Words matter: language changes that can help everyone (except bigots) feel included

  • Don’t say men and women unless you specifically mean men and women.  Do say people or adults or whatever subgroup you’re talking about.
  • Dont say blacks.  Do say Black people.
  • Start using the singular they, or if you have difficulty with that, switch examples to plurals.
  • Include “other” options in demographic surveys.
  • Don’t say ghetto even if it is a jargon term in your field.  Say ethnic enclave if that is what you mean.
  • Instead of God giving you something, you got it from Nature or picked it up at the physics supply store (where you can also buy infinitely thin string and frictionless surfaces).

What are other language changes you’ve made?

RBOC-Racism

  • I am so sick of hearing white women talk about their journeys to wokeness.  Like… I just don’t care?  Like, get there, but I don’t need to hear about the journey and your feelings?  Especially not Ted talks and videos and Zoom “conversations about race” led by white women.  And I’ve only been having to deal with this for a few years… No wonder POC who have been having to hear these confessionals all their lives don’t want to hear them from strangers on twitter.
  • I suppose me listening is still a service to POC since it means the white woman gets to talk to someone… so I can probably handle listening to students and colleagues (So… Many… Colleagues… and so many white men who think they’re there but really aren’t anywhere near it yet)… but please not the Ted talks and required videos and definitely don’t give anyone a forum when you could be paying a POC with actual expertise to talk instead.
  • I do talk about race a lot.  But… it’s not about me.  I think it’s ridiculous to make it about me (ironically, because this bullet *is* about me).  I’m part of the systems of oppression so I have to help dismantle.  I have to check my biases.  I have to do things now and in the future because I still screw up a lot.  It’s hard not to, so I keep trying.  But I’m not the one being negatively affected.  I’m benefiting in many ways.  So most of what I talk about is the research base (Racism is REAL, and the older I get the more of a sociologist I become regarding its causes) and how it is our responsibility to fix things.  And here are some things we know don’t work…
  • What I really hate is that so many of our minority students have been treated so badly throughout their lives that just being a decent person can give a prof a reputation for being “one of the good ones.”  Like, we should all be good ones so it doesn’t seem worthy of extra gratitude.
  • Upon reflection (and watching two videos on white women’s journeys to wokeness directed at other white people), I think white women have been trained to talk about difficult things through the lens of ourselves… we use the “I” language and use ourselves to illustrate because that seems less threatening.  We’re able to say, of course, YMMV.  It’s like when we talk about childrearing stuff– it’s all, this worked for me.  (Though I also… don’t really talk about childrearing stuff unless someone asks*… and also I could have scooped Emily Oster with how much PubMed and books etc. on pregnancy and infant rearing I’d read with DC1, so much of my discussion is research-based rather than me-based.)  So basically, our stupid patriarchal society makes us do this, but we can stop doing it at minority people?
  • *I realize this statement is not actually true because I certainly have talked a lot about it on the blog and not just under the Ask the Grumpies Friday column.  But like, in person not so much.
  • If your department wants to do a racism training, I recommend Bedelia Richards.

Halloween costumes of years past

So, I was thinking of my Halloween costumes years past…
Here’s what I can remember:
1. Angel (I vaguely remember my mom ordering wings from Sears and them almost not coming in on time)
2. Flapper (I did not look like a flapper– I did wear one of my mom’s old 1970s style dresses. No fringe, but I did have a bob)
3. Beethoven (poet shirt, black pants, teased hair)
4. Witch
5. Witch (same costume)
6. Martha Washington (my mom got married in 1976; this was her wedding dress which was also her bridesmaids dress for her sister’s more opulent wedding that year)

… That’s all I can remember. There may have been a few more witches in there. And I KNOW that at some point I wore one of those cheap plastic pinny costumes with a cheap plastic mask once our town got a Walmart, which was a huge relief to my mom, but I cannot for the life of me remember what– maybe Wonder Woman? I’m pretty sure there were no black-face or Roma or Ninja costumes in my past.

One of the things about being rich is that on the years that my MIL doesn’t just send Halloween costumes, we can go to Target or to a Halloween supply store (last year DC1 needed a costume zie could play violin in Target was out of non-offensive things in hir size that allowed violin playing) and spend $30 and get a costume that will last long enough to be passed down.  No need for creativity or effort!  DC2 is going as a Ravenclaw this year (DC1 is 12 and maybe shouldn’t be trick-or-treating, but if zie does, zie will reuse hir grim reaper costume).

What Halloween costumes do you remember from your youth?

Linkius Loveius

This week, one of us was sick and the other was busy.  Aren’t our lives fascinating???

This person is maliciously crazy in the head.

Lil Bub gives excellent advice.

Once again, Andrew Ti comes correct (esp. in naming Asshole of the Month)

I kind of want a new Visa (don’t love my current card)

This is fascinating.

Matt Damon: Jerk.

A handy chart for comparing babies.

Help renowned author Cat Valente design an award.

Working at a big corporation.

A day in the life of a dad working at Google.

If anybody wants to crowdsource a fund to send this to me in shades of dark purple and maybe some teal… drool…

Reminder:  Shoot us an email at grumpyrumblings at gmail if you want to do a guest post the first two weeks of October.

pretty doggie: