The Conscious Language Newsletter: April 2024

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APRIL 2024

From the World of Conscious Language

Note: The authors' viewpoints are not necessarily shared by CSG.


Author Lindy West Wants You to Think About These Five Things When You Meet a “Fat” Person

“[Lindy] West explained that she and others in the fat liberation space don’t like the word obese because it unnecessarily medicalizes them.” Read >


Does Hollywood Have a Pain Problem? Study of Netflix Finds That Depictions of Pain in TV and Movies Could Be Reinforcing Stereotypes

In adolescent media, “characters generally didn’t respond to other people experiencing pain in an empathic way or with prosocial behaviors like distraction, sharing, helping, vocal sympathy, physical comfort.” Read >


Hollywood’s New Fantasy: A Magical, Colorblind Past

“There is nothing wrong with dreaming of things that never were, but we shouldn’t use that power to pretend bad things didn’t happen.” Read >


Autistic Literature Will Flourish When We Stop Insisting That Writers Qualify Their Autism

“There’s an implicit insistence that autistic writers do one of two impossible things: 1) exactly recreate the reader’s own, hyper-individual autistic experience; or 2) write autofiction so laden with their own pain and misery that the reader must drop their criticism and concede to the writer the title of Perfect Sufferer.” Read >


Striving for Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing

“We noticed that a set of standards for winning entries began to organically emerge. Typically, the best labels shared the ‘3 Cs’ of quality label copy. They were clear, concise, and captivating.” Read >


Why Scrapping the Term “Long COVID” Would Be Harmful for People With the Condition

“Naming a new condition is a step towards better recognition of people’s suffering, and hopefully, better diagnosis, health care, treatment and acceptance by others.” Read >


Is it Time to Retire the Term “Clean Energy”?

“[Eric Gimon, a senior fellow at Energy Innovation] uses the shorthand ‘clean enough’ to explain why some technologies can be described as clean even if they are not 100 percent clean on a lifecycle basis.” Read >

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Download the introduction to The Conscious Style Guide: A Flexible Approach to Language That Includes, Respects, and Empowers, by Karen Yin.


Let’s Be Accountable About the Word “Accountability”

“When we allow ‘accountability’ to frame discussions about [juvenile justice], we are distracted from those things that can be measured and, like age-appropriate support and services, are effective at changing youthful behavior.” Read >


Marketers, Here Is Why the Term “Marginalized” Is Uncomfortable but Necessary

“This is in no way an attempt to say that marginalized communities are only shaped by or relegated to be defined by the systemic circumstances that have affected their existence. There are so many more layers to who they are, including joy and ingenuity, alongside resilience and perseverance. The term ‘marginalized’ instead honors them and anchors their story in its truth.” Read >


In Defense of Man: Has the Hate Men Trend Gone Too Far?

“By tearing down individual men, you are not affecting the system that has put them in a position of power.” Read >


2 Common Work Questions That Are Secretly Ageism in Disguise

“Even if you are younger, you cannot escape ageism. Assumptions about your capabilities or seniority based on your age (or a younger appearance) can be rampant in the workplace, often undermining people’s skills.” Read >


What Do Demigender, Demiboy and Demigirl Mean? Key LGBTQ+ Terms Explained

“Demigender is an umbrella term that usually includes non-binary gender identities. Demigender may include: demigirl, demiboy, demienby, demiandrogyne and demitrans.” Read >


AI Chatbots Use Racist Stereotypes Even After Anti-Racism Training

“The researchers even showed that the larger AI systems demonstrated more covert prejudice against African American English speakers than the smaller models did. That echoes previous research showing how bigger AI training datasets can produce even more racist outputs.” Read >


Disability-Affirming Language: Person-First Versus Identity-First Language

“While person-first language is still commonly used by governments, in medical spheres, and by disability advocacy organizations, many in the disability community now believe that person-first language considers disability to be an inherent negative.” Read >

New and Notable on CSG

The Problem With Aspberger’s

“For an eponymous diagnosis, Asperger merits neither the credit nor the honor—and in fact, other conditions named after physicians found to have participated in Nazi extermination now go by other terms, such as Reiter Syndrome (reactive arthritis).” Visit Ability + Disability >

From the Archives

Drop the Hyphen in “Asian American”

“Many of the then-new guidelines that drew such ire are commonplace and generally accepted in the wider culture today. The passage of time, in that sense, is the great unifier, more powerful than any punctuation or stylebook could ever be.”—Henry Fuhrmann. Read >

In Case You Missed It

In the March 2024 newsletter…

This edition features articles about slurs in order to help readers avoid language that may have unintended impacts and associations.

Stuff to Buy

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Other Resources

Join Our Online Community: Are you on Facebook? Join the Conscious Language + Design Facebook Group to learn, share, and chat with others who are curious or serious about conscious language.

Find Editors of Color: The Editors of Color Database helps recruiters connect with editors, proofreaders, and sensitivity readers of color in the U.S. and Canada. You can submit job listings for distribution to our private network and explore the 100+ resources in Diverse Databases, which highlights underrepresented groups. Diversify your sources now!

Get More Tips on Instagram: Follow @ConsciousStyleGuide for examples of context that supports sensitive content.

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