Bias-Free Language: Celebrate Diversity

"Bias-free language means using terms that treat people with respect. Sometimes it means leaving out certain kinds of words altogether, such as not describing someone's physical characteristics when doing so serves no purpose."

-- Malinda McCain
Editor

 

Related Links

Quiz
Choose the most appropriate word from a list. Provided by Language Portal of Canada.

Quiz
Correct a sentence by using gender neutral language and compare your version to the quiz’s version. Prepared by Shannon Puglisi, a student in Professor Karyn Hollis's Tutor Training course at Villanova University in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Gender-neutral language tips
Avoiding sexist mistakes without introducing grammatical or stylistic ones. Dennis G. Jerz, Associate Professor English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Guidelines for gender-fair use of language
Includes options for making language more inclusive when quoting from passages that are dated and/or contain nonequitable language. National Council of Teachers of English.

A handout on gender issues
Provides suggestions for appropriately expressing gender relationships by The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Guidelines for racial identification
Keith Woods, Dean of Faculty, The Poynter Institute.

Avoiding misconceptions about people with disabilities
Links developed to put the media in touch with credible sources on people with disabilities and related issues. The Society of Professional Journalists.

Helpful language when talking about adoption
Sara Kiesler, currently Communications Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

"Being Retarded" (Herding Cats blog)
Respectful language when talking about development. Phoebe Holmes, mother of four delightfully quirky kids, one of whom has some special needs.

Should you say "latino" or "hispanic" – and how do you know? National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

Avoiding dehumanizing terms regarding immigration
Language issues related to immigration. National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

"It's Okay to be Neither"
Interesting article about dealing with gender stereotypes with elementary students by Melissa Bollow Tempel.

Help with the sometimes confusing topic of transgender terminology:

Many colleges and universities have style guides or policies. Look for a writing center or study center at the college or university website. Here's an example:

A handout on gender issues
Provides suggestions for appropriately expressing gender relationships by The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Books and Style Guides

These are some of the many books available.