Banned Words: January 11, 2018

Dear Mr. VP,

Today, CNN is reporting on an update to a story that got a lot of attention recently: a list of seven words that some said were “banned” at the Centers for Disease control.

Fetus, transgender, diversity, vulnerable, science-based, evidence-based, entitlement.

Here’s some of CNN’s update:

They describe not a ban or prohibition on words but rather suggestions on how to improve the chances of getting funding.

“Words to avoid: vulnerable, diversity, entitlement,” states the HHS document, “Instructions for Preparing the FY 2019 Congressional Justifications.”

The other four words on the list — “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” — were brought up by employees at the meeting who wanted to know if they could be used, according to the two HHS officials, who were familiar with what transpired at the meeting.
“Nobody ever told them they couldn’t use these seven words. It was just said, ‘if you think these words would cause someone to jump to a conclusion, then use a substitute. But if there isn’t a good substitute, then go ahead and use the word,’ ” said one of the officials.
I just want to go on record as being very clear that this does not make me feel better. Just as I do not want to be in a country where our scientists are banned from using correct scientific terms, I do not want to be in a country where our scientists are SCARED that if they use correct scientific terms, their research won’t be funded.  I’d like to live in a place where if you’re researching fetal development, you can call something a fetus, and you don’t have to worry about the Mike Pences of the world cutting off your funding. Or if you’re doing, you know, science, you can call your conclusion science-based, and not go to sleep wondering if you’ll have the money for lab supplies the next day.
Sometimes you don’t have to outright ban something for the effects to be chilling. And dangerous.

One thought on “Banned Words: January 11, 2018

  1. Dear Ms. Cruz, your ‘dearmrvp’ letter is a wonderfully creative way to go deal with our time/nation. I just read about you it in Hampshire Life. then I read you January 11 letter. I am even older (70) than Ms. Fourhawks (60) also quoted in the paper. Please keep going. Your initiative gives me hope about the younger generation. I will send your good news also to my daughters who are political but, sadly, not active.
    Thank you , Ms. Cruz,
    Marianna Connolly


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