Building on the trend of organizations and individuals being more inclusive of marginalized groups, websites, such as The Diversity Style Guide, exist to guide us through the process. Being sensitive to the language of diversity and inclusion can aid in having open, healthy, and heartfelt conversations. Whether it’s in written material or conversation, being aware of the terms in the guide can help us navigate through delicate subjects to avoid offense.
Although the guide contains definitions for over 700 terms, there were some notable absences that can be found in other sources. These are some of the absences that I noted.
Anti-racist – Beyond not being a racist. Actively fighting for and advancing inclusion and equality of marginalized people.
Emotional tax – Cognitive work marginalized people must do daily to fight the experiences of being unaccepted, unappreciated, and unprotected.
Marginalized – I used this term several times already in this article, but the guide does not contain a definition for it. People, groups, and concepts viewed as irrelevant or inessential are marginalized. They are kept out or put out of the mainstream and forced to live in the fringes of society.
Multiculturalism – Recognizing the importance of all cultures and their equal significance in society.
Normal – This term is often used instead of the acceptable cisgender to describe a person’s non-trans status. It also can be used to describe someone’s personality or lifestyle. It is offensive to use as a personal description because it is wholly subjective and divisive.
Race – Although this term is defined in the guide, the definition is limited to its proper use in content. It is not actually defined as a social construct that assigns discretionary, frivolous, and inconsistent labels to a group that shares physical characteristics and history.
White fragility – The guide defines white flight, white privilege, and white as a social group or Census Bureau category. But it does not contain a definition for white fragility. White fragility is when white people express distress, dread, animosity, intolerance, or are silent about racial issues even to the point of removing themselves from the conversation or situation.
These are terms that I noted were absent from the guide. There are probably others that, if added, would make the guide more complete. Regardless, the guide already contains a variety of terms that can help us understand and relate better to diverse groups. The upside is that there is a Contact link that anyone can use to offer suggestions for missing terms or resources. With that knowledge, some of you may guess what my next move will be.
Kahn, A. (2015). The ecology of diversity: Examining individuals, societies, and cultures. San Diego, CA. Bridgepoint Education
Ward, M. (July 12, 2020). An Anti-racist’s dictionary: 16 words on race, gender, and diversity you should know. https://www/businessinsider.com/words-on-race-gender-and-diversity-you-should-know-2020-7?DBP.ENE.DIN.000.000.V00000.2020715
By Paulette Tiggs