One of my most strongly-held positions is that language matters. It gives voice and form to our ideas and thoughts, and in turn it shapes those ideas and thoughts as well.
So I appreciated when Daniel Laurison recently asked this question on twitter
Serious question about thoughtful language for talking about the set of people who are not white men. I’ve seen compelling critiques of phrasing like “women and people of color” on the basis that it syntactically (grammatically? linguistically?) implies that those don’t overlap.
— Daniel Laurison (@Daniel_Laurison) October 21, 2018
especially since it was a question I’d found myself asking a little while ago too
I’m also trying to think through why I don’t have strong feelings about the phrasing “women and people of color.”
I don’t use it, because I hear and want to respect the thoughts of people who find that phrasing erasing. but I don’t totally get it, tbh.
— meritocracy killjoy (@polumechanos) January 26, 2018
Despite my strong feelings about the use of language, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about the phrase “women and people of color.” But especially as a Black woman, “listen to Black women” is a guiding ethos for me, so I take seriously when Black women say they don’t like the phrase.