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Changing Language: The Diversity Style Guide

We live in a fast-changing world. It’s tough to keep up on what terms are acceptable and which have been thrown out as being offensive.

As a communicator by trade — in my classes, when I write, when I teach — my wish is for everyone to feel included and safe. That means I have to stay on top of changes in language. Fortunately I just found The Diversity Style Guide.

The guide is fantastic and is a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University.

Written in a factual, neutral manner, the guide is an alphabetical glossary where you can look up whatever term you’re thinking of using, but unsure about. You can learn, for instance, that “First Nations” is preferred in reference to the indigenous people in Canada, while “Native American” is used in America. There are also explanations for words like “pangender” (people who shift from seeing themselves as female, then male) and slang that’s derogatory.

So if you’re confused by what words and terms are okay and which are not, here’s the solution to your problem!

What terms are you confused by?


For updates about Martha’s forthcoming memoir, Bliss Road (June 2023), historical novel, The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird (October 2023), or other books, news and giveaways, subscribe to

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