Pump Up Your Personality
Free people are unafraid to be themselves. Your personal style of signaling beliefs is as important as it is individual. You already know who you are. Take time to think about what you’re like, and then demonstrate Free Fair & Healthy in ways that highlight your singular self. Here are a few tips for activating your inner FF&H.
Design with Discipline
Recondition Your Writing
Free Fair & Healthy communication is clean, direct and opinionated. Here are some guidelines for mashing words together in ways that excite your audience and help you avoid being a jerk. (Not a writer? They’re tips for becoming a better person too.)
Please don’t “please.” Unleash your brilliance in language as direct and fiery as you can find. Offending a few people is okay if it’s needed to express a considered, passionate, Free Fair & Healthy position.
Edit for equity. No Free Fair & Healthy communication is complete until you’ve put your draft through these six tests:
Assume you’ve made assumptions.
Look for potholes of privilege that might trip up your audience. For example, maybe you referenced “family” as shorthand for a sense of comfort, forgetting the meaning could be opposite for many people.
Give everyone their pronoun.
Relax your singular vs. plural tension and let language evolve beyond the gender binary. Respecting identity is more important than showing off your grade school grammar skills.
Manhandle gender references.
Search your draft documents for “man.” Unless you’re referring to an actual man, use gender-neutral language instead.
Be brutal about your own bias.
Have you described experiences as “neutral” when they’re really about whiteness, maleness, straightness, wealth, etc.?
Beware of misplaced blame.
Mind your becauses. “Subtle aggressions were constant because the children were black” fails. “Subtle aggressions were constant because that’s how white folks act, and the children were black” succeeds.
Don’t idealize “innocence.”
Be cautious when combining the facts of an event with your description of the people involved. “The victim was an ‘A student’ who had just stopped by the party to pick up a friend” implies that a crime might have been be less tragic if the victim were a C student who had been drinking.
Steer clear of cliches, now more than ever. Scrubbing text of overused phrases makes you think more deeply about what you really mean. Alternatives are always more interesting and often more succinct.
Eschew obscurity. Save that fancy vocabulary for impressing your next first date. Use fresh, descriptive language that is easily understood without help from a search engine.
Lead with the most important part of your story. That’s why it’s called “the Lead.” FFS, we don’t want to find it all the way down here.
Have fun. Laughing out loud motivates people to remember and repeat your ideas.