The left-wing Guardian has argued that using the term “wealthy elite” is “anti-Semitic,” in what appears to be an assumption that all “wealthy elites” are Jewish, which is paradoxically a racist statement in itself.
“Avoid phrases that link negativity with blackness; anti-racism report recommends,” The Guardian reports.
Phrases and words that link negativity with blackness and positivity with whiteness – such as “black mood,” “dark times,” or “whiter than white” – reinforce racist connotations and should be avoided, an anti-racism initiative has recommended.
Reframing Race has put together a report titled Contains Strong Language to equip anti-racism and racial inequality campaigners with the words that have proven most effective in persuading people of the “harm and structural nature of racism.”
The guide says associating whiteness with purity, cleanliness and goodness, and blackness with evil and destruction serves to “reinforce harmful tropes and the constructed racial hierarchy in which ‘black and minoritized’ people are pushed to the bottom.”
It also suggests using images or visual descriptions that apply only to white people – such as “blushing red,” “ashen faces,” or “lips turning blue” risks othering black or minoritized people and should be avoided.
[…] Other recommendations include avoiding the phrase “white working class” and rather using “multi-ethnic working class” or “working-class people of all ethnicities” because the use of the former wrongly excludes black and minoritized people from the class group.
It also suggests avoiding the use of the term “wealthy elite” and rather saying “the powerful few” as the former phrase can trigger antisemitism and feed the conspiracy theories of far-right white nationalists.
A few years ago, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he prefers the term “people of means.”
Instead of using the word “racism,” campaigners should talk about the “ideology of racism” or the “practice of racism,” as overuse of the standalone term racism without additional information or context can create an “unavoidable fog.”
Other recommendations include referring to ethnic minority people rather than ethnic minorities as the latter term is dehumanizing.