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Seven banned words

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Photo+courtesy+of+cnn.com
Photo courtesy of cnn.com

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

Workers for the CDC filed into a 90-minute briefing to discuss the organization’s budget for the upcoming year. Many were unauthorized to speak on the information presented in the meeting, but by Saturday, an anonymous CDC analyst had spoken out to The Washington Post about a specific incident.

  At the meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, seven words and phrases came out that are not to be used by the CDC in press releases and other documents: “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.” The orders were handed down by Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC.

  These seemingly random words seem to be a reflection of the current executive administration’s stance on minorities, abortion, the LGBTQ+ community, and the scientific community.

  Not being able to acknowledge diversity, the entitlements owed to certain groups, and the fact that specific people groups are vulnerable to different dangers is detrimental to one of the organizations that helps to control public health in America. Including the word “transgender” in these “banned words” is a direct attack on LGBTQ+ people, as it implies that people’s gender identity does not matter as far as their health. Furthermore, not including “science-based” and “evidence-based” in official CDC documents undermines the purpose of the CDC, one based heavily on scientific research in order to preserve public health.

  Reportedly, “[i]n some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of ‘science-based’ or ‘evidence-based,’ the suggested phrase is ‘CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,’ the [anonymous analyst] said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered” (Washington Post).

  Alternatives were also presented from sources outside the briefing. When the news came out, Dictionary.com fully utilized Twitter’s 280-character limit. Specifically, there were seven posts, each defining one of the words, while other posts suggested synonyms or loophole phrases that could be used in place of the words.

  According to the CDC’s official website, the organization “saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise.”

  While it seems that despite these new regulations, the CDC will continue to fulfill that mission, the very principle of prohibiting the use of certain words speaks for itself. This does not excuse an attempt by any organization to inhibit the Centers for Disease Control in its mission or to further marginalize any people groups that may be affected. Prohibiting these words will not erase the people and science behind them.

 

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Seven banned words