The Truth About Labels

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

By Ali Smith

“Open-minded,” “liberal,” and “tree hugger” are labels I have always felt describe me, and words with which I’ve been proud to be associated. I do not recall ever making a conscious decision for acceptance to be a guiding value of mine; for as long as I can remember, I have always judged people on their actions and behaviors, not on their gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I have not placed a lot of importance on appearance (this is why I LOVE working in my pajamas from home – I just don’t care). Actions, behaviors, values, and kindness – this is what I care about and this is what I preach to my kids. 

A relative of mine recently came out, which was not a surprise to anyone. 

And then they announced their gender identity (label) as “non-binary”, and their pronouns as “he/they” (which was a surprise). I have tried very hard to...

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Are You Using Outdated Words To Describe People and Groups?

Have you ever been worried you're using outdated words to describe people and groups? Are you concerned that it may impact your client and professional relationships? Perhaps even offend someone?

Language sends a strong message to our colleagues, especially given the current level of public calling out of people for using words that are perceived as offensive or dated.

Inclusive managers are encouraged not to make assumptions about language preferences across groups, even within your group. 

What is inclusive language? Inclusive language is communication that avoids using words, expressions or assumptions that exclude people across gender, language, culture, religion, race, ability, family structure, marital status, sexuality, origin, class and/or organizational classification.

Why do we use inclusive language? 

Being intentional with our words conveys a genuine effort to truly see and honor people in a way that is most appropriate for them. It is an attempt to address the...

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Centering Our Values: How Nonprofit Leaders Should Prepare to Wrestle with the Discomfort

To what extent are we willing to push people into, what I like to think of as productive discomfort, in this work? Are you we going to water things down so we can, at least, get people to the table? Are we just going to call it equity and put it off to the side? Or are we going to dig in and say no, decolonization, white supremacy, oppression? Where are we going to fall on that as a group? And if it means that some folks say hey, I'm out that's not for me, maybe we take that chance... some folks said when they first entered into this work they thought that the equity conversation was supposed to be a side conversation, it wasn't supposed to be a center conversation...but I think for me, I would not continue to be a part of this conversation if equity weren't a central part of the conversation.”  - April Hathcock, virtual group debrief, May 21, 2019

To read more about April’s reaction to the meeting read her blog post

Expectations of leaders...

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