Welcome to the Word List of Diversity and Contested Terms!

The Word List is a list of words and contested terms which often come up in diversity discourse and should be kept in mind during editing. We’ve collected them here for easy perusal and as a starting point of further research. A rule that many of these terms follow is to use people-first language (e.g., “a person with schizophrenia” rather than “schizophrenic”).

The Word List project started out with the idea of having a quick and easy reference document of acceptable and contested diversity terms. It was quite a daunting project as we not only had to fill out the definitions of ALL the words initially submitted toward this list, but also to continue to add new terms as they cropped up on diversity related discussions or sources that our members brought to our attention.

A hearty group of Diversity Initiative volunteers was gathered to tackle the project and to work on the definitions while the subleader focused on formatting, color coding, and linking the sources to everything in the spreadsheet. Huge thanks to Lourdes, Brittany, Blossom, Molly, Linda, Manny, Chrissy, Trina, and Melissa for helping make this happen. It is only because of them that the Word List is “completed.” I’d also like to thank the original creator of this word list, Rosemi Mederos, for creating the foundation of this amazing project.

The Word List, considering the ever-changing nature of language, will always be a work in progress. As language evolves and new terms crop up, so is the Word List meant to evolve. We will strive to keep it as updated as possible, preferably on a monthly basis, with the help of our members. If a member finds a word to be added, they can submit the word along with source via the google form linked from the Word List page.

The Word List is not meant to act as a substitute for any dictionaries, style guides, original sources and secondary resources, the material’s viewpoint or the author’s own wishes. It’s a starting point that we hope jumpstarts your editing research and reference work.

Amarilys Acosta
Resources Subinitiative Leader
July 2020

Office Closed Monday April 8.

The EFA Offices will be closed Monday, April 8, 2024. We will reopen on Tuesday, April 9. Job postings, discussion list subscriptions, and other customer service requests may not be responded to until then.

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