While mispronouncing a colleague’s name may not seem like a big deal, it can be one more reminder that they are different from the norm. Doing so might make them feel they don’t belong, or that they’re less important than their peers.
In an article for KQED, reporter Gail Cornwall shared tips collected from educators for remembering students’ names. Things like:
She also shared what may be a secret weapon for those of us who struggle with pronouncing unfamiliar names: pronouncenames.com. It’s a super helpful site. Bookmark it now.
A few years back, Aja Hammerly, a developer advocate at Google, wrote a blog post with the following story:
“The college I attended was small and very LGBT friendly. One day someone came to visit and used the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative, as was common in the early 2000s. A current student looked at the visitor and flatly said, ‘we don’t do that here.’ The guest started getting defensive and explaining that they weren’t homophobic and didn’t mean anything by it. The student replied, ‘I’m sure that’s true, but all you need to know is we don’t do that here.’ The interaction ended at that point, and everyone moved on to different topics. ‘We don’t do that here’ was a polite but firm way to educate the newcomer about our culture.”
Sounds like the perfect phrase to use in a workplace as well.
When someone claimed software developer advocate Chloe Condon was stalking him — at an event she didn’t attend, using a photo she had published over a year earlier — an impressive number of people stood up for her.
Friends, acquaintances, and random nice people across the internet jumped in to help. As Chloe explained, “The amount of folks, many complete strangers, who helped do all this detective work, commented words of support, and DMed me to check-in on my personal safety and mental health has been amazing and I am thankful.”
Her article reveals other examples of online harassment, and it’s a good reminder of how awful it can be for women on the internet.
Allies, let’s all keep our eyes open and call out creepy behavior when we see it.
Economist Anna Stansbury tweeted about job interviews being held in hotel rooms, and why that’s a problem for women and LGBTQ individuals. TLDR: It could be uncomfortable and could potentially put a candidate in a dangerous situation. For a sexual assault victim, it could be triggering. Plus, there’s stereotype threat; Female candidates going to an interview in a hotel bedroom with mostly or all male interviewers may find the gender gap more apparent, which may impede their performance.
Allies, let’s hold interviews in hotel rooms only when there’s no other viable option. And make sure there are enough chairs so that no one has to sit on the bed.
There are phrases that should raise red flags for anyone who wants inclusive workplaces. Phrases like:
When you hear one of those phrases, pay attention and be ready to take action. And consider downloading our Better Allies mini-poster of these phrases. Print it, share it, start a conversation.