Critical Thoughts on Inclusive Language

“We ALL get to be specific about who we are.” ~Margarita Diaz

How to Include Ourselves

We are not about hiding who we are, no matter who we are, right?

We strive for acceptance and even appreciation of all our varied identities.

We try to be inclusive.

▪️Truly inclusive acts are about promoting a sense that everyone isn’t just welcome; they are also valued.

🧰 And one of our tools for furthering this goal is inclusive language.

Inclusive language aims to do exactly as the term implies: address a wider audience with fewer assumptions so everyone feels included.

▪️In practice, it means using terms that are more general in nature when referring to non-specific individuals or groups. For example:

•”people” instead of “men and women;”

•”parents” instead of “mothers and fathers;”

•”caretakers” instead of “parents;”

•”spouses” instead of “husbands and wives;”

•”partners” instead of “spouses;”

•”students” instead of “children;”

•”participants” instead of “students;”


▪️These examples all substitute more specific terms for more general terms that remove some assumptions.

⚠️ But what happens when we refer to ourselves?

Inclusive language does not ask us to be less specific about our own identities for the comfort of others, no matter WHO we are.

Remember that.

💥 It’s inclusive to call yourself a mother instead of a parent or caretaker.

💥 It’s inclusive to refer to your husband as your husband instead of your partner.

💥 It’s inclusive to be specific about who YOU are.

And it’s your choice to be less specific too.

❓How do you feel* when you hear the term “inclusive language?”

•Maybe you feel nothing 😶.

•Perhaps confused 😵‍💫?

•Even bothered 🙄.

•Or just encouraged 😃!

*Your answer may depend on your experience with the application of the term.

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