Our style guidance includes hundreds of terms spanning six main categories, and contains detailed definitions, related terms, and additional resources.
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- content, advisory, and trigger warnings
Content, advisory, and trigger warnings are notices that a piece of content may contain material that people find offensive, graphic, or inappropriate for certain audiences, and/or that may set off mental health symptoms. It’s helpful to be as specific as possible about what content relates to a warning. For example, telling readers a piece contains a transphobic slur is more informative than “slur” alone.
- systemic oppression / systemic racism
The historical and systematic disenfranchisement of groups of people while simultaneously advantaging others on the basis of identities such as gender, race, class, sexual orientation, language, religion, or national origin. Acknowledging the role systemic racism plays in such disparities adds essential context to coverage of institutions and policies.
- food desert / food oasis
A food desert is an area with limited access to fresh food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables. Food deserts are commonly found in and associated with lower-income, often predominantly Black and brown communities, particularly in areas where transportation options and car ownership are limited. It contrasts with the term “food oasis,” which refers to an abundance of supermarkets and a variety of types of grocery stores. It’s important context to mention systemic factors that contribute to the existence of food deserts and food oases, and how lack of access to affordable, healthy food is related to health issues such as increased instances of obesity and heart disease.
Autism is a neurological variant characterized by differences in communication, sensory processing, cognition, and socialization. Many people in the autism community prefer identity-first language; taking into account an individual’s preference whenever possible ensures coverage accurately reflects how someone identifies. Some autistic individuals may call themselves “autists” or “autistics,” but using this term to describe someone who doesn’t self-identify that way can be read as making a choice for them. Non-autistic people in this context are called “allistic.”
- mental health disorder
Mental health disorder refers to a collection of symptoms that cause a disturbance in one’s mental functioning, including cognition, behavior, and emotional regulation. Some prefer terms like “psychiatric condition” or “mental health issue” instead, as “disorder” can have stigmatizing implications.
- coded language
Coded language consists of seemingly neutral terms that actually describe identity (often racial or ethnic identity) and carry negative connotations. It may be useful to include the histories of terms such as "massage parlor" and "inner city," which are often used in coded ways, as well as the hidden meanings of other coded language, to ensure these terms are being used only when appropriate and with sufficient context and explanation.
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