The Asian American Journalists Association commends the decision to include and update terms pertaining to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the AP Stylebook, the premier style guide for our industry. It is crucial that media outlets use thoughtful and intentional language that accurately describes the AAPI community and the AAPI experience.
Asian, Pacific Islander, AAPI, Stop AAPI Hate, and anti-Asian sentiment have all been added to the Stylebook. With regard to anti-Asian sentiment, the Stylebook recommends, “Avoid this euphemism, which conveys little meaning. Alternatives may include anti-Asian bias, anti-Asian harassment, anti-Asian comments, anti-Asian racism or anti-Asian violence, depending on the situation. Be specific and give details about what happened or what someone says happened.”
In our coverage guidance on Atlanta shootings and anti-Asian hate incidents released in March, we urge newsrooms and communications professionals to “Be specific and descriptive when referring to violence and harassment aimed at Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Rather than using euphemisms like ‘anti-Asian sentiment,’ assess whether it is more accurate to use terms like ‘anti-Asian bias,’ ‘anti-Asian incident,’ ‘anti-Asian rhetoric,’ ‘anti-Asian violence,’ or ‘assault against Asians.’”
AAJA is grateful for the leadership of our members within AAJA and within their places of work in their advocacy for accurate and fair representation of AAPI communities.
“We are especially grateful for the work of our longtime member, former national officer and AP editor Pia Sarkar, who worked closely with AAJA’s Stylebook and MediaWatch committees to shape both the AP revisions and AAJA’s work setting high standards for newsrooms covering AAPI communities,” said Michelle Ye Hee Lee, AAJA President.
Pia Sarkar served on the AAJA National Board as the VP of Civic Engagement from 2017-2020, is a current board member with the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA), has been a member of the AAJA MediaWatch committee since 2017, and is a member of the AAJA Style Guide Committee.