queer.”

A Guide to Writing Recommendation Letters That Aren’t Sexist | Quartz

“Letters written for women are often shorter, lack basic important features, and use language that is focused on stereotypically communal and feminine qualities like ‘caring’ and ‘compassionate.’ Letters lauding men focus more on accomplishments; the contrast can impact a candidate’s shot at landing a job.”

Corporate Writing Doesn’t Have to Sound Like It’s Written by Committee | Harvard Business Review

“Embrace a core set of values for written material. These values might include brevity, directness, and backing up statements with evidence.”

The Cruelty of Calling Older Adults “Sweetie” or “Honey” | Twin Cities Public Television

“Most will tell you they believe it conveys a sense of caring or nurturing when they lapse into using child-like vocabulary or refer to those adults as ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie.’… But that doesn’t take away the sting when it happens.”

The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names | National Education Association

“Overlooking or downplaying the significance of getting a name right, explains Rita Kohli, assistant professor of education at the University of California at Riverside, is one of those ‘microagressions’ that can emerge in a classroom and seriously undermine learning.”

The Marginalization of Brown Asians: It’s Even Worse Than We Thought | The Huffington Post

“We want to be represented in media so that our realities and experiences, struggles and victories, pains and joys—a more complete and nuanced portrait of us—can be shared with society.”

I Write About Action, Adventure. Don’t Tell Me I Write Like a Man | DailyO

“When I’m told that I write action like a man, it feels as though all that effort has been reduced to the singularity of gender, a simple question: Had I been a man, would I have done a better job?”

How to Be Friends With Someone Who’s Depressed | The Mighty

“Commenting, texting, reposting and retweeting have become substitutes for communication, and we often erroneously use these to gauge the status of a relationship…. Reach out IRL. Don’t think that replying to a text with three heart emoji is offering help.”

Language Matters to Chico State’s Student-Athlete Leaders | Chico State

“Everyone is welcome here. We are a family. We want everyone to feel included, and we want our language to reflect that.”—Haley Kroll, Chico State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) co-president

Decolonizing Nostalgia: When Historical Fiction Betrays Readers of Color | The Horn Book

“Omitting nonwhites from episodic historical fiction and the everyday history that informs our lives today says that the only contribution by people of color to society is conflict.”

“Obama’s People” and “the African Americans”: Using the Language of Othering | The Huffington Post

“It matters not only what we call ourselves, but what others call us. These are not just labels; they indicate different social positions. As such, they not only situate and affect blacks, but also whites. This dance is relational even if it is not symmetrical.”

This Teen Has Just Got the First Ever Bank to Welcome Nonbinary Customers | BuzzFeed

“Customers will have three gender options when they open an account with Metro Bank: male, female, or nonbinary, with the option to use the title Mx, popular among people who don’t identify as male or female.”

Why I Don’t Like Being Called a “Gender Neutral Parent” | Role Reboot

“By calling us ‘gender-neutralists,’ opponents paint parents who want the best for their children as extremists. They use the term ‘gender-neutral’ to suggest that our children live a dull, beige, ‘genderless’ existence. How disingenuous to label people who raise their children in a spirit of fun and freedom, with a term that evokes an image of bland extremism.”

Why the Term “Marijuana” Is Contentious in the U.S. | Merry Jane

“Using the scientific term ‘cannabis’ is both a reproach of the racist roots and a means to remove the stigma and reclassify the plant in the minds of those who’ve been taught a negative association.”

How to Take “Bitch” Down: What The New York Times Gets Right and Wrong About the Controversial Word | Salon

“The question of whether ‘bitch’ qualifies as a slur, however, turns out to be quite complicated.”

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Judgmental Words | Ragan’s PR Daily

“These ‘judgments’ can be adjectives, phrases or verb tenses. They’re often tucked into a news story, an editorial or part of an otherwise neutral delivery… These words add value judgments to our writing and often say more about the authors than their subjects.”

Who Gets to Write What? | The New York Times

“Imagine the better, stronger fiction that could be produced if writers took this challenge to stretch and grow one’s imagination, to afford the same depth of humanity and interest and nuance to characters who look like them as characters who don’t, to take those stories seriously and actually think about power when writing—how much further fiction could go as art.”

How to Raise Kinder, Less Entitled Kids (According to Science) | The Washington Post

“Just talking about ‘How do you think that person is feeling?’ is so important. It’s a way of un-centering our kids’ universe and getting them thinking outside of themselves.”—Amy McCready, author of “The ‘Me, Me, Me’ Epidemic”

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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