The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidance for certain population groups, centered upon substance abuse and homelessness. The list is intended to be used as a guide for language usage and word choice, in an effort to be more inclusive and appropriate for different audiences. The guide covers a variety of topics, including corrections and detentions, drug and substance abuse, and homelessness. In each section, the guide provides alternative phrases and words to those commonly used in everyday American English.
For example, the guide suggests avoiding terms like “alcoholic,” “drug addict,” or “homeless” and instead suggests using phrases like “persons with alcohol use disorder,” “persons who use drugs,” or “people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.” The guidance also encourages the use of gender-neutral language, such as “gender-diverse” or “non-binary.”
The document suggests that this guidance follows years of promotion for the use of “politically correct” language, and that it is similar to initiatives taken by other companies, such as Microsoft, which recently introduced a feature in Microsoft Word designed to suggest more “politically correct” words and flag potentially “offensive” words.