- Acknowledges diversity
- Conveys respect to all people
- Is sensitive to differences
- Promotes equal opportunities
Inclusive language prevents:
- The perpetuation of stereotypes
Using inclusive language makes our content more accurate and helps build trust with our audience. While you may always have the best of intentions, one absent moment can leave a lasting impact. Stay up to date on evolving terminology and keep an eye out for old habits in the following categories.
Every person is a person, regardless of how they interact with the world. Treat them like a person. Don’t define people by their disabilities or assume anything about a certain condition.
Do you absolutely need to include this information in your content? Give it a second thought. If so, ask the person you’re referring to for permission and what terms they prefer.
- Make content gender neutral where possible. (We whole-heartedly approve of using “they” as singular!)
- Never guess about age, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Be consistent when presenting individuals within a piece of content. If you reference a male coach by last name only, do the same for a female coach.
- Speaking of “male” and “female,” use these terms as sparingly as possible and only as adjectives (i.e., male coach). Specially, use “women” instead of “female” or “females” whenever possible.
- Don’t make assumptions about marital or family relationships when it comes to age or gender. “Partner” is more inclusive than “husband” or “wife” — same with “parent” or “guardian” instead of “mother” or “father.”
- Avoid words that reinforce racial, ethnic or religious stereotypes (even if they appear to be positive).
- Ask people how they identify themselves and be aware of the complexities within racial, ethnic and religious identities.
- When referring to someone’s race or ethnicity, use adjectives, not nouns (e.g., “a Hispanic person,” not “a Hispanic”).
- Capitalize words that refer to a recognized group with a shared racial, ethnic and cultural identity (e.g., “Black,” “Indigenous,” “Latino,” “Asian,” etc.). We do not capitalize “white,” as that racial group doesn’t have a shared ethnic and cultural identity. This is in alignment with AP Style, our house style guide. Read this article to learn more about that decision.
- Be precise about statistical findings, even when they’re positive. Relying on broad categorizations of people often oversimplifies findings and could be deceiving.
- Be smart. Playful examples could get you in trouble—humor should never come at the cost of someone else.