The Post Terms on Terminology

From a staff email from Don Podesta, AME for copy desks:


Some of our newsroom colleagues have raised questions in recent days about our use of certain terms. We should be careful about:

anti-immigrant —

We’ve been using this as short-hand for people opposed to increased immigration or to specific proposals involving immigration policy. It has racist connotations that might not apply in many cases. Someone can be opposed to more open or increased immigration or to illegal immigration without being against people who have immigrated into the country legally. Better to use a few more words in the interest of precision, such as “groups seeking to curb immigration.”

jihad, jihadist –

– Here’s what our style book says about this: Jihad means a war by Muslims against unbelievers or enemies of Islam, carried out as a religious duty, or a fanatic campaign for or against an idea, etc. For Muslims, it has a more nuanced meaning. In Arabic, jihad means “struggle” and can indicate a person’s struggle with religion versus culture, a struggle to retain faith, a struggle to wear or not wear the hijab, etc.
Extremist and terrorists groups have adopted this term to justify their activities. We should avoid using it unless it’s in a direct quote or in the name of an organization, publication, etc.

the N-word

— We’ve used this euphemism in more than a dozen stories in the last month. It’s trivializing and almost cutesy, as in “Johnny said the f-word in school today, Mom.” Again, better to take a few more words and say something like “a well-known racial epithet.” (We’ve printed the actual word 1,254 times since 1977, mostly in the titles of plays and books, but also in news stories about racial harassment.)