In addition to offering one-on-one consultations, the Seattle University Writing Center is dedicated to offering support and resources on the theories that inform our practice. We aim to be transparent about our current practices as well as how we facilitate our consultations. While we are often asked for help with grammar, we would also like to direct attention to an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, and inclusive framework. At the Writing Center, it is extremely important to continuously discuss these issues and to be as inclusive as possible; however, these discussions are critical outside of the Writing Center in class and in everyday language as well. The following resources are helpful in providing insights into the why’s and how’s of resisting dehumanizing, marginalizing, oppressive, or otherwise harmful and offensive language.
Included are various style guides typically used in journalism, though they can be used to help direct other types of writing. We encourage their use regardless of discipline because they can help with word choice and the general theory behind why some language may be changing. They cannot, however, capture every point of view, so we have included further resources to explore a wider range of theories and lived experiences. This is an ongoing project that will continue to be monitored and added to. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please contact us at our email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of the resources listed below are called style guides and are often used in journalism. They can help with word choice and why some language may be changing regardless of discipline. We encourage their use for all students, especially if you have any questions on certain terms or topics. Of course, they cannot capture every point of view, so if there is anything you feel has been left out or have a recommendation to make for a possible resource, please contact us at email@example.com.
“Covering Asia and Asian-Americans”, Asian-American Journalism Association
“Cultural Competence Handbook”, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, August 2020
"Disability Language Style Guide", National Center on Disability and Journalism
“Glossary of Immigration Terms”, Freedom for Immigrants
“NABJ Style Guide”, National Association of Black Journalists
“Reporting and Indigenous Terminology”, Native American Journalists Association
“Why the language we use to describe mental health matters”, the Mental Health Foundation
For information on gender-inclusive language and personal pronouns, we have included multiple resources below. A few are from MyPronouns.org, a website dedicated to producing informative information for any confusion around gender-inclusive language or personal pronouns.
“Inclusive Language: How do I use gender inclusive language?”, MyPronouns.Org
“How do I use personal pronouns?”, MyPronouns.Org
“Rationale for the Singular ‘They’”, Purdue University Online Writing Lab
“’They’ Pronouns”, MyPronouns.Org
Our staff here at the Writing Center has also created wonderful resources on using inclusive language. These are linked below. If you’d like to request a specific worksheet that is not yet available, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“How to Use Inclusive Language: Respecting the LGBTQIA Community in Your Writing”, Seattle University Writing Center
For more personal perspectives on the use of inclusive language and its impact on multiliteracy, we have included select resources from past discussion groups. We will continue to add sources to this list, but if there are any that you would like to see, please email your suggestions to email@example.com.
“3 Ways to Speak English” by Jamila Lyiscott
Jamila Lyiscott, in her TEDTalk “3 Ways to Speak English”, walks through her experience with code switching, identity, and microaggressions as an African American woman. To communicate with her friends, her parents, and her classmates, Lyiscott celebrates the three Englishes she uses. We’d recommend this source if you want to hear not only more about the freedom language can provide, but also the restraints of Eurocentric language ideals.
“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldua switches between English and Spanish to discuss how her languages are constantly evolving and changing. Anzaldua asserts that her language is her own and that it will endure, despite academic standards that terrorize students of multiple literacies. This source is an interesting look at the fragility of our academic standards and the freedom that could be allowed for students of multiple literacies if those standards are deconstructed. It’s also an inspiring look at writing and how unique every writer’s language is.
For a more in-depth look at linguistic justice in our classrooms and our languages, below are some resources that explore the implications of Standard American English and the harm it has had on students of color and students of multiple literacies. Included are also celebrations of multiliteracy; however, a commitment to linguistic justice is needed to subvert white supremacist education practices. For any requests or recommendations for further resources, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Classroom Writing Assessment as an Antiracist Practice” by Asao Inoue
In this essay, Inoue discusses how college professors can engage in antiracist teachings and writing assessments with their students. The normalization of white supremacy in classrooms has dangerous implications for all students, and teachers are in a unique position to subvert this normalization. Inoue introduces antiracist techniques and teaching methods that could be used in the place of more commonly used methods so that classrooms can be more friendly to students of color and students of multiple literacies. This source, as a whole, is an interesting read for a more in-depth look at the classroom and the theories that govern it.
“Should Writers Use They Own English” by Vershawn Ashanti Young and “The ‘Standard English’ Fairytale” by Laura Greenfield, Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change
From Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change, Ashanti and Greenfield both discuss the history of racism and white supremacy in Standard American English and how it is taught in our schools. Young switches between African American Vernacular English and Standard American English, proposing that, instead of teaching code-switching, “code meshing” be recognized as a legitimate form of communication. Greenfield goes into more depth on the language diversity present in our students and how language can never be standardized without assigning one to be “superior” and stigmatizing the others. For more information on the implications of Standard American English in writing centers, these two essays as well as the rest of this book are a great place to start.
“This Ain’t Another Statement! This is a Demand for Black Linguistic Justice” by April Baker-Bell, Chair, Bonnie J. Williams-Farrier, Davena Jackson, Lamar Johnson, Carmen Kynard, and Teaira McMurtry
This source, “This Ain’t Another Statement! This is a Demand for Black Linguistic Justice”, is a call to action to start recognizing anti-Black linguistic racism and white linguistic supremacy in American schools. Published in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020, the authors list their demands for linguistic justice, stating that they are needed to see systemic change for Black students.
“Why English Class is Silencing Students of Color” by Jamila Lyiscott
In this TEDTalk, Lyiscott discusses how our individual languages are full of history, but that the ways in which they are approached in our current education systems are deeply connected to racism and white supremacy. In order to resist the policing of Standard American English and bring justice for students of color, Lyiscott argues that we must legitimize and honor every language a student uses, both spoken and written. This source makes sure to advocate for what she refers to as “liberation literacies” and their power to disrupt the harmful structures in our education systems.
Hashlamon, in his chapter from Wellness and Care in Writing Center Work, calls for writing centers to recognize how writing center practice furthers institutional ableism and prevents access to students of different levels of ability. Instead of focusing wellness on self-care, Hashlamon instead argues for recognition and advocacy for students facing systemic issues as well as creating a network of community support as a method of resisting these structural systemic.
Wellness and Care in Writing Center Work features many more essays similar to Hashlamon’s that focus on the importance of care in writing center work. If you’d like to read more, this link provides access to the rest of the book.
“Moving Beyond Alright” FIT Keynote from Neisha-Anne Green, May 2018
Neisha-Anne Green, the Writing Center Director at American University, discusses the issues of racism and discrimination in writing centers as a Black woman and a Black academic. It’s not just that Black Lives Matter, but that Black lives should be included and prioritized in all spaces, especially higher education.