Bias-Free Language Essay
In her article Bias-Free Language, Rosalie Maggio tackles the problem of the heightened sensitivity in our multicultural America among minority groups who deem certain words offensive. She completes two objectives in her article. The first is to explain the importance of becoming aware of bias in language, and the second is to offer solutions of words and phrases to use in place of biased language. As Maggio explains, language “both reflects and shapes society. ” In a similar vein, culture is also determined by our language and in turn, culture guides the evolution of language.
For this reason, Maggio argues that we should do what we can to eliminate certain words or phrases in our language that have been deemed to be offensive or in some way not accurate. If we allow these biases in language to continue, bigoted people in our society will continue to willfully dehumanize segments of the population with words and phrases that have a limited basis in reality. Maggio explains that biased words, such as the use of “man” in many different contexts, i. e. manmade, mailman, etc. , are often inaccurate and vague.
She advocates for individuals to expand their vocabulary and use the opportunity to develop new phrases and more creative, accurate ways of saying things and cites many authors throughout history that have done just that, hoping that these examples will encourage others to do the same. Maggio does a good job in preparing a case against using biased language. She also does well in refuting attempts at underscoring her project. She has many good points which would be valuable to a society willing to change the way it views the world and the people around them.