Happy Saturday all! Liz Zadnik here, aea365 Outreach Coordinator and sometime Saturday contributor. Summer has arrived on the East Coast of the United States. For me, summer has always encouraged me to check in with myself and take some time to reorganize and recalibrate. Like time slows down a little and I have few more minutes each day.
Lately I’ve been spending some time paying close attention to the words folks use when sharing ideas. As a former English major, I appreciate words. In fact, you could say I love them. They carry power and potential – to connect or disconnect, affirm or harm. There are so many colloquialisms with roots in oppression and inequity. We’re not used to thinking about words in this way because that’s how norms work. But when we take the time to be a little more mindful, we can challenge those norms and create spaces for meaningful collaboration.
Hot Tip: Exercise creativity and thoughtfulness when crafting titles, tweets, and tables. (I needed to alliterate there). Do we have to use “walk” when “travel,” “move,” or “journey” work well too? I was perusing some workshop titles recently and saw a surprising amount of limiting language: “…walking together,” “One step at a time…,” and “Listening Session.” I understand the intent of these choices, but that doesn’t minimize the hurtful consequences.
Lesson Learned: Hold yourself to a higher standard, but also be patient when you slip up. Recently I’ve noticed myself using “guys” to refer to groups of people. I try to use “folks” or “friends” when I’m training or writing – something I learned along the way to learning to be an ally. I slip up and then try again!
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