Compilation of Diversity Terminology, Style Guides and Resources
The UA Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has compiled a list of style guides and resources to help you use the most appropriate words and phrases when talking about diversity and inclusion. Please note that terminology can change over time, and it is helpful to frequently check reference sources for the most up-to-date language. The list is segmented by the categories below.
Conscious Style Guide
Conscious Style Guide exists to help writers and editors think critically about using language—including words, portrayals, framing and representation—to empower instead of limit. In one place, you can access style guides covering terminology for various communities and find links to key articles debating usage. One of Poynter’s top tools for journalists in 2018, Conscious Style Guide is also recommended by NASA, BuzzFeed, The Chicago Manual of Style Online, the Society of Professional Journalists, ACES: The Society for Editing, Mailchimp, and 18F, a government agency.
Diversity Style Guide
The Diversity Style Guide is a resource to help journalists and other media professionals cover a complex, multicultural world with accuracy, authority and sensitivity. This guide, initially a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University, brings together definitions and information from more than two dozen style guides, journalism organizations and other resources. The guide contains more than 700 terms related to race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality and gender identity, drugs and alcohol, and geography.
American Psychological Association APA Style
The guidelines for bias-free language contain both general guidelines for writing about people without bias across a range of topics and specific guidelines that address the individual characteristics of age, disability, gender, participation in research, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality. These guidelines and recommendations were crafted by panels of experts on APA’s bias-free language committees.
Linguistic Society of America
Guidelines for Inclusive Language grew out of the Guidelines for Nonsexist Usage, originally developed by the Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics, and formally approved by the Executive Committee in 1996. The focus of the guidelines has been revised and expanded since the inaugural edition to reflect a broader focus on inclusive language. While the guidelines still address issues related to gender, they also address issues related to minorities, disabilities and other demographic characteristics of the LSA membership and readership of which authors and presenters should be aware, and to which they should be sensitive in their communication.
Common DEI Definitions
What does DEI mean in the workplace? Cataline Colman, director of HR and inclusion at Built In, explains the meaning and importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Built In is an online community for startups and tech companies.
American Philosophical Association Drop the I-Word
From the Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, this campaign is part of a larger body for work dedicated to ending the mass criminalization of communities of color. For more information view the Journalist Style Guide for Covering Immigration and Three Reasons Why We Should Drop the I-Word.
In 2017, Race Forward united with the Center for Social Inclusion. Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Founded in 2002, the Center for Social Inclusion catalyzed community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all. Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.
Race and Ethnicity
Associated Press Stylebook: Race-Related Coverage
Reporting and writing about issues involving race calls for thoughtful consideration, precise language, and an openness to discussions with others of diverse backgrounds about how to frame coverage or what language is most appropriate, accurate and fair. The AP Stylebook offers a section on race-related coverage. The AP Stylebook also has entries on holidays and holy days, religion, gender-neutral language, gender and sexuality, and disabilities.
The AP Stylebook Online is available via the University Libraries webpage for journalism and creative media resources.
Racial Equity Tools Glossary
Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. It offers tools, research, tips, curricula, and ideas for people who want to increase their understanding and to help those working for racial justice at every level–in systems, organizations, communities, and the culture at large. The site curates resources that use language and analysis reflecting an understanding of systemic racism, power and privilege and are accessible online and free to users.
Asian American Journalists Association: Covering Asia and Asian Americans
Asian American Journalists Association is a membership nonprofit advancing diversity in newsrooms and ensuring fair and accurate coverage of communities of color. AAJA has more than 1,600 members across the United States and Asia. Its website offers guidance, resources, statements and news releases concerning coverage of Asian Americans in the United States and Asia.
Indigenous Peoples: Language Guidelines (The University of British Columbia)
The terminology used in public discourse has rarely been that actually preferred by Indigenous people, who most often refer to themselves by the traditional name of their specific group. Using the best terminology in any given situation is not just a matter of being “politically correct” but of being respectful and accurate. Version 3.0 of this guide has been produced to help communicators navigate the terminology and meanings associated with this subject in order to produce the best—and most respectful—results, with the recognition that, as time passes, the terminology is subject to change and this guide will again need to be refreshed. Please note that this guide is not a comprehensive treatment of this complex subject, but it is an entry point. Users are encouraged to expand their knowledge on the matter by referring to other sources, some of which are listed at the end of this document.
Reporting in Indigenous Communities Resources
This online compilation of educational resources was created to assist journalists who report on Indigenous communities.
National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide
NABJ Style is offered as a stylebook for newsrooms and others on terms and language usage of special interest or relevance to NABJ membership and anyone else in newsrooms and journalism classrooms as well as other students, educators and researchers, etc.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists Cultural Competence Handbook 2020
The purpose of this manual is to help journalists, students and academics:
- communicate with and about diverse collectives, recognizing the differences or variety in people’s identities or experiences –– ethnicity, race, national origin, language, gender, religion, ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, immigration status, etc.
- Develop a working vocabulary related to diversity issues, avoiding stereotypes
This NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook is intended to complement the Stylebooks of individual publications such as The Associated Press stylebook –– the leading stylebook in U.S. newsrooms. The handbook reflects NAHJ’s mission to promote fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of the Latino community.
Writing About Slavery? Teaching About Slavery?
Senior slavery scholars of color community-sourced this short guide to share with and be used by editors, presses, museums, journalists and curricular projects as well as by teachers, writers, curators, archivists, librarians and public historians. Considering the legal, demographic and other particularities of institutions of slavery in various parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, and also considering how slavery changed over time, this guide is a set of suggestions that raises questions and sensitivities rather than serving as a checklist that enforces any set of orthodoxies.
Disability / Ability
National Association on Disability and Journalism Disability Style Guide
As language, perceptions and social mores change at a seemingly faster and faster rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists and other communicators to figure out how to refer to people with disabilities. Even the term “disability” is no longer universally accepted. This style guide, developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, is intended to help. It covers almost 200 words and terms commonly used when referring to disability, most of which are not covered in The Associated Press style guide. Some recommendations included here are not addressed by the AP Style Guide.
A Guide to Gender Identity Terms
NPR, an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public, has put together a glossary of terms relating to gender identity. The goal is to help people communicate accurately and respectfully with one another. Proper use of gender identity terms, including pronouns, is a crucial way to signal courtesy and acceptance. This guide was created with help from GLAAD. NPR also referenced resources from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Trans Journalists Association, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, Human Rights Campaign, InterAct and the American Psychological Association. This guide is not exhaustive, and is Western and U.S.-centric. Other cultures may use different labels and have other conceptions of gender.
One thing to note: Language changes. Some of the terms now in common usage are different from those used in the past to describe similar ideas, identities and experiences. Some people may continue to use terms that are less commonly used now to describe themselves, and some people may use different terms entirely. What’s important is recognizing and respecting people as individuals.
GLAAD Media Reference Guide
GLAAD is an American nongovernmental media monitoring organization, founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of LGBT people. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide is intended to be used by journalists reporting for mainstream media outlets and by creators in entertainment media who want to tell LGBTQ people’s stories fairly and accurately. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive glossary of language used within the LGBTQ community, nor is it a prescriptive guide for LGBTQ people.
Human Rights Campaign Glossary of Terms/Tools for Equality and Inclusion
This glossary was written to help give people the words and meanings to help make conversations easier and more comfortable. LGBTQ people use a variety of terms to identify themselves, not all of which are included in this glossary. Always listen for and respect a person’s self identified terminology. HRC also has compiled tools for equality and inclusion on a range of topics.
Trans Journalists Association Style Guide
The Trans Journalists Association’s Style Guide is a tool reporters, editors and other media makers can use to begin to improve trans coverage. It gives insight into appropriate language, common shortcomings, and steps journalists can take to make their coverage better. While this guide provides a strong foundation for covering trans communities with sensitivity and care, trans communities are diverse. The language some trans people use to describe themselves and their communities might be different from or even contradict parts of this guide. Reporting well on trans communities requires nuance and care, and this guide is only a starting point.
The Mental Health Coalition Language Guide aims to help people talk about mental health in a respectful and inclusive manner.
Also, the Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide includes a glossary, a list of other resources and a calendar of important days, weeks and months relative to mental health.
The Religion Stylebook is an easy-to-use guide created for journalists who report on religion in the mainstream media. It is an independent supplement to The Associated Press Stylebook and is a service of the Religion Newswriters Association.