In recent years the marketing and branding industry has been witness to the rise of the popularity of inclusive language in web content. This is important when it comes to creating memes, captions and written content because a lack of neutrality in your language can drive potential clients, members and customers away. This is because the language that you use (including visual language) is your branding and it also represents your values, morals and personality and many individuals are less trusting of those who convey messages with bias.
The Definition of Inclusive Language
Inclusive language is neutral. It is respectful of all people and avoids racist, sexist and other forms of discriminatory communication. It also avoids images, phrases, references and words that refer to stereotypes, tropes or insulting humor. The use of inclusive language in your content shows that you have respect for people from all walks of life.
The Guiding Principles of Inclusive Language
When reviewing your older content or before creating new content keep in mind the following principles:
Avoid the use of stereotypes, tropes or the racist, sexist clichés that go with them.
Avoiding making distinctions based on age, sex and body type.
Avoid using offensive language or slang.
Avoid using prepositions to describe a racial group or citizens of a country, such as “The Canadians”; use simply Canadians.
Avoid attributing “possessive “ words to describe a culture such as “The Irish have a charm for good luck.” Instead use “There is a charm that the Irish use for good luck.”
Capitalize terms that refer to a specific Indigenous group such as Indigenous Peoples, First Nations, First Peoples, Metis, Inuit, with Indigenous being the preferred term.
Avoid sexual distinctions and use “working hours” rather than “man hours”, “ancestors rather than forefathers” and “humankind” rather than “mankind”
Avoid using titles that refer to marital status such as Mrs. or Ms. except when using them as courtesy titles
When referring to someone with a disability put the person in a sentence before the disability as in “a person with visual impairment” rather than “hearing impaired person”
As a rule of thumb, if you are not sure how to refer to “race or ethnicity” then use the name that the group or individual identifies or chooses for themselves. A good example of how varied this can get are the following descriptions: black, racialized women of men, person of color, visible minority or African Canadian.
All of the above measures communicate to your viewers that you have utmost respect for anyone who visits your website and it also shows that you are able to change with the times and use precise, neutral language. This in turn will create respect for you and your brand.
Do you need some advice about creating inclusive content? Contact us at Six50 Studios where we provide all you will ever need to create or revitalize your online content. We provide web and graphic design, content creation, video, social media content, and assistance with creating your own unique approach to creating a marketing strategy.