How Do We Create Our Own Inclusive Guide?
Michigan State University recently put out an “Inclusive Guide” instruction manual that we all need to read to be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable (DIE).
You can find it here, or read my chosen snippets below:
The Inclusive Guide provides best practices for communications in the following areas:
- Gender and Sexuality
- Race and Ethnicity
- Global Identity
LGBTQIA2S+ is often used at MSU to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer, intersex, asexual and two-spirit groups. The plus sign refers to the inclusion of all identities that are not specified in the acronym. However, LGBTQIA+ is the recommended umbrella term for communications with external audiences.
Pride: Capitalize Pride when referring to specific events or organizations honoring LGBTQIA+ communities and on subsequent references. For example, Pride Month is commonly called Pride for short and is capitalized as an adjective in terms: “at the Pride parade.” Lowercase pride in the context of generally having pride in one’s LGBTQIA+ sexual orientation or gender, including pride events or the pride flag.
Use “two-spirit” to be inclusive of Indigenous North Americans to describe Native peoples who fulfill a third-gender role in their cultures. Māhū in Native Hawaiian and Tahitian cultures are third-gender people, similar to Tongan fakaleiti and Samoan faʻafafine.
Use Latinx for any source who selects it and as an all-gender adjective to describe large groups such as Latinx voters. On first reference, include a brief explanation: “Latinx is a gender-inclusive description of people of Latin American descent who live in the United States.”
Don’t use the shorthand “POC” for people of color, “BIPOC” for Black, Indigenous and people of color or “QTBIPOC” for queer, transgender, Black, Indigenous and people of color unless in a direct quote; when used, explain it. These are vague terms that may unintentionally leave out race and ethnicity groups or create hierarchy.
Hilariously enough, we’ve gone so clown world that even using “BIPOC” is racist because of hierarchy. Oh, and they want us to capitalize the word “pride”—a sin—in honor of their depravity.
But one thing I do enjoy is the LGBTQIA2S+ shenanigans. I anxiously await the day that we have 20 or more letters, to truly be more inclusive.
One other thing to note is that under “Race and Ethnicity”, the inclusive Guide requires that we “Capitalize Black, Asian, Indigenous, Native, Jewish, Arab, etc”, but then proceeds to list us whites in lowercase. One such example:
For example, North African and Middle Eastern-identifying individuals are categorized as white, which may not align with the group’s overall experience.
In fact, when they relate it to blacks and whites, they specifically lowercase white while capitalizing black. See here:
When communicating about diverse groups avoid the pitfalls of the Black-white binary that can limit conversations about race to the two groups.
I searched for “white” in the document, and there is only one instance of white being capitalized, and that sole time is when it is the beginning of a bullet-point.
They really do hate us.
Now, you may be wondering why I say we should read this document.
For one, it’s good to recognize how insane the universities are. These are the same people that produce our “trusted and credible science”. They are also our intelligentsia, which shows you how worthless they are.
But for two, they always list Terms to Avoid. And that is where the real gold lies. It’s a guidebook on what we should actually say, and what we would be saying if the world wasn’t so ridiculous.
Here are a few:
Gender and Sexuality
- Avoid the term “female” as a noun for women. The pejorative term reduces women to their assumed biological anatomy.
- “Queer” is originally a pejorative. It is an umbrella term covering people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. Avoid using the term unless people or organizations use the term to identify themselves.
- “Sexual preference.” Use “sexual orientation.”
- “Homosexual.” Use “gay” or “lesbian.”
- “Hermaphrodite.” Use “intersex.”
- “Closeted.” Use “not out.”
- “Normal/norm” to refer to people who are not transgender, gender fluid or nonbinary.
- “Sex change.” Use “gender transition.”
Race and Ethnicity
- “Blacks,” “colored” or “Negro” are derogatory terms and should not be used.
- “Brown” has been used for South Asian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans and Hispanic, Chicano/a and Latino/a/x Americans either as a pejorative term or as self-identification. Use specific racial identities.
- “Caucasian” as a synonym for white, unless in a quotation.
- “Ghetto” or “slum” as a synonym for the sections of cities inhabited by underrepresented and poor people.
- “Racial minority” or “minorities” should be avoided, unless quoted or part of standard reporting.
- Indigenous stereotyping and colonial language: “Indian princess,” “tribe,” “Michigan Native,” “low man on the totem pole,” “powwow,” “sitting Indian style,” “bury the hatchet,” “on the warpath,” “shaman,” “rain dance,” “savage,” “barbarian,” “off the reservation,” “spirit animal,” “scalped,” “peace pipe,” “hold down the fort,” “frontier,” etc.
- Dehumanizing references to national identity, such as “foreigner,” “alien,” “illegal immigrant,” “illegals,” etc.
- “Expatriates,” or “expats,” reinforces negative stereotypes, differentiating migrant white-collar workers of western countries from migrants or immigrants from less-westernized countries.
- Labeling a person as an “illegal immigrant” or “illegal” is not only dehumanizing but also a poor way to describe someone’s migration status. Consider using “undocumented immigrant” or “immigrant who is undocumented.”
- Do not use “oriental” to refer to Asian nationals and peoples.
- Avoid references to religious imagery and language. Use terms like “wishing you a wonderful winter/spring break” or “best wishes for the new year.”
Making our own Dissident Inclusive Guide is simple, if you follow my logic. Just go find the inclusive guides written by the academics and take their terms to avoid.
This strategy works flawlessly every time.
Thanks, Michigan State. You all did the work for me.
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