Our fear of using the wrong words inhibits our ability to learn more about others. Fear of using the wrong words has other effects. It contributes to the shutting down of debate, and risks alienating potential allies of diverse groups.
For smaller employers it means that recruiting a homogenous workforce is perceived as safer than having a diverse one.
There is no need for Newspeak in a language as rich and varied as English. Creating a taboo around language results in a taboo around the thing it refers to. We build inclusive workplaces by understanding one another, not being afraid to seek knowledge and respecting our colleagues. This means not being afraid to challenge bad behaviour and language, but also tackling unknowing behaviour and language with education, not punishment.
Euphemisms and mistakes occur due to fear and uncertainty. Organisations have a responsibility to all their employees to drive inclusion and understanding. The bureaucratic Newspeak approach is driving division rather than healing it.
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