GOOD
Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Today, word choice matters, not only at the highest levels of political power in our country, but in our everyday speech, no matter our political persuasion or good intentions. Since the election of Donald Trump, we have seen an increase in hate speech everywhere from public gatherings to social media channels.

The past two months have been especially traumatic for so many groups, including the Latinx community who were targeted by a gunman in El Paso after being called "illegal invaders" of this country; immigrants who were told to "go back where they came from"; and journalists who were deemed disseminators of "evil propaganda" by our president.

These examples are enough for us to make the case, as some already have, that words matter more than ever in the current American public discourse. We must, however, all be responsible for the intentions of our speech (or tweets) and also how they are perceived.

Often, even those of us with the best intentions or the most 'woke' social justice warriors among us, use terms that are unknowingly othering, that contribute to long standing societal stereotypes or that embed violence into our speech.

While it is impossible to ignore the rhetoric stemming from the most powerful office in the land, that must not hinder each of our efforts to employ empathy and respect in the pursuit of a more just and equitable society.

For our team at Elle Communications, word choice is arguably the most important part of each of our days as we work to shape messaging with and for activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, companies, nonprofits, and other groups striving to create positive change in our country and our world.

Here are four things to consider when thinking about the ways in which we choose to move through this world and the words that we use along the way.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Using “Serial” To Explore Whether The Law Is Truly Objective

Podcasts, primetime dramas, and even the mountains help explore whether or not justice is truly blind.

image via youtube screen capture

Here’s an idea...

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Social Impact Bond Launches in U.S. Backed By Goldman Sachs, Mike Bloomberg Billionaires See Profit in Prisons, But It's a Good Thing This Time

The money men at Goldman Sachs join NYC's Billionaire-in-Chief to use creative finance for good. The Social Impact Bond has come to America!


Goldman Sachs is making an unusual loan: $9.6 million to help young men stay out of New York City jail. And they could earn millions on the deal. But it's taxpayers more than shareholders who should be pleased with the plan.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proudly announced a new kind of City spending yesterday. "As the first city in the nation to launch a Social Impact Bond, we are taking our efforts to new levels and we are eager to see the outcome of this groundbreaking initiative,” he said in a statement. As Bloomberg and Goldman go, expect other banks and mayors to follow.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles


Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced yesterday that George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who killed 17-year-old black student Trayvon Martin in February, is being charged with second-degree murder. Justice served, right? Well, not so fast.

Before you go thinking the Martin shooting is an open-and-shut case, remember that Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law allows citizens to use deadly force against people they assume to be threats without having to defuse the situation. If the defense can show that Martin did indeed attack Zimmerman, it's possible that Zimmerman could go free. That said, the fact that Corey has decided to go with a murder charge instead of a manslaughter charge suggests that the state is confident Zimmerman wasn't provoked. The New York Times explained what second-degree murder means in Florida:

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Weighing the Death Penalty vs. Life Without Parole

What's worse—Death? Life in prison? Life after prison?


When it comes to executing, the United States is a top world contender. Last year, the U.S. lagged behind only China, Iran, North Korea, and Yemen in the volume of citizens it killed. But it's getting harder and harder to execute prisoners in the United States.

In 1994, 328 people were sentenced to death in America; in 2008, only 111 received the sentence. And many who are sentenced to death will never see the death chamber: Since 1978, the state of California has only successfully executed 13 people. Today, 714 remain on death row. Now, an inmate sentenced to death in the state is more likely to expire from illness or old age than to actually be killed by the government.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles