After reading “The Inclusive Language Handbook” by Jackie Ferguson and Roxanne Bellamy, I was thoroughly embarrassed. I was reminded of all the non-inclusive words that I’ve been wrongly using for years at work and at home. They included sexist language, totally dumb terms and words that I should never have used.
This short book is filled with examples, exercises and quizzes to make us more aware of using language that includes everyone. According to the authors, “Inclusive language is the daily practice of communicating intentionally unbiased words that acknowledge diversity, convey respect, and support an environment of equitable opportunity.” They stress “daily practice” as using inclusive language can have a positive effect on culture and human relationships.
I never paused to think that humankind is more inclusive than mankind, human-made is better than man-made and it’s better addressing folks as friends, colleagues, team etc. than saying “you guys.” I didn’t know that a more inclusive term for wheelchair bound was “person who uses a wheel chair” and it’s better addressing a person as having a learning disability than saying that the person was a slow learner. The book also provides specific guidance regarding inclusive language use across different sectors like healthcare and retail.
This is a treasure for anyone wanting to use more inclusive language to enhance communication and collaboration.