Avoiding Stereotypes in Writing
It is easy to fall into the trap of using language that can be construed as racist or sexist. Here are a few tips to stay away from this type of writing.
- Avoid sexist language. When you know your audience varies, stay away from words that are gender specific. Use “their” instead of “his” or “anyone” instead of “a man”. You’d be surprised how many people take these sorts of things the wrong way.
- Avoid ethnic and racial stereotypes. You can be accurate without being biased. For example, it could be considered impolite to say Oriental; you should say Asian or better yet, the specific country such as Japanese, Korean, etc….
- Be careful not to let religious stereotypes creep into your writing. Such as referring to a banker as “Jewish, of course”. This is too biased.
- Biases against age and sexual orientation are also frowned upon. In all these cases, it is best to well, use your best judgment.
- Avoid political bias and stereotypes in case you want your audienceTo read your content under a neutral point of view. This is especially important in business writing contexts.
- Research your facts and don’t include statements you believe to be true just because the majority of people also believe so.
- Remember that people in different regions or countries might have a different understanding regarding what is considered sexiest or racist. When in doubt, scratch that.