The Kilian 5

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The first part of this chapter gave helpful tips for noobs to writing like check verbiage, make sure international readers will understand, and critiquing your text on paper. But, when I got to subheading 8.5, I started to really disagree with the book. I feel that not using terms that might make someone uncomfortable or making sure all your work is politically correct takes away from the personal voice of the writer. I understand if it is corporate writing or if you are trying to sell something to a group of people. But, if it is just a website for yourself or expressing something you like or dislike, then why be so politically correct.

I'm not saying not to be sensitive to others, but I feel the level of political correctness in America in attempt to not step on someone's toes just comes off as holding back from what they really think or what they want to say. I was in a class recently and we were talking about demographics and education. One girl was in the middle of her statement and paused to look around the room before hesistantly saying "African American." Why couldn't she just say "black" or whatever she wanted to say?

If I hurt someone's feelings because I'm not being politically correct, then that's too bad. I'm not going to censor myself to make someone feel better. But, I'm also not going to be blatantly mean. I'm not going to describe someone a "nappy-headed hoe." That's not nice or right to do.

And why not say "Anyone who rides a bike without a helmet will eventually get his head examined." People know that I wouldn't just be talking about men and if my text was all in the singular and I change it to plural for that one sentence I feel the flow would come out odd.

For corporate webwriting, this may be a great book, but I feel it is telling me to take away from what makes my work original or creative.

I do not like that, Sam I Am. I do not like this Kilian.

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Once I was the only male on a hiring committee. A male candidate delivered a presentation that included only pictures of men (maybe there was a woman in a group shot), and several times he referred to "he" when he meant to say "an individual person." The females in the group didn't actually notice what he had done, but at the same time they weren't impressed by his performance. I'm not saying that he would have gotten the job if his choice of words or photos was more inclusive, but he missed an opportunity to connect with his audience. And that's really the whole thing -- make sure that your writing matches the needs of your intended audience. But because writing for the internet exposes your words to a large number of people you might not think of as your intended audience, you need to be very deliberate about breaking any of the rules of professional communication.

I think, Aja, if you have a wide range of writing samples, including some that demonstrate you can play by the rules of corporate culture when you have to, then there's no harm in using your more personal voice for your reflective and argumentative writing.

Daniella Choynowski said:

I think people can go a little overboard in the P.C. department. All of the sudden, I see "B.C.E." and "C.E." in my textbooks. When I take notes though, I use A.D and B.C. Come on, it's a label for dates! If we change everything to make it neutral and non-offensive, the world will become incredibly boring. That said, we should always use sensativity when thinking of our audience.

There was an episode of That 70's Show where Donna's mother was in a feminist meeting. She says to one of her fellow members "I saved you a seat on the Ottoman-whoops, I mean the autowoman!"

First off I like that you're not afraid to put your own ideas and personal voice out there to say what you think. I'm the same way, so when I come across that kind of writing, I enjoy and appreciate it.

Although, there are times for it and times for when you have to be professional. For example, this year I'm interning at the Holocaust Center on campus and most of my work is writing for them. In their blogs I have to be proper and make sure that EVERYTHING is in the style they need and like, because their audience is much different from my own.

That doesn't mean that in my own blog I use that voice, or those specifics. (I don't think I ever do that for my entries.) But you have to show yourself as able to do both. Just like colleges like to see a student that is well rounded - businesses are going to want well rounded writers.

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