Are the Words You Use Inclusive?

Diversity isn’t hiring goals and well-balanced EEO-1 reports. Inclusion is more than making sure everyone is invited to the meeting and encouraged to participate.

Diversity and inclusion extend to the words we use and how we say things, which is the point Jessie Nelson, founder of  KITH+common, makes in this DisruptHR talk. Nelson identifies as gender neutral and tells us to use the pronouns they or them. 

Consider for a moment a new hire being onboarded. What box do they check if, like Nelson, the person does not identify as a him or her?

“We use pretty binary language,” they point out, “and that creates a pretty narrow scope of understanding of how the world works. What that means is our internal collective and our internal cultures use a narrow scope of language and that leads to a lack of motivation and a lack of interest to… bring diversity.”

The way we speak reinforces the way we think and act.

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“You start to use intentional inclusive language,” explains Nelson, “You start to see impact in that area and then those become our social norms… Inclusion is your mission and the words you use matter.”

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