Part of diversity is linguistic diversity; part of equity is
linguistic equity; and part of inclusion is linguistic inclusion.
Yet, despite the many university initiatives around diversity,
equity, inclusion and access, language and linguistic diversity
are rarely part of the constellation of identity practices that
are seen outside of linguistics as warranting efforts toward
greater justice. Linguists can and should play an important
role in advocating for the centrality of language within
inclusivity efforts, but many of our efforts to do so are less
effective than we might hope.
In this talk, I’ll explore some of the potential reasons why
this has been the case and imagine (with your insight and help)
some ways that linguists could have more success in our efforts
to enhance linguistic justice. By framing linguistic inclusion
in the context of standardized language privilege, I’ll present
what we know about linguistic discrimination, pinpoint the
linguistic stakes of DEI efforts, highlight some flashpoints
that occur in public discussions about language such as with
pronouns and political correctness, and finally offer some
concrete steps that we as linguists can take to effectively
advocate for the importance of language at all levels of
intervention linked to greater inclusion and equity.
This talk is made possible by generous support from our friends in Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures; English; Gender and Women’s studies; Sociology; Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies; African American and Africana Studies; and the College of Arts and Sciences.