The Conscious Language Newsletter: March 2023

From the World of Conscious Language

“The scientists and people making decisions around these events generally understand the multitude of ‘unnatural’ causes that turn these events into disasters. However, these unnatural influences may not be understood by the majority of people who consume the media coverage of these events and who vote decisionmakers into power.”

“Don’t assume what a source may need. Offer an array of different ways the interview can be conducted; by video call with captioning, phone, texting, or in-person, whichever is most accessible and comfortable to the interviewee.”

“The move comes nearly two years after The Associated Press similarly changed the spelling in its widely used style guide. It also reflects an ongoing push by many American Jewish organizations to spell ‘antisemitism’ without the capital S.”

“In a historic decision aimed at accuracy and reconciliation, the Los Angeles Times announced Thursday that it would drop the use of ‘internment’ in most cases to describe the mass incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Instead, The Times will generally use ‘incarceration,’ ‘imprisonment,’ ‘detention’ or their derivatives.”

“‘Ma’am’ is generally considered to be a polite term to address a woman, but depending on the region or context, it can mean the exact opposite.”

“Though it usually strikes me as pejorative when able-minded people call me ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘a schizophrenic,’ it also bothers me when the many schizophrenia advocates without direct lived experience—caregivers, family members, and doctors—correct me when I refer to myself that way.”

“It’s time to bring back ‘youse.’ Once rejected as reactionary, it’s turned out to be more progressive than its replacement…Youse can use youse, too. Every one of youse.”

Left side: Screenshot of CSG homepage. Right side:

“Sometimes the comments come as a joke about being ‘over the hill’ or ‘teaching an old dog new tricks.’ Other times they are coded language about being ‘overqualified’ for a new opportunity. But ageist comments, even when disguised as humor, can be demoralizing and could signal more serious bias problems in the workplace.”

“When a child was born in the ancient Jewish world it could be designated as a boy, a girl, a ‘tumtum’ (who is neither clearly male nor female), or an ‘androgynos’ (who has both male and female characteristics) based on physical features.”

“Language matters, and changing a few of our street signs from colonial languages like English and French to Indigenous languages like Cree, Ojibwe and Michif is a small act of reconciliation that can have a meaningful impact.”

“Jewish communities are increasingly fearful that the danger is not just words, but could lead to deadly violence.”

“We also know that inclusive communication, including words, images, and accessibility, is just one way to promote inclusion. To create a more inclusive newsroom, C&EN will need to diversify its staff, share stories that celebrate the diversity of chemical scientists, and continue to foster a culture that encourages continuous learning and feedback.”

An overview of ableist language, including euphemisms and language that focuses on limitations.

“Web accessibility isn’t only for people who are blind or deaf. You’ll also need to consider users with ADHD, autism, memory impairments, stress disorders, and other conditions.”

“If you can create a focused experience that works better for someone with ADHD, it works for everyone—whereas the inverse of that isn’t true, therefore excluding an estimated 20% of the world’s population, who are believed to be neurodivergent.”

From the Archives

“When something an author writes doesn’t ring true, feasible, or authentic to the reader, the reader may end up questioning what else the author got wrong. This breaks the necessary trust between author and reader.”

In Case You Missed It

Rejecting the “free speech” frame, retiring the term “blind review,” and understanding what “Don’t Become the Expert in the Baby” means.

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 [email protected].