Pessimism and Equity Language

Covering up real problems with euphemisms entrenches hopelessness

Pessimism and Equity Language

A recent essay in the Atlantic by George Packer analyzes the emergence of equity style guides at various organizations — the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the National Recreation and Park Association, the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, and the University of Washington. Packer provides examples showing how convoluted and bizarre the language recommendations in these can be.

In addition to attempts to create and impose language standards out of thin air, there is no clear accountability for what Packer describes not as a groundswell or a grassroots movement but as a “revolution from above” consisting of guidance written by obscure, self-styled “experts” who remain “unanswerable to a public that’s being morally coerced.”

It bears more than a passing resemblance to OA, it must be said.

But back to the topic at hand . . .