I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about gender.

Various news reports and annual studies crossed my desk either analyzing data, evaluating 2013, and/or making projections for 2014; and, something struck me. I think for most of us, the buzzword “gender” is actually a code word for “women.”

What’s the situation for women, how much do women get paid, how many women are partners, and so on. This got me thinking; in what other ways do we talk in code? I think about the adjective “urban”, or “inner-city” ­ a way to talk around labeling an area African-American but still carrying all the same assumptions.

Also, “working class” ­ a polite reference to those subsisting around the poverty line. Or, when we talk about “the border” ­ because apparently the United States has only one and it¹s a deeply racialized space to the south.

  • What are other code words?
  • How do you use them?

This week I’ll play cryptologist, breaking down these codes and their hidden meanings or biases.

What coded messages have you received?