Answered By: Lisa Setters
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014     Views: 209

Inclusive Language Introduction

INTRODUCTION

“Language does not create a problem, nor does language solve a
problem, but language may contribute to both – sometimes in obvious
ways, more often in quite subtle ways. It is the intent of the following
guidelines to help sensitize the Asbury Theological Seminary
community-¦ and to provide help in moving beyond our present habits
to more just expressions.”

Portion of the Preamble, “Guidelines On the Use of Inclusive Language”, ATS Faculty

While it is hoped that the ATS community is sensitive to all people
through the use of inclusive language (i.e.: race, ethnic background,
disabilities, age) it is the intent of this pamphlet to discuss only
language pertaining to gender.

The recommendations included in this pamphlet were developed with
the understanding that differentiation between the sexes is rooted in
God’s creative act. The use of inclusive language is not intended to
undermine this view of God-ordained gender differences. However,
males and females, while different in being, are both created in the
image of God and share the same worth. Employing inclusive language
reflects a commitment to affirming women’s presence and worth in our
community.

GENERIC TERMS

There are many substitutes which may be used in the generic sense for
words such as “man” and “mankind” that now have an exclusively male
connotation. Among these are: humanity, humankind, human beings,
humans, persons, people, all and everyone.

INSTEAD OF:

“A man shows his faith in God by-¦”

REPLACE THE MASCULINE PRONOUN:

“One shows one’s faith-¦”, or
“You show your faith-¦”, or
“A person shows his or her faith,,,”, or
“I show my faith-¦”

-OR-

RECAST INTO THE PLURAL:

“People show their faith-¦”, or
“We show our faith-¦”

-OR-

RECAST INTO THE PASSIVE VOICE:

“Faith in God is shown by-¦”

INSTEAD OF:

“A person shows his faith in God by-¦”, or
“The average American drinks his coffee black-¦”

ELIMINATE AN UNNECESSARY PRONOUN

“How do people demonstrate their faith-¦?”
“The average American drinks black coffee.”

INSTEAD OF:

“We compliment people saying, “he’s very compassionate, or “he’s a
powerful speaker-¦”

ALTERNATE MALE AND FEMALE EXPRESSIONS AND
EXAMPLES

“We compliment people saying, “he’s very compassionate, or “she’s a
powerful speaker-¦”

NEUTRAL NOUNS

Nouns that refer to women or men but include the word “man” or “men”
should be replaced with neutral terms. It should never be assumed that
any occupation or group is composed only of men or only of women.
The following list includes some nouns with male gender connotation
and suggests how they may be replaced.

INSTEAD OF:                           USE:

Chairman                               the chair, head, presiding officer, leader,
moderator, chairperson, or the committee
chaired by-¦

clergyman/men                     clergy, minister, elder, pastor

layman/men                           laity, layperson, laypeople, member of the congregation, lay Christian

congressman                        member of congress, senator, representative, delegate

salesman                               salesperson, clerk, sales representative

mailman                                 mail carrier

brothers in Christ                  brothers and sisters, Christian, friends

brotherhood                           union, unity, community, company, family/fraternity

airline hostess                       flight attendant

FORMS OF IDENTIFICATION AND ADDRESS

People want to be identified by their own names, not by their roles,
race, gender, economic status, etc. In the case of gender, avoid using
“woman” as an adjective before a title, as in “woman minister” or
“woman teacher” unless there is a specific intention to point to sex
rather than to role. For example, “A board member raised the issue of
inadequate student financial aid” is preferable to “A woman board
member raised the issue of inadequate student financial aid.”

When designating men and women in the same sentence, parallel
terms should be used. Some examples of this are:

1. ”The men and women” or “the ladies and the gentlemen” – not
“the men and the ladies.”
2. Husband and wife – not man and wife.

IMAGERY AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Anecdotes, illustrations and humor greatly enhance the content of
lectures, addresses and writing. It is very important, however, that these
reinforcements of the message encourage readers and listeners to see
themselves and others as full human beings. The negative impact of
stereotypical prejudices needs to be recognized and avoided.

* * * * * *

IN CONCLUSION

As members of Christ’s Church, ministers of love and reconciliation, let
us commit ourselves to using language which expresses the full value of
both women and men in all our teaching, writing, speaking and worship.

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