For writers who delight in finding ways to describe obviously racist actions without using the word “racist,” these are red-letter days. “Racially-charged,” the milquetoast standby for years, has become too transparent a dodge for most Trump-related-situations (though the Wall Street Journal and NPR still play the classics), but as we all know, creativity thrives on limitations. So now we’re in the midst of a full on literary movement, as never-before-seen combinations of words like “racially infused politics” or “widely established as a racist trope” thrill readers and literary critics alike. There’s no increase in clarity or precision that justifies these flourishes, any more than there would be in saying the sky was “widely established as blue in color,” and, indeed, the AP Stylebook recently clarified their stance on the issue:
Outlets that take the AP’s approach have undeniably done a better job of informing their readers what’s going on: CNN’s “Trump Denies Racist Tweets Were Racist” headline gives you an entire news cycle in six words. But people whose employers have decided not to describe the world as it is, trying to find yet another way to spell the word “RACIST” using only negative space can be exhausting, especially if they think of themselves as “journalists” instead of “poets of white supremacy.” For these folks, The Daily Show has built something to save time: a “Trump Racist Euphemism Headline Generator” that automates the process of bending over backwards to avoid angering white supremacists who do not appreciate being reminded that they are white supremacists. You don’t even have to tell it what Trump has done this time (something racist, we bet). Just visit tdstrumpracistheadline.com and click the button to flip through all-purpose headlines like “Trump Plants Seeds of Racially Sauteed Fumblerooski,” “Trump Explores Inner Workings of Racially Hued Hullaballo,” or “Trump Orders Sampler of Race-O-Metric Imbroglio” until you find the one that does the best job of concealing what Trump did and why he did it. It’s an easy way to avoid accusations that your writing has become fact-infused, journalism-tinged, or, worst of all, honest. Thanks, Daily Show!