The Weaponization of Ignorance: Word Ban Placed on the CDC

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Courtesy of Slate

Bans: book bans, clothing bans, alcohol bans, and media bans. All of these have been implemented throughout history to control the way people act. Just last week in America, the white house placed a word ban on the Center for Disease Control (CDC), preventing them from using seven words in official reports including, “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based,” and “evidence-based” in their reports.
If one were to consider what a disease control center needs to state in their reports, the horrifying effects of this ban immediately come to light. How is a center able to aide transgender health needs if it cannot even use the word transgender? How can anyone work for the 126 million women if they are not allowed to use a critical word: fetus? How is it possible to even classify research without the phrases “science-based” and “evidence-based”?
The purpose of this ban is probably not to complicate the life of workers in the CDC, but instead to refuse the acknowledgement of certain issues that plague our national and global communities. By not allowing the use of the word transgender, reports must be written as if the entire concept, the entire group of people, doesn’t exist. This is clearly problematic because transgender people exist. Transgender people are valid. And to live claiming otherwise would be to live a life of ignorance. The intention behind the ban is made obvious— it seeks to solve health issues simply by forbidding the mention of their existence. As Dana Singister, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America pointedly stated, “You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words ‘vulnerable’ or ‘diversity’.”
This is the government’s short route out of what the world recognizes as immediate problems, a way of addressing them without actually helping anything, a way of claiming to obliterate something by ignoring it. Everyone deserves to have their health concerns considered, from people of color, to women, to transgender people, and the rallying cries of those who find the ban outrageous have proved so. Minorities across the country will undoubtedly be affected by this development, but only if we accept this forced ignorance and let their problems fade into background noise. Only if those unaffected continue to live in ignorance about these matters, continue to believe that pretending a problem doesn’t exist is the best way to solve it, thousands across the country will suffer. That is a coward’s escape, and we are not, cannot afford to be, cowards. Ignorance may be bliss for the privileged, but it is destructive for those affected. So please, spread the word, look around, acknowledge issues, accept other types of people, because this is the only way we can coexist.

-Katie Jain