Reading about your travel destination has been taken over by wokeness
By Rachel Alexander
A big problem with political correctness, wokeness — whatever the left’s latest censorship is being called — is that it doesn’t just apply to politics, these busybodies want to control every aspect of our lives. You can’t escape them anymore. The latest area they are making inroads into is travel and vacations. Now, articles you read about places you want to visit explore how positive the experience is based on what opportunities are available for the nonbinary, how well Critical Race Theory has been implemented in the area and whether there are very many right wing laws.
The Society of American Travel Writers bragged to its members about holding two training sessions on “implicit bias” this month. Switzerland Tourism sponsored it. They brought in an expert on the subject, a PHd named Robert T. Marks who leads the “National Training Institute on Race and Equity” at Morehouse College and served twice in the Barack Obama administration. The SATW pushed it on its members in an email entitled, “The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Leads Travel Industry with Outstanding Bias Training by Morehouse College.” They declared, “Many Americans show a positive implicit bias toward White Americans vs. African Americans.”
While membership in the SATW isn’t mandatory for travel writers — who include photographers, bloggers, video producers, hospitality representatives and others — considering it is “the nation’s premier professional travel media organization comprising 1,000 of the travel industry’s most experienced” professionals, it’s not something anyone in the industry can easily ignore. Its guidelines warn, “All members must meet and maintain the industry’s highest standards of productivity, ethics and conduct, and support SATW’s mission of ‘Inspiring Travel through Responsible Journalism.’” You know what “responsible” means.
Travel journalists who don’t buy into the wokeness can forget about ever getting an award from them. For example, “The Phoenix Awards recognize and honor destinations that showcase responsible, sustainable tourism, including conservation; preservation; beautification and anti-pollution efforts as they relate to travel.”
The SATW Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Committee put together a list of woke words for travel writers to use, not much different than the AP’s notorious Stylebook. There’s cisgender, a relatively new derogatory term for heterosexuals. “Homeless” is no longer acceptable, instead phrases like “people without housing” or “people without homes” are supposed to be used. “Jew” is unacceptable because it “has been used as a slur and can be offensive.” “LatinX” is encouraged, which is a new woke term for Hispanics because it eliminates gender, but the style guide admits it is “not used widely by the people who the terms describe, who largely prefer Hispanic at this time.”
There is an extensive discussion of why using BIPOC, or Black, Indigenous, People of Color, may be offensive instead of just using POC, because “it can be considered lazy to lump all these groups together as if they face the same challenges.” What’s wrong with just minorities? Oh there’s a reason for that too, “Minority can be synonymous with inferiority, emphasizes quantity over quality, and creates and perpetuates negative stereotypes.”
Writers are no longer allowed to default to a generic male reference, as has been done for thousands of years. “Do not presume maleness in constructing a sentence by defaulting to he/his/him, as it’s preferable to reword the sentence to avoid gender.”
There is a lengthy list of words that can be construed as racist, sexist etc. It sounds straight out of George Orwell’s 1984. The list includes “aggressive,” “brown,” “caucasian,” “crazy,” “derelict,” “discover,” “eenie meenie miney mo,” “Eskimo,” “exotic,” “fuzzy-wuzzy,” “ghetto,” “globalism,” “grandfathered in,” “half-” (as in half-some race), “hysterical,” “Indian,” “long time, no see,” “looter,” “loud,” “minority,” “mixed-race,” “moron,” “nasty,” “no can do,” “Orient,” “peanut gallery,” “pushy,” “Third World,” “thug,” “uppity,” “urban,” and “vagrant.”
Other words the style guide explains in a positive way as new language that should be embraced include “agender,” “cisgender,” “gender expression,” “gender identity,” “intersex,” “nonbinary” and “racialized people.” “Black” should now be capitalized although white is not.
While the MSM isn’t going to make the general public aware of how extreme this organization has become, some of it is left in plain sight. There is a statement about “Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion” on SATW’s website. Their DEAI committee holds weekly Zoom meetings for travel writers that include the president and board.
Strangely, the Alabama Department of Tourism is sponsoring leftist SATW's 2021 convention in Wisconsin. The department is run by Lee Sentell, a political appointee of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey. Why is Alabama, perhaps the deepest red of red states, sponsoring this CRT propaganda? This is the same Sentell who said that Alabama electing Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate was a good thing. There is already a real problem with some red states hiring leftist PR companies. Travel Texas and Visit Florida, Florida’s tourism office, funded leftist PR company MMGY’s woke study examining the “intersectionality” of “LatinX” tourism.
Average Americans have no problem with diversity, the U.S. is one of the most diverse and peaceful nations in the world. They simply want everyone treated equally and fairly. They don’t want everything viewed in terms of Critical Race Theory, where every issue in our lives is analyzed in terms of what race we belong to. So many Americans are mixed race nowadays or married to someone of another race that it is really absurd to obsessively focus on a them vs. us mentality.
While SATW may not be a mandatory organization for writers in the travel industry, its high level of influence makes it difficult to work around. Consequently, tourists are no longer seeing an accurate portrayal of places they research; instead, they’re being told to visit the most woke areas. Expect to hear a lot of positive portrayals of San Francisco, Portland, Boulder, etc. Red states will get negative portrayals, hurting their tourism and consequently how much revenue they bring in. And don’t expect conservative journalists to stick around the industry much longer; just another profession forcing them out.
Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative . She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, Enter Stage Right and other publications.