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Gp Business Writing

Gp Business Writing

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Published by: bossam on May 17, 2007
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06/30/2013

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Whether or not its use is intentional, biased language can inflict
harm on others. Always avoid bias in your writing.

G

GOOF-PROOF IT! G

It is imperative in business writing to avoid the use of biased lan-
guage, including negative stereotypes, which may result in the
exclusion or putting down of others. In your business writing,
your goal is to include rather than to exclude. Understanding the
purpose of inclusive language, and using it in your writing, will
assure that your message gets across as intended, without caus-
ing offense. Replace any possibly offensive words and phrases
with inclusive languagethat doesn’t offend or degrade another
person or group.

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Types of Bias

Gender

•Avoid the suffix –ess, which has the effect of minimizing the
significance of the word to which it is attached (actoris
preferable to actress; proprietorto proprietress).
•Do not overuse heand him.Instead, use his orheror their
and those;or alternate between himand her.
•Degender titles. Businessmanbecomes businesspersonor
executive; chairmanbecomes chairor chairperson;stew-
ardess
becomes flight attendant;weathermanbecomes
meteorologist.
•When referring to a couple, don’t make any assumptions.
Inappropriate:Mr. Rosenberg and Caryn, Mr. and Mrs. Bill
Rosenberg. Appropriate:Mr. Rosenberg and Ms. Fetzer.
•Use professional, rather than personal, descriptive terms.
Inappropriate:Robin Benoit, a lovely associate. Appropriate:
Robin Benoit, an experienced associate.

Choosing the Wrong Words 59

Race

•To avoid stereotyping, leave out any reference to race,
unless it is requested by the individual, or is relevant to the
subject of your writing, such as a report on the racial diver-
sity in your company.
•Focus on a person’s individual, professional characteristics
and qualifications, not racial characteristics.

Disability

•Address the person, not their handicap.
•If your writing is specifically focused on disabilities or disease,
or you must mention them for another reason, don’t use words
that imply victimization or create negative stereotypes. Terms
such as victim, sufferer, poor, afflicted, and unfortunateshould
be omitted.
•Don’t use courageousto describe a person with a disability
unless the context allows the adjective to be used for all.
Successfulor productivework better in a business context.
•Always put the person ahead of the disability, as in person
with impaired hearing
, rather than hearing-impaired person.

[QUIZ

]

Remove any biased language from the following sentences, and
replace it with inclusive words or phrases. The answers can be
found on page 174.

1.The chairman of our committee read a report
regarding absenteeism among the waitresses.
2.Every employee must put personal belongings in
his or her own locker.
3.The African-American tennis players Venus and
Serena Williams are the best in the world.
4.Please support the efforts of our brave Vice Presi-
dent of Personnel, Dora Sinclair, by sponsoring
her in the Relay for Life.
5.Did you send the invitation to Dr. Choe and
Tannie?

60

goof-proofBUSINESS WRITING

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