During an allyship meeting at HubSpot, we discussed tools that help people use more inclusive language.
A colleague brought up a Slackbot, Better Allies. This Slackbot can help you shift your language to be more inclusive.
The tool was inspired by the book Better Allies by Karen Catlin. This book can help you spot situations where you can create more inclusive culture.
The Slackbot will automatically flag non-inclusive language and make alternate suggestions. You can even customize the tool by adding your own words to avoid and alternate suggestions.
For example, I want to remove the words "guys" and "crazy" from my vocabulary. With this tool, I can put those words in the Slackbot and then include suggestions for myself to use instead.
2. Inclusive Language Guides
An inclusive language guide is a document that will advise you on terms to avoid and alternative terms to use. The goal is to use more inclusive language that doesn't have biases, slang, or discriminatory terms.
While an inclusive language guide won't help you automate this process, you can use this resource to inform your automation process. For example, you can add terms from an inclusive language guide to your Better Allies Slackbot.
If your team doesn't have an inclusive language guide, we suggest you create one. Our inclusive language guides at HubSpot have sections on Gender, LGBTQIA+, Race, Ethnicity, Culture, and Accessibility.
A quick way to check your language for gender bias is to use this gender decoder. You can just copy and paste your content in it and get quick results.
While this was created to analyze job ads to ensure you use inclusive language, you can put any content in there.
I even put this blog content in to see the results. The tool told me, "This uses more words that are subtly coded as feminine than words that are subtly coded as masculine (according to the research). Fortunately, the research suggests this will have only a slight effect on how appealing this is to men, and will encourage women."
While using tools to help automate your inclusive language process is important, it's also necessary to focus efforts on continued learning.
That's why we recommend watching this short (only 18 minutes) TEDTalk on the urgency of intersectionality. This talk discusses the reality of race and gender bias so we can understand how the two combine and create more harm.
Ultimately, the goal is to broaden your understanding of intersectionality and implicit bias so you can recognize it when it occurs and speak up for victims of prejudice.
A great way to see if you're using inclusive language is to test yourself on implicit biases. This test will measure unconscious bias.
This is an excellent step to take so you can examine, understand, and recognize your own biases and when you're using exclusionary language.
We recommend sending this to people on your team as well. This will help your whole team begin to understand and use more inclusive language as a whole.
Taking active steps to use inclusive language is an important part of allyship. Additionally, it's important for your employees and customers to see that you participate in and encourage others to continue learning about other people's experiences.
Originally published Sep 24, 2020 4:30:00 AM, updated September 24 2020