Skip to comments.AP Stylebook inconsistency is fruit of political correctness
Posted on 05/03/2011 2:56:15 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
Today, class, we will discuss matters like The Associated Press Stylebook (APSB) and such. Considered a veritable bible for all things journalistic, the ASPB has been around for more than 30 years. It says, on the cover, that the book is "the industry's best-selling reference, essential for journalists, students, editors and writers in all professions."
I know the APSB and I use it as a tool in a writing class I teach at Johns Hopkins University. I fastidiously follow ASPB procedure, except in those instances when I don't.
Such instances number exactly two. Readers learned of one in my last column, when I refused to refer to Chrissy Polis, a transgendered person who was born a male, with the pronoun "she."
Around mid-April, Polis tried to use a women's restroom at a McDonald's restaurant in eastern Baltimore County. Two young women - one 18 years old and the other a 14-year-old juvenile - attacked Polis.
The incident was captured on some nitwit's cell phone camera, a cell phone said nitwit might have put to better use by dialing 911 to let police know that Polis was receiving a vicious beating.
The video of the attack was posted on YouTube and went viral. Teonna Mae Brown, the 18-year-old, has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault in the attack. Baltimore County prosecutors have yet to decide whether or not to charge the juvenile as an adult.
Had I strictly followed APSB guidelines, I would have indeed referred to Polis as "she." But there's this little matter of scientific accuracy.
In science, there's this subdivision called biology. Biology tells us that living things are subdivided into these things called "species." And within each species, there are distinct criteria for determining males and females.
A human female has to meet specific biological criteria. When someone proves to me that Polis does indeed meet those biological criteria, then I'll be more than happy to refer to Polis as "she."
That's against APSB guidelines. Under the heading "sex changes," it says quite clearly:
"Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."
In clearer, more accurate language, what that means is this: "APSB editors have cravenly caved in to political correctness and kicked biological accuracy to the curb."
So transgendered people, according to APSB editors, are called exactly what they want to be called. Think those editors grant the same courtesy to those who consider themselves pro-life?
Guess again. Here's what you'll read under the APSB heading for "abortion":
"Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice."
The APSB editors couldn't have been more flagrant in their double standards if they had written, "Pro-abortion and pro-choice people have pure, noble motives and seek to protect those rights cherished by all Americans, so much so that we're going to refer to them as champions of 'abortion rights.' Pro-lifers, on the other hand, are simply whacked out, anti-abortion nut jobs."
The APSB editors didn't just cave in to political correctness on this one. They didn't just hop on the PC bandwagon either. They barged their way on to that bandwagon, grabbed the reins and started driving the darned thing.
But there's one thing of which APSB editors can rest assured: I will never stick the word "rights" behind the word "abortion."
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
I see articles switching between ‘blacks’ and ‘african american’ in the same article.
What about Egyptian or Libyan Americans, are they african americans? The correct term should be “american of sub-saharan african descent” AOSSAD?
Except that many South Africans are white...
Conservatives should use 'sex' when they mean male or female and leave 'gender' to the grammarians.