Discussion on: What's up with the pronouns?

mitchpommers profile image
Mitch Pomery (he/him)

If it's free is the simplest test for something. If it's free for you to address someone with the pronouns they prefer, why wouldn't you? If it's free to address a group as "team" instead of "guys" and makes someone feel more included, why wouldn't you?

How many people in your company have Irish background?

And where is that tracked?
Nowhere. I'm unemployed.

Jokes aside, there are two very distinct things that need to happen for diversity information that is collected to be useful. First, it needs to be collected. Second, people actually need to look at it and make meaningful changes to try and change it. Just because some organizations collect this information and don't use it, doesn't mean that it isn't useful at other orgs and hasn't been used to make change. I know I've used information like that to drive change in initiative's I've worked on.

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sroehrl profile image
neoan Author

If it's free for you to address someone with the pronouns they prefer, why wouldn't you?

This is not the discussion we are having here. Of course I would. I am saying that I disagree with anything being free being a good test. And that goes both ways. Should an employer guarantee that there is an opportunity for breastfeeding mothers? Yes. But what if that means that he has to invest to ensure privacy? Still yes. How about singing the national anthem each morning? No, thank you. But it's free! Still decline.

As for the "guys":
I ignored that the first time as I get your point, but think the example is weak. This particular term went from being very declarative to a more or less genderless use within my lifetime. That might be something regional, but here all types of groups regardless of consistency are referred to as guys without anybody taking an issue with it. On a general basis I agree, though: use the language everyone feels comfortable with if possible.

As for the data collection:
I have very strong doubts regarding that. In my mind, labels always produce exclusion. As long as the same news outlets show concerned faces when a cop apparently targeted a minority member for racist reasons and then switch over to polls to dissect the "black vote" we will not get anywhere. This is probably why I question the pronouns as a solution. I think less labels rather than more labels are more likely to generate equal opportunity.

This would be a way bigger discussion, but all diversity efforts we take were ment to bridge a time of transformation. Unfortunately, these predictions have not been met. So even if you managed to take some steps to broaden diversity in whatever organization you operated in, you must admit that by now that should been a fact and merely a question of mathematical and cultural distribution, not something that needs to be steered, enforced, manipulated.