Language is extremely powerful. Language can consciously or unconsciously offend, intimidate, belittle, exclude, reinforce harmful stereotypes and contribute to the unequal status of individuals. Language can also have very positive effects on people. When inclusive language is used it can make people feel included, valued and empowered. Use people-centric inclusive language, which values and respects the diversity of people, and sees people as people – not as a stereotype, attribute or characteristic. Inclusive language is one way we can demonstrate cultural competence.
· Are you in the habit of using people-centric language?
· Do you regularly use male centered words such as freshman (use first-year student), forefathers (use ancestors), mankind (use humankind), manpower (use workforce), mailman (use mail carrier, letter carrier, postal worker) etc.?
· What assumptions do you make about someone based on limited information, such as their name, voice, physical features, appearance, etc.?
· How often do you add unnecessary identity descriptors, only because they don’t match the dominate group or break a stereotype, when referencing someone?
· Do you consistently ensure that your materials and your delivery methods are accessible to all?
· How do you respond when someone uses inappropriate, exclusive, offensive language in your presence?
Continued Learning Resources…
· Collaborative Diversity Conference session presented by Rabbi Barbara Block, Rev. Phil Snider, and Dr. Mara Cohen Ioannides | Words Do Hurt Me: How We Unconsciously Use Language That Hurts – Thursday, April 25 from 3:45-5pm in PSU 312 Register here: https://diversity.missouristate.edu/conference/Registration.htm
· everyday feminism article by Maddie McClouskey: 5 Questions Cis People Are Still Asking About Why Trans-Inclusive Language Matters, Answered
· Article by Chike Ukaegbu: Please do not refer to us as ‘Underrepresented’, ‘Underserved’, ‘Marginalized’ or ‘Minority’ anymore. Thank you!
· Inside Higher Ed article by Dafina-Lazarus Stewart: Language of Appeasement
· Care2 article: 40 Alternatives to These Ableist and Oppressive Words
· Buffer Blog by Courtney Seiter: An Incomplete Guide to Inclusive Language for Startups and Tech
· everyday feminism article by Adrian Ballou: 7 Tired Phrases That Marginalize Trans People – And What to Use Instead
· Best Life article by Morgan Greenwald: 20 Things You’re Saying You Didn’t Know Were Offensive
· COLORLINES article by Miriam Zoila Pérez: These Interpreters Are Bringing a Radical Approach to Language Access
· The Safe Zone Project: LGBTQ-Inclusive Language Dos and Don’ts
· NEA Thought & Action journal – article by Jessica C. Harris, Ryan P. Barone, & Lori Patton Davis (pages 21-38): Who Benefits?: A Critical Race Analysis of the (D)Evolving Language of Inclusion in Higher Education
(shared by the Diversity Committee, Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services)