Watch Your Language: Part, oh who can count that high?
As you know, we at FairerScience worry a lot about language use. As our handout, Words Matter says: .
The words we use influence our audience's feelings about us and, more importantly, about how relevant our message is to them and their interests. Paying attention to word choice can really pay off! Since there’s no single set of words that will work with all audiences, we need to choose the words we use consciously and carefully.
I'm not so sure that the New York Times, Week in Review editors were doing that today. Under pictures of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fredrick Douglas they wrote:
"Pioneers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fredrick Douglas worked together on abolition, but then had a bitter split over who should be the first to vote—women or blacks."
Come on folks you know better than that- it was who should be "first to vote- white women or black men."
In the subhead the Times does ask who goes first "The black man? The white woman?" But in this case they are writing about individuals; not about groups. In the article itself they go on to speak about "the broad ideals that blacks and women have typically shared."
Twenty-five years ago Gloria Hull, Pat Bell Scott and Barbara Smith published a book titled All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: But Some of Us Are Brave. Guess things haven't changed that much.