*Three Minute Read (Para leer en español, haga clic aquí)
“Hey, you guys!” Anyone remember Sloth from The Goonies? He is such a sweet and loveable character.
If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It’s fun, easy, and has a feel-good ending. Sloth is a super loveable character who creates endearing relationships with the main group of kids. His tagline is screaming, “Hey, you guys!” in an awkward, sweet voice to his friends of both boys and girls.
The term “guys” has come up frequently for me in the past few weeks in numerous conversations. As I become more conscious of the power of using inclusive language, I’m realizing calling a mixed-gender group of people “guys” is offensive to some. It is also such an easy thing to stop doing. Try using terms like friends, team, or folks instead. I am not Southern but actually find myself saying “y’all” quite often.
As a cis-gender woman, am I offended by the term “guys?” Nope. But I’m not making the change for myself.
I’m making the change for others around to me to signal inclusion and awareness. I’m making the change for people who I haven’t even met yet. I’m making the change for younger generations watching me to set an example of inclusion.
Our words are powerful.
I was speaking to a group of college students over Zoom a few weeks ago and caught myself calling the collective group “guys.” I apologized and mentioned I’ve been working on changing that habit. I even received the little Zoom applause sign from one participant!
The journey isn’t about perfection. It’s about progress and the willingness to change our habits as we continually become more self-aware.
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Stevie Cromer is the Cultural and Enrichment Manager for LUNA Language Services. Stevie regularly provides engaging content to LUNA’s team to encourage a culture of care within our own LUNA family. For more suggestions and resources about how you might build a culture of care throughout your organization, please reach out to Stevie at stevie@LUNA360.com.