Language is powerful. Words can unite people and lead to knowledge and acceptance, or they can create division and lead to misunderstandings and catastrophic consequences. A critical part of maintaining an inclusive and equitable workplace is to provide a sense of safety, and that level of safety is influenced by everyday words or phrases that we use. All individuals in an organisation need to understand that words truly matter and that the terms and phrases used can, intentionally or unintentionally, include or exclude those around them. It’s critical to understand that language evolves very quickly and it takes continuous dedication and learning to stay informed.
While questioning patterns of discrimination, racism, and stereotyping behaviours may feel seriously uncomfortable, it is important to remember the adage, “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” So let’s toss some eggs, shall we?
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