Diversity and inclusion has (rightfully) been a hot topic in workplaces. Unfortunately, language habits can often get in the way of proper everyday inclusiveness. This is especially true for colonial expressions and manners of speaking, which are deeply embedded and often unconsciously (or perhaps unthinkingly) used. Decolonizing our language, however, requires thoughtfulness, deliberate engagement, and for many of us (particularly settlers like myself), a fair amount of wrestling with ingrained habits and ways of thinking. In the latest episode of Talk Shop Interviews, I sat down with Michif scholar and Indigenous relationality expert Tanya Ball to discuss the thorny issue of decolonizing our language.
This conversation focuses on how the way we speak perpetuates inequity and discrimination faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, but it’s themes about thoughtful use of language holds true for all people facing racialization or discrimination. If you’re uncertain as to what decolonization is or how it may impact you (as either a user of colonial expressions or a person affected by them), watch on. If you’ve ever wondered how you can get people in your workplace to take meaningful individual action to improve relationships for racialized people, watch on.
Words matter. How we speak is a reflection of how we think. Language is mutable and what may seem like a small change can build to make an enormous difference. Word by word, we can change how we speak to make our workplaces better.
Please, share this one with your colleagues.
(Is the embedded video below being cranky? Click here to watch it over on YouTube.)
- masinahikan iskwêwak – Book Women Podcast: https://bookwomenpodcast.ca/
- University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies – https://www.ualberta.ca/native-studies/index.html
- U of A Indigenous Canada Online MOOC (Outstanding program you can take online for free): https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html
- University of Alberta School of Library and Information Studies: https://www.ualberta.ca/school-of-library-and-information-studies/index.html