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The CDC’s Woke Language Guide Is Doing More Than Making Conversation Harder


As a college student, I know a thing or two about minimum page counts. Sometimes, right when you think you’ve written the perfect essay, you realize you’re still a page and a half below the requirement, and the clock is ticking. 

What’s a student to do? Some have resorted to crafty methods like bumping up the font size of periods, commas, and other punctuation, while others out of desperation have added extra indents or spare lines between paragraphs with the hopes that teachers and professors will overlook the “errors.” But for all the struggling students out there, I am proud to highlight a new, far more effective method that will help you add meaningless fluff to meager papers. 

Enter the Center for Disease Control’s recently released “Preferred Terms for Select Population Groups & Communities.” Beyond just over-complicating common terms, the guide also needlessly extends regular words into multi-part word salads that are sure to beef up a struggling student’s word count. 

Consider the words inmate and prisoner, which the CDC advises we replace with “people who are incarcerated or detained,” or poor people with “people with self-reported income in the lowest income bracket.” 

There is also the two-word phrase “vulnerable population” that the CDC multiplied by ten into “People who live/work in settings that put them at increased/higher risk of becoming infected or exposed to hazards.”

Meanwhile, some of the CDC-approved phrases are rather benign but just entirely pointless. Elderly is turned into “elders,” a replacement that is just as useless as it is insufficient, given that one is an adjective and the other is a noun.

The woke versions of some terms are yet to be concocted. “Criminal” is one of the words the CDC deems offensive, yet no accurate substitute is provided. We are left only with the euphemisms “persons in pre-trial or with charge” or “people who were formerly incarcerated,” neither of which clearly denote that someone has committed a crime, which is of course not accidental.

Other revisions have more blatantly socio-political ends in mind, one such example being the phrase “genetically male” or “genetically female,” which the CDC wants us to phase out in favor of “assigned” or “designated” “male/female at birth.” The reality that someone may have been “assigned” or “designated” as either male or female specifically because he or she is one of the two sexes on a genetic, biological level appears to have been completely lost on the bureaucrat who was tasked with enlightening us with the newest woke dictionary.

Controlling Rhetoric As A Political Strategy

This obsession with over-complicating language is not incidental and has in fact been a consistent and identifiable strategy to muddy the waters of political discourse and frame discussions in a way that benefits the left from the outset of the conversation. The CDC’s woke vocabulary guide is just the left’s latest, more blatant attempt to manipulate language for political ends. 

This strategy is perhaps most evident when considering the competing terms of “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” and the euphemistic “undocumented immigrant,” or even the updated, CDC-prescribed term, “people with undocumented status.” 

As others have pointed out, calling an illegal immigrant “undocumented” is akin to calling a drug dealer an “unlicensed sales representative of unregulated pharmaceuticals.” Is it true? In a very loose sense, maybe, but is it sincerely descriptive of the situation at hand? Not at all. The entire point is that it’s designed not to be. 

When we use language that has been predetermined by our political opposition, we agree to terms that all but seal our fate and ensure their victory. Of course someone who is here illegally should be deported, but a person with undocumented status? Well, they just need documentation, right? Lucky for us, documentation is just one more amnesty away!

This is, however, an incredibly useful litmus test to see which end of the political spectrum has the truth on its side. Those who constantly attempt to obfuscate, dance around common words with overly complex catchphrases, and generally use rhetoric to obscure the meanings of language, are most certainly people who find the truth, and by extension, honesty, to be burdensome obstacles to their political and social agenda.

But knowing the truth, no matter the issue at hand, is not sufficient. If the meaning of words are distorted and language is manipulated, all while using certain phrases is made taboo because of their accuracy, then those who wish to inquire about the nature of an issue will only be capable of doing so within predetermined bounds that have been crafted by those who’ve made misdirection their goal. 

The only solution is to reject not only the CDC’s new vocabulary guidelines but the left’s rhetorical framework in its entirety and without reservation, even if it means your essay will still be just shy of that final page.