This list is meant to help inform Hudlies about words and phrases that could be offensive, and to guide us toward more inclusive language in our day-to-day interactions with customers and external partners. What it doesn’t include: hate speech or well-known racist and ableist terms. We expect Hudlies to follow our employee handbook’s zero-tolerance policy on verbal discrimination and harassment.
This page can, and should, be updated continuously. Please help us by sending us your change requests.
Let’s all work together to create a welcoming, open and inclusive brand through our choice of words.
Depending on which stat you read, either one in five or one in four Americans live with a mental illness. Using the words “crazy” or “insane” marginalizes those individuals and makes light of their experiences.
Better options: unthinkable, ridiculous, baffling, frantic
Aside from the extremely offensive way this word could be used as a plural noun, it’s also still used as a verb to describe the hindering of a process or project. This usage is still ableist and shouldn’t happen in Hudl’s communications.
Better options: slow down, damage, hurt, knock out
This phrase has historically been used to describe whether or not a candidate in the hiring process looks, talks and acts like the existing group or team. At Hudl, we want to hire or reject candidates based on the job description they’ve applied for, not on how similar they are to existing Hudlies. Hiring talented people who think, act, speak and look different from the team they’re joining is the perfect opportunity to increase diversity at Hudl, build stronger teams and add valuable new perspectives.
Better options: culture add, culture addition, values-aligned
People with disabilities aren’t defined by those disabilities. But calling someone“disabled” could imply just that. The verb form of this word, similar to“cripples,” also shouldn’t be used.
Another note: in software development, it’s common to refer to products as “disabled” — we currently do this in Admin. We’re exploring the possibility of changing this on our end. For now, please use “disabled” only when necessary and only when referring to the product itself, not the people who may or may not still be using it (e.g., “the athlete’s account is disabled” NOT “the athlete is disabled”).
Better options: A person with disabilities* (n.); slows down, knocks out, renders inoperable (v.); removed, inactive (Hudl Admin)
*Though less common, there are some advocate groups who wouldn’t prefer this option. The safest bet is always to ask the person or people you’re referring to which term they’d prefer.
This term is sometimes used in businesses to describe something that isn’t permanent and is just an example. It’s also occasionally used in sports to describe a field mannequin or a trick play. There are better words to use.
Better options: placeholder, sample, example, mannequin, feint
To many English speakers, “female” and “male” sound like scientific designations you’d use for animals or plants. Gender identifications like “woman” and “man” are more inclusive. Better yet, leave out gender identifiers when they’re not absolutely necessary.
Better options: women, woman, men, man
This refers to the practice of exempting some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change (e.g., “We grandfathered users who already had an unlimited data plan.”). Historically, the term “grandfather clause” was used in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting.
Better options: legacy, exception
The “universal male” (i.e., using “guys” to mean “people”) assumes that the normal, default human being is male. Although “he” and “man” are said to be neutral, numerous studies show that these words cause people specifically to think of males.
Better options: team, everyone, everybody, all, y’all, friends, folks
This is an example of how gender non-conforming people deal with misgendering on a daily basis. Opt for a more gender inclusive phrase.
Better options: distinguished guests
Historically, this term was applied to people with limited mobility. But more recently, it’s become a slang synonym for “uncool” or “unappealing.” Either way, it’s ableist. Activists have been calling to phase it out and our external communications should respect that.
Better options: not cool, bad news, no good
A great example of biased language and misrepresentation. These words subtly, or not so subtly, suggest men or man are the only gender that counts. Many of these words have to do with employment, giving the impression women aren’t a part of the group. Thankfully, a few of these terms have already fallen out of favor within the past few decades, and even the still popular ones have easily transferable synonyms.
Manpower: workforce, staff, crew, workers
Man-hours: work-hours, staff-hours, person-hours
Mankind: humankind, humanity, humans, people
Cameraman/cameramen: cameraperson, camera crew, film team
These words are obviously inappropriate, but are sometimes used to refer to one machine that has the original copy of data and others that automatically update themselves to match the original.
Better options: primary/secondary, primary/replica, original/copy, parent/child, root/branch
When used to correctly describe data or a group of people who aren’t the majority, this term is fine. But not all marginalized groups are minorities, and a broader term is generally inclusive of more than race and gender.
Better options: underrepresented group
This subjective word can be used to imply any deviance from a standard is unlikeable or undesirable. Hudlies might use this in a technical sense, such as “normal playback speed,” but there’s still usually a more exact word. Of course sometimes the standard is universally accepted, like “free speech is a fundamental norm of the U.S.” But most “standards” are set by smaller groups, and in those cases, abnormal could be considered positive.
Better options: typical, common
When talking about the real mental illness that many people struggle with, this is the correct and accepted acronym for obsessive-compulsive disorder. But if you’re telling coaches about how to keep their video libraries cleaned up, there’s no reason to trivialize what people with this illness go through.
Better options: clean, organized
Often used to describe the action of testing software to ensure there aren’t any issues and it’s working properly. This term marginalizes people who have mental illnesses and there are excellent alternatives to use instead.
Better options: smoke test, confidence check, gut check, review
These terms re-enforce “white is good” and “black is bad.” We don’t want to perpetuate this paradigm.
Better options: (verbs) trust, allow, deny; (nouns) allowed list, unblocked list, denied list, blocked list