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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Applauds Revised AP Stylebook Guidance for Terms Describing Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing
March 22, 2022
Lansing, MI--Annie Urasky, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, has issued the following statement on updated AP Stylebook guidelines for references to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The revised guidelines strongly advise against use of the terms “hearing impaired”, “deaf-mute” and “deaf and dumb”.
“I applaud the announcement from the AP Stylebook which makes long-overdue revisions to guidelines for journalists which align with the identity and cultural preferences within the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing communities. In 2016, Michigan passed legislation which removed these outdated and offensive terms from Michigan statutes. This step by the AP, which embraces inclusive and culturally appropriate language for the identities of our community, is a welcome one.”
The AP Stylebook, published by the Associated Press, is the leading grammar and usage guide for journalists and a widely respected and adopted guidebook for public communication in corporate, non-profit and government communication.
The Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, housed within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, affirms the indisputable rights of Michiganders who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing to secure effective communication. The Division receives input from a thirteen-member Advisory Council appointed by the Governor. The Division provides:
• Educational programs and services for individuals who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing on the right to equal protection under the law; and advises businesses, courts, hospitals and other entities who may be called upon to provide accommodations for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing individuals.
• Advice on accessibility and compliance with state and federal laws for employers, educational institutions, service providers and businesses with recommendations on ways to ensure inclusive and accessible programs and services for individuals who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.
• Referrals for individuals who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing to appropriate public or private agencies that deal with specific problems or concerns.
• Technical support and information on assistive technology.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and working to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides training and services to government agencies, businesses, schools and organizations on diversity initiatives, fair housing and equal employment law. MDCR is the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC). Learn more about MDCR and MCRC at www.michigan.gov/mdcr.
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