Diversity Words: What You Need To Know

Diversity words used throughout the workplace, according to experts, may reinforce bias or confront it, bring people together, or split them all according to the use. Researchers have demonstrated the ability of words to affect perception in supervised tests.

Patience and sensitivity are required when evaluating phrases and words that are typically unquestioned, as well as when modifying personal patterns. Some of these terms are unintentionally offensive and are intended to be instructional. Others are cruel; they have often spoken accidentally without understanding the context or meaning.

Diversity Words that Need to Be Avoided

While it’s typically unintended and unconscious, managers and employees still use terms/expressions that aren’t always welcomed. Here is a list of terms, phrases, and workplace procedures to avoid.

  • Avoid Gender Assumptions

A strategy to eliminate gender discriminating phrases from employment contracts is to minimize gender assumptions. If you don’t know a person’s gender identity solely based on their name or looks, use gender-inclusive terms or inquire regarding their pronouns. 

This best practice has to do with the interviewing process. However, deleting terms like “he” and “she” or “parent” and “father” from everyday workplace communication may assist employers in avoiding insulting a candidate who does not identify with a gender or is in a partnership where their young kids refer to them as “parents.”

  • Sweeping Use of the Word’ Minority’

People from underrepresented populations such as African Americans, Latinos, South Asians, Pacific Peoples, Indigenous People, and others are frequently referred to as “underrepresented.” In just over a generation, racial minorities will make up the majority of the country’s population. 

Children born to Black, Latinx, Asian, and bi-racial parents now make up more than half of all births in the United States. Instead, state something like “children from underrepresented origins” or “graduates from a certain racial community.”

  • Everything is referred to as a ‘Mental Disability’

This statement suggests that someone who is having difficulties or has a mental condition is incapacitated and unable to work. They are likely to feel stigmatized and undesired in the job as a result of this. Many individuals who battle with mental health issues are excellent at their professions despite their difficulties, and helping them may help them become even more valuable to your company.

  • Idioms from the Area should be Avoided

Every region of the entire planet has its distinct phrases. Cultural metaphors and analogies are frequently used to misrepresent cultural behaviors. Keep an eye out for expressions and phrases that might be seen as cultural appropriation. 

For example, using the phrase “low man on the totem pole” to signify hierarchy or the word is improper. Native Communities’ special meanings and uses for cultural artworks and rituals are unique, and they should be utilized exclusively in that context.

Diversity Words to Use

Businesses need to train new connections in their thoughts and become more conscious of how particular languages may create a more collaborative atmosphere by spending the additional energy to be more careful of the language they use. Here are some words/phrases to use and include in the workplace language. 

  • Use Universal Phrases

Idiomatic expressions, industry jargon, and abbreviations can be used to exclude individuals who do not have a specialized understanding of a subject and, as a result, obstruct efficient communication. Many expressions are difficult to translate from one language to another.

If the individual does not understand the term or baseball’s cultural influence and importance, for example, stating “Knock it out of the park” might transform your support into a cause of embarrassment. Instead, use a generic “I have faith in you!” alternatively.

Using the term “guys” to speak to everyone is gendered terminology that might imply that males are the favored gender at your company. Instead, use phrases like individuals, people, you all, y’all, and colleagues to be inclusive.

  • Use People-first Language

One method to prevent negative language in job postings is to use people-first language. What is the meaning of people-first language? People-first language is linked to a variety of factors, including disability, race, religion, age, and nationality. The following are some instances of people-first language:

  1. “Colored” vs “person of color.”
  2. “Disabled individual” vs “disabled people.”
  3. “African-Americans” vs “blacks.”
  4. “The homeless” vs “homeless people.”
  5. “Wheelchair-bound” or “restricted to a wheelchair.” 
  6. “The elderly” vs “seniors.”
  7. “Transgenders” vs “transgender persons.”
  8. “Part-Indian” vs “someone of Indian descent.”

More than 70% of students told Handshake that they prefer a diverse, inclusive firm and makes individuals feel valued, irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, impairment, financial standing, or appearances. Unless a person expresses a desire for anything else, it’s better to employ people-first language.

  • Use Correct In-Group Terms

In-group expressions are phrases that are acceptable and used by individuals in the same group but are rarely acceptable for use by non-members. In-group terminology is frequently formed as a kind of re-appropriation and endurance.

For example, among older First Nation communities, the term “Indian” might well be employed as an in-group name. Individuals of the Indigenous community frequently use the phrases “Aboriginal,” “First Nations,” “Native,” and “Indigenous” alike.

People are advised, however, to understand that these labels have diverse connotations for different people. Native communities, for example, might utilize in-group phrases that are inappropriate for those outside of that group to use. When working with members of the Indigenous population, it’s always a good idea to find out which phrase they prefer.

  • Instead of Using the Words’ Partner’ or ‘Spouse,’ Use the Phrase ‘Guest’

Let’s assume the office is holding a staff party for the employees. Instead of using words like “partner” or “spouse,” ask everyone to bring one’ guest’. It’s the most comprehensive and inclusive term to use. If you use the word spouse, you will upset folks who aren’t married. 

Even partners, although more inclusive, alienate others who just wish to invite a friend or relative. Because the word “guest” is used, everyone feels free to invite anyone they wish. And that’s what you’re aiming for in the end.

  • Creating a Discriminatory Language in the Workplace Policy

When something relates to diversity and inclusion, the majority of individuals are well-intentioned. However, loving profoundly isn’t always enough. Day after day, individuals must demonstrate an inclusive attitude. And one of the most effective ways to do so is to discuss diversity. Alternatively, you can bring attention to problematic behavior.

For example, develop an “inappropriate language in the company policy” or a “derogatory language in the office policy,” for example. This sort of policy restricts the use of derogatory language, labeling, name-calling, as well as other associated behaviors across the organization, in addition to phrases used in the position description.

Employers who have procedures in place to prevent discrimination and the use of improper language in the office are more likely to be held accountable for their actions. When it comes to utilizing more appropriate terminology, online and offline resources may be helpful.

Final Thoughts

Language shapes cultural and social views, and using inclusive language in the workplace is an effective strategy to ensure equality and eliminate preconceptions. It is critical to be careful of what is being said and how it will be said to ensure that this guide is reflective of all students from every background, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, generation, impairment, financial level, and so on. It is not difficult to talk about diversity and identities at work; all it takes is a little attentiveness.

Related Content

IMPACTFUL COMPLIANCE & PREVENTION TRAINING

Impactly’s online sexual harassment and diversity, equity & inclusion training packages are used by hundreds of organizations across the country. Impactly is powered by Get Inclusive, one of the largest providers of prevention and compliance training for colleges and universities.