The Conscious Language Newsletter: May 2024

Reclaiming and reframing narratives.

MAY 2024

Graphic with white background features the navy-blue cover of The Conscious Style Guide. At the top: “Change the way you think about inclusive language.” To the left of the cover: Little, Brown Spark logo with an S shaped like a sunburst and “Everywhere May 28” beneath it. At the bottom: “Learn more” in red with and arrow pointing right.

A Message From the Founder

Headshot of me, a light-skinned Chinese American woman with lng, wavy hair, in a blood-red V-neck top. I am looking at the camera with he tiniest smile.

Today is publication day! The Conscious Style Guide is now available in the U.S. and Canada as a hardcover, an ebook, and an audiobook. Because so many of you preordered (thank you!), Little, Brown Spark has already gone back to press for another printing. If my flexible approach to conscious and inclusive language resonates with you, please spread the word by leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. Some good news for readers in the U.K., Australia, or New Zealand: The U.K. edition will be published in June.

P.S. Click here to read a review by Erin Brenner, author of The Chicago Guide for Freelance Editors.

From the World of Conscious Language

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


How Leaders and Advocates Can Reclaim the Narrative Around DEI

“By consistently using your chosen terminology and defending it, you maintain clarity and control over the narrative, preventing your opponent from dictating the terms of the discussion.” Read >


Words Matter: Reframing Neurodivergence in Science, Medicine and Society

“Is autism a superpower? Or is it a characteristic lack of empathy? These and other descriptors—together with a past tendency to view neurodivergent people as needing ‘fixing’—are in fact unhelpful and even damaging.” Read >


“Lazy”, “Messy”, “Smart”: How Labels Affect a Child’s Personality Development

“Experts have found a link between child labelling and the Pygmalion effect, showing there is a high probability that adults’ expectations become self fulfilling prophecies.” Read >


Here’s How I Talk to My Students About Pronouns, Including My Own

“When people talk about trans and nonbinary educators, they often assume that we’re getting in kids’ faces, correcting pronouns resentfully, talking about gender in a way inappropriate for their age, and forcing students to be who they’re not. The truth is it’s far more mundane.” Read >


Here’s Why the Makers of “Ghostbusters” Called in a Muslim “Cultural Consultant”

Cultural consultants provide input that “helps filmmakers navigate potential pitfalls, avoid stereotypes, and portray diverse communities with nuance and sensitivity.” Read >


Lily Gladstone Is Not Two-Spirit. They Just Use Rolling Pronouns

“Because Two-Spirit refers to specific cultural roles within Native communities, it is not the same as being Indigenous and trans, or Indigenous and nonbinary, or Indigenous and queer. While Two-Spirit people can also be trans, queer, or nonbinary, being Two-Spirit is its own category of identity.” Read >


“Baby Reindeer” Highlights Sexual Violence Against Men—but Feels Indifferent to Viewer Safety

“We should rethink how content advisories are used, and whether they truly inform viewers or absolve creators of deeper ethical responsibilities.” Read >


Covering Protests Over the War in Gaza? Here’s What Journalists Should Be Asking Themselves

“Use ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ with caution. Or avoid them all-together. Instead, describe what protesters are hoping to accomplish.” Read >


How Inclusive Language Can Help to Reduce Birth Trauma

“Many people want a simple recipe for inclusive language: a set of instructions they can follow in every case, for example, ‘replace all gendered terms with gender neutral terms’. But a simple recipe like this doesn’t always give the best results.” Read >


How to Cite AI

“The editors of The Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Handbook, and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association have all published blog posts on how they want writers to format this kind of citation.” Read >

CSG in the News

Editors Advise: Inclusive Language Resources

Five editors share their go-to inclusive language resources, both in print and online. Read >

DEI in Marketing: 11 Ways to Make Content More Inclusive

“Marketing exists at the unique intersection of reflecting real life and shaping it. DEI [diversity, equity, inclusion] in marketing accomplishes both: It shows that you’re aware of the different backgrounds that comprise our world while actively celebrating and solidifying that fact.” Read >

6 Tips for Using Gender-Inclusive Language in Business Communications

“There’s a subtle but important difference between gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language. Although they may be used interchangeably, ‘neutral’ implies not taking a stance. On the other hand, ‘inclusion’ is an active affirmation of all identities.” Read >

New and Notable on CSG

Writing Consciously About Animals

A primer on reframing language to advocate for non-human animals. Visit Miscellaneous >

From the Archives

From Bias and Blame to Balance: Sensitive Style for Covering Sexual Violence

“Question irrelevant or gendered descriptions of the victim; being attractive, drunk, flirty, promiscuous, or all of the above doesn’t make the victim deserving of sexual assault.” Read >

In Case You Missed It

In the April 2024 newsletter…

• Hollywood’s New Fantasy: A Magical, Colorblind Past
• In Defense of Man: Has the Hate Men Trend Gone Too Far?
• Why Scrapping the Term “Long COVID” Would Be Harmful for People With the Condition

Stuff to Buy

Photo of an ocean-blue tee on a white-washed fence.

Photo by Uni-T.

You Need This T-Shirt! Play, work, and sleep in the super soft “Make Peace With Words” T-shirt. Choose from a variety of colors. (Fitted shirts available in XXS through XXL, and straight-cut shirts available in XS through XXL.) Hand-printed with love. Your purchase supports two small businesses owned by women of color. Why make peace? Read the article!

Shop for Diverse Picture Books: On, find exceptional picture books that spread understanding, compassion, and joy through diverse representation.

Graphic illustration showing a medium-brown-skinned child with pigtails reading a book in front of a rainbow.

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.

Did Someone Forward This to You?

Get The Conscious Language Newsletter in your in-box!
There’s no other newsletter like it.

Black text with a chunky hive logo