From the World of Conscious Language

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


Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers | Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Alternatives to “special needs,” “high/low functioning,” “treatment,” “cure,” “epidemic,” and other ableist terms.

Oxford Dictionaries Amends “Sexist” Definitions of the Word “Woman” | The Guardian

“The petition called for all phrases and definitions that ‘discriminate and patronise’ or ‘connote men’s ownership’ of women to be eliminated.”

“Jew” Isn’t a Derogatory Term. So Why Do So Many People Avoid Saying It? | Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“‘Jew’ is not a slur. It is a descriptor most Jews will use without a moment’s thought.”

A Gender Neutral Spanish Pronoun? For Some, “Elle” Is the Word. | HuffPost

“Elle” is “an essential step in recognizing and including the experience of trans and nonbinary persons and to start exiting the gender binarism that generates so much social and political violence.” —Laura Torres-Rodriguez, associate professor, NYU

Kamala Versus Daenerys | The.Ink

“Mispronunciation is people trying too feebly and in vain to say our names—and dispronunciation is people saying our names incorrectly on purpose, as if to remind us whose country this really is.”

How COVID-19 Exposes a Disability Reporting Gap | Poynter

“Nondisabled reporters continue to use euphemisms such as ‘special needs’ or ‘preexisting conditions’ when what they’re actually referring to is disability.” —Alice Wong, founder and director, Disability Visibility Project

Why Should Trans People Trust Non-Trans Authors to Lead the Conversation About Our Identities? | The Guardian

“There are ways of advocating for trans people that don’t require writing a book attempting to capture their experiences. Sometimes, it just means knowing how to take a step back.”

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A New Hippocratic Oath Asks Doctors to Fight Racial Injustice and Misinformation | NPR

Reciting their own versions of the Hippocratic oath “may spur medical students to consider more deeply professional ethics and their sense of mission.”

The Rise of Gender-Inclusive Pronouns and Language in Literature | We Need Diverse Books

“This kind of space-making can be life-saving as we move through a world where we often struggle to be seen and supported.”

Conversation About Suicide Prevention Leads to Safe Gun Storage, Study Finds | UW News

“The research by Forefront Suicide Prevention…found that engaging people in a community-based setting, in an empathetic conversation focused on safety, resulted in more people locking up their firearms.”

In Many Asian Languages, “LGBTQ” Doesn’t Translate. Here’s How Some Fill the Gaps. | NBC News

“For instance, some in the Filipino transgender community have started using the words ‘transpinoy’ and ‘transpinay’—which build off the words for ‘Filipino’ and ‘Filipina’ used by people in the Filipino diaspora.”

Study Finds University Recreation Programs Severely Lacking in Disability-Inclusive Language, Images | Medical Xpress

“If a college has no pictures of people with disabilities using its gym facilities, or its website still uses outdated terms like ‘handicapped,’ [study coauthor Brad Cardinal] said that sends an implicit message to people with disabilities: ‘This program doesn’t really care about me.’”

Can a Bill Have a Gender? Feminine Wording Exposes a Rift | The New York Times

“Although language is not considered the most important battlefield for those fighting for a fairer and more inclusive society in Germany, the debate over the draft bill is the latest chapter in the long struggle for equality.”

Why Questions (Good and Bad) Matter | The Conversation

“Asking questions is not just for kids or students or philosophers. Everybody needs to inquire critically and to be tolerant of the apparent ignorance of others.”


Conscious Style Guide founder Karen Yin will be speaking at the following events:
“KidLit Community Resources” panel at Picture Book Palooza, organized by Children’s Book Academy (December 5, 2020)
“Style Matters: What Happens When Social Change Hits the Stylebook?” panel at Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP 2020), organized by Journalism and Women Symposium (December 6, 2020)

CSG in the News

Writing Like You’re Woke: There’s a Guide for That | ForbesWomen

“Because we believe that content and context work together, we avoid a one-word-fits-all approach. Instead, we encourage you to immerse yourself in these ongoing conversations about language so you can come to your own conclusion about what is more effective for you and your audience.” —Conscious Style Guide

How to Find Inclusive Style Guides That Lead to More Thoughtful Writing | The Freelancer

Thinking of style guides as rules rather than guidance “treats language as if there is a single ‘correct’ way to use it. But that’s not how language works, and that’s not how style guides are meant to work either.” —Alex Kapitan, Radical Copyeditor

How to Create More Inclusive Surveys | SurveyMonkey

“As you write survey questions, try not to center certain ideas or identities as ‘normal’…[such as] assuming that your respondents have a college degree, a job, or a house—privileges that likely don’t apply to your entire audience.”

Textio’s Latest Targets Non-Inclusive Language in Employer Branding Content | Toolbox

“While Textio has introduced a unique product that functions as the Grammarly for non-inclusive language, the very fact that language must be inclusive is not unknown. For instance, several guides break down exclusive language into various categories, beyond gender to include age and disability, such as Conscious Style Guide.”

Takeaways From the UX Writer Conference | Drupalize.Me

“The idea of being actively empathetic—that is, putting yourself in some else’s perspective, in the micro moments that make up everything from UX design and tutorial making to social posts—is key.”

What I’m Doing to Build Anti-Racism Into My Business | Sohuis

“As I work on unlearning racism in my personal life and interactions with the world, I want my business to transform alongside me.”

From the Archives

Are All Grandmothers Amazing Cooks? | Conscious Style Guide

It’s time for the food media to start representing grandmothers as multifaceted people—instead of making sweeping generalizations and assumptions about them.

In Case You Missed It

Does the Dog Die?

The latest addition to Conscious Style Guide’s Creative Writing section is Does the Dog Die?, a crowdsourced website that tracks 70+ categories of emotional spoilers in movies, TV shows, and other media to help people avoid specific upsetting topics.

The Conscious Language Newsletter: October 2020

Searching for body positivity in fantasy, describing women without degrading them, and writing about a White character’s race so Whiteness isn’t the default.

Submit Job Listings for Free!

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.It’s also free to submit job listings for distribution to our network of editorial pros. The Editors of Color website is home to the Database of Diverse Databases, now with nearly 75 resources featuring underrepresented communities!

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Hey, Kidlit Authors and Editors!

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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