Statements of Inclusive Population Language
As of August 21, 2022.
On Racial and Ethnic Identity
Delta Institute (Delta) recognizes that many communities of color (inclusive of BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color), particularly those in the United States, self-identify using different terminology.
We believe and affirm that inclusive communications are built upon the foundation of both respecting and reflecting how people identify themselves as aligned with their personal/ household culture and identity. As such, we prioritize using the preferred terminology of our place-based, in-community partners. In circumstances where specific partner information is unavailable, we seek to use vocabulary that prioritizes inclusion, though we also recognize that communities of color are not monoliths and cannot speak for everyone’s individual experience.
For example, in organizational documents we may use the terms Latina, Latine, Latino, or Latinx to refer to US residents of Latin-American descent, though we acknowledge and celebrate the many other ways in which these community members wish to self-identify. This is the same approach that we take with all racial and ethnic identities, and we welcome feedback from our partners and in-community persons so that we may continue to adapt and uphold our commitment to using respectful and inclusive language.
On Gender, Sex, and Orientation Identity
Delta Institute (Delta) welcomes and celebrates that people identify through a broad spectrum of gender, sexual, and orientation identities. Furthermore, we recognize that the dynamic nature of what it means to be “female” and “male” does not fully incorporate all persons—and should evolve.
We are devoted to publishing communications with a commitment to inclusion, though we recognize that our organizational documents may not fully reflect all identities by name. Nevertheless, we remain committed to supporting those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Non-binary, Genderfluid, Two-spirit, and all other gender/sexual expressions. We welcome feedback from our partners and in-community persons so that we may continue to adapt and uphold our commitment to using respectful and inclusive language.
About these Statements
Delta Institute developed both preceding statements on racial and ethnic identity and on gender, sex, and orientation identity to publicly share our approach to using inclusive vocabulary. These statements build upon the guidelines of Delta’s Inclusive Vocabulary Guide, a resource created by our ad hoc Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee between 2019-2021. Most notably, these statements are built upon our guidance for self-identification:
Self-identification: While this document is intended to provide guidance regarding preferred vocabulary and stylization, its contents are neither definitive nor exhaustive. When communicating with and about our partners, it is important to use the preferred vocabulary of our partners so that we may best reflect how they wish to self-identify. Inclusive communications are built upon the foundation of respecting and reflecting how people choose to describe themselves. To avoid assuming, Delta recommends asking partners for any vocabulary they prefer to use in our communications. (Delta Institute, 2021)
We recommend Racism has been—and continues to be—a significant factor in contributing to the environmental, economic, and social problems Delta seeks to collaboratively solve with our partners. As such, we wish to highlight specific racial/ethnic terminology recommended through our Inclusive Vocabulary Guide when specific partner preferences are unavailable. This terminology, while not exhaustive, includes person of color, people of color, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), Black, African American, Latina, Latino, Latinx, Asian-American, Arab-American, American Indian, Native American, and Indigenous. We also recognize that context matters when using the above terminology and that different circumstances may require additional explanation. For example, we understand that other terminology must be used accordingly when referring to specific laws, policies, or other legal documentation, such as the terms Minority, Minorities, or Hispanic.
We recommend that Delta Institute’s staff, Board of Directors, and Delta Emerging Leaders associate board, incorporate these statements into our publications, resources, and online media.
For more information
We welcome your thoughts, questions, and contributions for further discussion. You can learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts by clicking here, by emailing us, or by calling us at 312-554-0900. We also encourage you to join us in learning more about these issues by reviewing the references provided at the end of this document.
DC Fiscal Policy Institute. (2017). DCFPI style guide for inclusive language (PDF). Washington, DC: DC Fiscal Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.dcfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Style-Guide-for-Inclusive-Language_Dec-2017.pdf.
Delta Institute. (2021). Inclusive vocabulary guide. Chicago, IL: Delta Institute.
GLAAD. (2011). An ally’s guide to terminology: Talking about LGBT people & equality (PDF). Los Angeles, CA: GLAAD. Retrieved from https://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/allys-guide-to-terminology_1.pdf.
Haelle, T. (2019, July 31). Identity-first vs. person-first language is an important distinction [Blog post]. Columbia, MO: Association of Health Care Journalists. Retrieved from https://healthjournalism.org/blog/2019/07/identity-first-vs-person-first-language-is-an-important-distinction.
Thomas, H. & Hirsch, A. (2016). A progressive’s style guide (PDF). New York, NY: SumOfUs. Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.sumofus.org/images/SUMOFUS_PROGRESSIVE-STYLEGUIDE.pdf.