Practicing Cultural Humility: Inclusive Language

To continue our ‘Practicing’ series, exploring how ODE practices our values in our everyday lives, this post will explore the power of language. (Click here to view our previous post on cultural humility.)

Our society often unconsciously creates and perpetuates stereotypes, but these stereotypes lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is unfavorable. That being said, both, benevolent and hostile forms of prejudice are harmful. 

As a solution, inclusive language is language that is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. It is also language that doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from being seen as part of a group.

There are multiple kinds of inclusive language: gender inclusive, mental health inclusive, sexual orientation inclusive, ethnicity inclusive, etc. Each iteration reflects on the power of kindness, positive intention, and inclusion.

We often say phrases like “wow, that’s crazy!”, “hey guys!”, and some people still say “that’s so gay!”. Although the message of each phrase is based on a stereotype or affiliation, each phrase attempts to say something valid. By a simple shift in our language, we may change those phrases to “wow, that’s bazaar!”, “hey y’all!”, and maybe something like “that’s so radical!”. Here’s a link to 100 things to say instead of “That’s so gay”.

We have the opportunity to shift our language and take the extra step to ensure that everyone feels included and truly valued.