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1001 Ways to Avoid Calling Something Racist

A picture of the Associated Press styleguide
In completely unrelated news, only 22.6 percent of workers in U.S. newsrooms in 2018 were people of color!

NEW YORK, NY — Since the election of Donald Trump, the nation has seen a rise in public declarations and demonstrations in favor of white supremacy. For many journalists and media outlets, the problem lies not in the racism itself, but what to call it. Thus, The Associated Press is releasing a new style guide, "1001 Ways to Avoid Calling Something Racist," at the beginning of the new year.

“The only thing that makes people more uncomfortable than racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and economic exploitation is racial language,” Associated Press chairman Steven Swartz says. “As a news agency, we move with the times, and now is not the time to be calling people racist.”

Susan Sullivan, a senior employee in the standards division at NBC News, has applauded the move. Earlier this week, the company received flack for sending internal memos that encouraged avoiding the use of the word racism in reporting.

“We then reverted to spraying journalists with water any time they uttered the word racist,” Sullivan explained. “But honoring this style guide will allow us to avoid reliance on Pavlovian methods. It will also reinforce our misguided reporting ethics, in which ‘objectivity’ relies on the false equivalence inherent to ‘both sides’ rhetoric, but that’s just an added bonus.”

In a Twitter review of the book, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a racism by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The Associated Pressreached out to the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association for comment. However,  following the lead of fellow media outlets, we decided their racial bent renders their perspectives biased and therefore unfit for inclusion in this article.

A sampling of The Associated Press stylebook’s anti-racist racial vocabulary can be found below: 

  1. Flirting with racism

  2. Guided by racism

  3. In the spirit of racism

  4. Of the racial persuasion

  5. Vacationed with racism

  6. Racism’s old lab partner

  7. Race adjacent

  8. Racially inclined

  9. Racially aroused

  10. A win for white supremacy

  11. Racism’s third cousin twice-removed

  12. Racially suggestive

  13. Racially fraught

  14. Racially saturated

  15. Racially imbued

  16. Not white people’s problem

  17. At the intersection of white supremacy and colonialism’s legacy

  18. Inspired by racism

  19. Neighboring racism

  20. Climbed racial mountains

  21. Flew racial skies

  22. Racially pixelated

  23. Cloudy with a chance of racism

  24. Situated near racism

  25. On a racial campsite

  26. Racism’s old buddy boy

  27. Taking a cruise on race street

  28. Visited by the ghost of racism’s past

  29. Racial cruising

  30. A racial christening

  31. Fanning the racial flames

  32. Racial tendencies

  33. Racism-fed beef

  34. Racially fertilized

  35. On the crest of racism

  36. Eggs served racism-side up

  37. With racist precision

  38. With racial intentions

  39. With a dash of race

  40. Seasoned with race

  41. Racially seasoned

  42. Vacationing on racial islands

  43. Reduced fat racism

  44. Zero calorie racism

  45. Socially racist, fiscally racism

  46. Your friendly neighborhood Racism

  47. In a racist ballpark (but not Fenway)

  48. Grabbed a meal with racism

  49. A pinch of racism

  50. A passing acquaintance of racism 

  51. Racist in name and actions only

  52. Responding to economic anxiety

  53. Sleeping with racism

  54. In a complicated relationship with racism

  55. Sauce and Racism on the side



© 2019