Review: Rosalie Maggio, Unspinning the Spin

Here’s my review of Rosalie Maggio, Unspinning the Spin, which I’ve also posted on Amazon:

Unbiased Language Is Not Possible

Unspinning the Spin is a worthwhile effort to counter what I, the authors, and many other others (but not everyone) consider harmful, counterproductive, biases in the English language.

However, assertions in the introductory “Writing Guidelines” concerning the possibility of “unbiased language” are incorrect. Unbiased language is not possible. That’s because bias is natural to the human condition; in the words of a fastcompany post, “If you have a brain, you’re automatically biased”. Moreover, many biases are (as pointed out by Tom De Michele in a factmyth blog post, People Can Be Truly Unbiased MYTH) beneficial as well as natural: “we are hardwired with bias and [use] bias constantly as part of the natural neurological process of learning”. Rather than trying for the impossible-unbiased, we should acknowledge our biases and deal with them by reducing or countering detrimental biases and optimizing salutary partialities and inclinations.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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