The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published an Inclusive Language guide in order to promote “health equity” and “inclusive communication.” The guide states that language in communication products should reflect and speak to the needs of the focused audience. The guide includes multiple sections for language that is more ‘gender neutral’ and ‘inclusive.’
It’s clear that the CDC has a lot of time on their hands, almost as if disease control really wasn’t a thing for them anymore. It’s the published studies like this that make people question vaccine hesitancy and the rest of the recommendations they push out. The FBI, CDC, CIA, and rest of the credible federal agencies have turned into nothing but ‘woke’ political entities. When did the CDC decide they were responsible for telling us what words we can say?
The CDC provided a list of ‘non-stigmatizing’ language and even grouped terms together under banners like “Disability” and “Homelessness.” One of the sections states that the words “disabled,” “differently-abled,” and “handicapped” are stigmatizing and should be replaced with terms such as “people with disabilities/a disability” or “people who use a wheelchair or mobility.”
Most of the CDC guide suggests the same thing, by simply adding “people with” ahead of the term to make it more ‘inclusive.’ The CDC states that they do this for the purpose of the guidelines in promoting a “person-first language,” where individuals are referred before the disability. They suggested it was one of their “Key Principles” and explained how providers should avoid using terms that are “vague and imply that the condition is inherent to the group rather than the actual causal factors.”
The guide also suggests that terms such as “inmate,” “prisoner,” “convict/ex-convict,” “offender,” “criminal,” “parolee,” and “detainee” are stigmatizing. They instead suggest using the term “people/persons who are incarcerated or detained,” “persons on parole,” “persons in pre-trial,” and so on. They’ve even turned away from the term “migrants” or “illegal immigrants” in exchange for “non-US citizens in immigration facilities.”
The guide goes on to suggest not calling people “alcoholics,” “smokers,” or “drug-users.” Instead, the CDC suggests using phrases such as “persons with substance use disorder” or “people who smoke.” They even veered people away from using the term “elderly” and recommend saying “older adults or elders” instead.
The guide gets weird when it comes to gender-and-race-related terms. They include words not commonly used like “Afro-American” and “negro” while suggesting that you should not refer to members of a particular race or ethnicity as a “community.” They even suggest the term homosexual is wrong but “queer” is acceptable. This is almost as bad as the CDC’s suggestion to replace the term “pregnant women” with “pregnant people.”
The strangest suggestion of all was the term “stakeholder,” which they suggested replacing with terms like “informers, advisors, consultants, collaborators, co-owners.”
The CDC received mass amounts of backlash over previously suggesting “pregnant people” instead of “pregnant women,” and now they want us to trust them on science even more. Whether it’s an alcoholic, elderly, smoker, or even stakeholder, the CDC has a language box for it.
Language is not about reflecting and speaking to a select audience. Language is about freedom of expression and being able to communicate your ideas and concepts openly. It’s not about replacing “this with that.” You’d think the CDC would be a little preoccupied with a world pandemic, but that should tell you where their priorities are.