The Associated Press Stylebook’s Twitter account has deleted a tweet that used the term “the French.”
The post suggested that writers should avoid using “the” in front of words describing groups of people, advising against phrases such as “the French.”
“We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college-educated. Instead, use wording such as people with mental illnesses. And use these descriptions only when clearly relevant,” the now-deleted post read.
— Emily Miller (@Emily Miller)
But the Associated Press has said that including the phrase “the French” was not appropriate — ironically, while issuing the mea culpa, the AP still included the supposedly unacceptable phrase: “The use of ‘the French’ in this tweet by @AP was inappropriate and has caused unintended offense. An updated tweet is upcoming.”
— The Associated Press (@The Associated Press)
“We deleted an earlier tweet because of an inappropriate reference to French people. We did not intend to offend,” the APStylebook account tweeted. “Writing French people, French citizens, etc., is good. But ‘the’ terms for any people can sound dehumanizing and imply a monolith rather than diverse individuals.”
The now-deleted post caught the attention of the French Embassy in the U.S., which posted a screenshot in which it had typed “Embassy of Frenchness in the US” into the name form on its Twitter profile editing box.
— French Embassy U.S. (@French Embassy U.S.)
Wealthy business tycoon Elon Musk wrote, “So then why do call yourself ‘The’ Associated Press.'”
“I agree, these days we probably should label ‘the college-educated’ people with mental illnesses instead,” Ben Shapiro tweeted.
“The AP has declared the word ‘the’ offensive. I thought this was a @TheBabylonBee story for a second – and I run The Babylon Bee,” the satire website’s editor-in-chief Kyle Mann tweeted.
— Kyle Mann (@Kyle Mann)
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