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Shaping Inclusive Narratives

ableism equity diversity and inclusion language Jan 02, 2024
Colorful background with Ways of Knowing text

In the nuanced realms of education and the workplace, the language we employ wields a profound influence on attitudes and inclusivity. An intriguing contrast emerges when examining the terminology used for different student or employee groups. While Indigenous students are often celebrated for their "ways of knowing," individuals with disabilities may find themselves labeled with terms like "learning limitations" or "deficits."

From a psycholinguistic perspective, these distinctions are not merely linguistic nuances—they impact perceptions. Authority figures, be they educators or employers, play a pivotal role in shaping these narratives. The choice of language is a powerful tool that can either foster inclusion or perpetuate biases.

When we acknowledge and celebrate diverse ways of knowing for one group, we must extend the same consideration universally. Language shapes not only self-perception but also influences how individuals are perceived by their peers. In schools, universities, or workplaces, inclusive language becomes the catalyst for an empowering and supportive environment.

As stewards of language, educators and leaders carry the responsibility to cultivate inclusive narratives. By consciously choosing language that reflects the worth and potential of every individual, we contribute to environments that thrive on diversity and respect. Let's make every word count, creating spaces where language unites rather than divides, fostering a culture that champions the strengths inherent in each person.