Humans are programmed to value things that stand out, and you see that playing out in the world we have created. Cargo containers, houses, clothing, planes, cars, cities, stars. We use technicolour to navigate, to operate, to liberate, to exercise, to work, to play… in every task we undertake, in everything we create, differentiation is a defining factor in our success. A world without uniqueness would be a dull, dark and pointless place, dystopian and devoid of Humanity. We amplify the many positive, beautiful differences in our world, as an allegory for people.
And just like people, nothing is ever black and white (as we explain in our article 'How Humans make choices').
Immigrants or Expats?
Linguistic utility, safety and effectiveness is best delivered by considering the meaning and implications of the words we use, and watching out for terms with unnecessarily divisive or diminishing conjugations.
Take the word ‘Expatriate’, used by White People to describe when they move their affluence outside their home country to help improve another.
Now compare it to the word ‘Immigrant’, used by White People to describe Non-White People who move their burden outside their home country to intrude upon another.
By unpicking our 2-rung linguistic systems, you begin to see how we unnecessarily reinforce advantage and xenophobia in almost everything we say, and how these bad habits can lead to misrepresenting unidirectional political movements that target foreign ‘intruders’ such as wall-building and Brexit.
3 undeniably authentic reasons to quit saying 'Minority'
We use the word ‘minority’ to describe a subgroup of people within our society. For example, a Black minority in a majority White city, a Muslim minority in a majority Christian country, or a Gay minority in a majority Straight world. Fair enough, right?
The word ‘minor’ is diminutive to ‘major’ - a value judgement meaning ‘less than’. But people are people, there's no two ways about it. In the eyes of both genetics and (so we're told) the law, all humans are considered equal. So we should never devalue the worth of already oppressed people by creating a 2-rung system to describe them that dehumanises them by excuses their mistreatment as a numbers game.
We don’t use the term universally. For example, men are in the minority in our predominantly female world today. We only use it when we're discussing disadvantage, not advantage. Because it's a means to suppress any call to action and anyone who values Authenticity will see that.
The term doesn't reflect privilege or oppression in any way. For example, White people have always been in the minority in countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, and yet have dominated wealth and political systems there ever since Colonialism. In fact, all too often, we see that the most privileged group of people in our world today also happens to be its smallest minority.
What about acronyms?
BAME, BME, BIPOC, POC... but can you think of any acronyms for White People at all?
Ultimately, Humans don't give things acronyms that they care about. So why then have we given one to Humanity?
The BAME acronym along with any acronym in general, was rightly ruled unsafe by the UK Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report 2021, for over generalising the unique plurality of non-white cultures and the challenges they face.
As it turns out, the very words and acronyms coined to champion equitable rights and opportunity for underrepresented communities is in fact a trope planted through Oppression to undermine them further. You only need to look at the Royal Family to understand that nobody is marginalised for being in a minority population.
Instead, throughout history, just one binary is enduring. People with Legitimacy (Wisdom, Confidence, Influence and Authority borne from Uniqueness and Authenticity) are forever doomed to be targeted by those with Illegitimacy (Ignorance, Ego, Power and Control borne from Ubiquity and Deception).
It's what's on the inside that matters. If your people are using language that's offensive to those who look different on the outside, they'll also be offending even more people who feel differently to them on the inside.
Strong Interpersonal Relationships built on equitable linguistics that don't betray ignorance or insensitivity naturally help teams perform better, collaborate more, forge stronger unity and lead to more shared ideas with adequate challenge on strategic decisions to spot blind spots.
Clocking in at just 2hrs, our Uncomfortable Conversations workshop teaches your people everything they need to know to futureproof their linguistics for discussing any subject with any Human Being. That includes uncomfortable ones about our complex differences - not acronyms and other oppressive terms that others insist on perpetuating despite seeing that they hurt the interests of 'marignalised people' or 'underrepresented communities'.
When you're ready to move beyond the performative, talk to us about futureproofing your teams linguistics