Mpox (“em-pox”), or monkeypox, is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is related to smallpox. It is primarily transmitted from human to human through prolonged close physical contact, including sexual contact, though it is not currently categorized as a sexually transmitted infection. To refer to the populations seeing the largest numbers of mpox cases as of August 2022, some organizations suggest phrasing such as “men who have sex with men and those in their sexual networks,” which emphasizes behavior rather than identity. However, being as specific as possible about the population(s) being discussed may be helpful for clarity. Some scientists have criticized the name “monkeypox,” saying it is stigmatizing and has racist connotations; alternatives in use in some places beyond mpox include MPX, hMPX, and MPV. As with reporting on any disease or diagnosis, it’s important to keep people’s right to privacy in mind, and to consider whether disclosing someone’s diagnosis or vaccination status is truly necessary and relevant to coverage.
Black Lives Matter is a global political and social inclusive movement that seeks to end white supremacy and violence against Black communities. Though many protests and demonstrations against racism and anti-Blackness may employ the slogan Black Lives Matter, the grassroots movements are distinct from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
AAPI stands for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which includes a vast array of nationalities, cultures, and languages. Some argue that both “AAPI” and “Asian American” flatten and/or erase important cultural, economic, educational, religious, and other differences that exist between groups and communities. Nuanced coverage will take care to explore those differences when and where relevant. Taking into account an individual’s preference and being as specific as possible ensures coverage accurately reflects how someone self-identifies.
While the US Census Bureau uses “Hispanic,” and Pew Research Center uses “Hispanic” and “Latino” interchangeably, some draw a distinction between the two terms, arguing that Hispanic refers to individuals from Spain or from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, while Latino signifies individuals from Latin America regardless of language. Several gender-neutral alternatives to Latino/a have gained use recently, including Latinx, Latin, and Latine, though they are not always popular with the communities they purport to describe. As with any identifier, being as specific as possible and taking into account an individual’s preference whenever possible ensures coverage accurately reflects how someone self-identifies.
People of color have long faced different types of discrimination within the medical system, which contributes to disparities in health outcomes, treatment, and life expectancy. Mistrust is based not only on historic instances and generational and community information but also on ongoing implicit bias in the health care system that impacts the care received by a person of color. Consideration of the forces that continue to shape the experiences people of color have within the health care system is important when writing about someone’s experience with an illness or disability.
Pacific Islander refers to an Indigenous inhabitant of Melanesia, Micronesia, or Polynesia. Though Pacific Islanders are sometimes grouped with Asian Americans when discussing in a general sense, as in the term AAPI, some activists think this grouping can flatten the significant differences among subgroups of Asian Americans and especially ignore the unique experiences and needs of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. As with any such identifier, if necessary and relevant to coverage to include, being as specific as possible and taking into account an individual’s preference whenever possible ensures coverage accurately reflects how someone self-identifies.
Indigenous can refer to the original inhabitants of a place, and to their customs, language, and other cultural markers. In the continental United States, Indigenous peoples are also referred to broadly as Native Americans, American Indians, and First Americans. Those who are Indigenous to Alaska are typically called Alaska Natives. There are several Indigenous Pacific Islander populations in the US, including Native Hawaiians, the CHamorus of the Mariana Islands, and Samoans. While Indigenous can be used as a broad category, it’s clearest to specify the population being referred to whenever possible, and to take into account an individual’s preference whenever possible.
The term African American is used to describe people and cultures of African descent with longstanding roots in the United States. Though African American and Black are often used interchangeably, the former may be understood as a marker of an ethnic and cultural identity as opposed to a strictly racial one. More recent immigrants in particular may identify with country- or ethnicity-specific categories (e.g., “Haitian American,” “Afro-Latine”). As with any such identifier, when necessary and relevant to coverage to include, taking into account an individual’s preferred terms wherever possible ensures coverage accurately reflects how they self-identify.
Cultural appropriation is the taking of signifiers or artifacts of a culture not one’s own without any context of the original culture. It contrasts with cultural appreciation, a good-faith effort to explore and connect with another culture.
Police brutality is the use of excessive force against people by law enforcement. It disproportionately affects Black and brown people. Mentioning racial disparities in police killings in related stories, and linking to a reliable source such as Mapping Police Violence, can help illustrate the scope of the issue.
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