Language and Discrimination

How to Develop Non-discriminatory Forms of Language

  Anna Thompson

   Business, Human Resources, Diversity

Language - English Published on 08/2022


Language has long been recognized as playing an important role in relation to discrimination. This is because it can, on the one hand, reinforce stereotypes and discriminatory assumptions or, on the other, play a part in challenging them and seeking to eliminate them. Unfortunately, however, the notion of ‘political correctness’ has oversimplified complex issues and created a great deal of confusion. This course dispels all that confusion by clarifying the relationship between language and discrimination.

An oversimplified approach that simply seeks to ban the use of certain words has contributed to many people dismissing important issues as ‘political correctness gone mad’. This is a significant problem, as it means that some perfectly unproblematic forms of language are disapproved of, while some forms of discriminatory language go unchallenged. In addition, many people avoid the subject because they fear being criticized for saying something deemed racist, sexist or otherwise unacceptable.

Dr Neil Thompson has written and taught extensively about equality, diversity and inclusion and the need to avoid and address discrimination. His experience over many years has taught him that confusions and oversimplifications about the role of language in discrimination are not only very common, but also do a lot of harm.

Who this course is for:

  • Anyone wishing to promote equality and diversity by challenging discrimination through the use of appropriate forms of language.

What Will I Get ?

  • Develop a fuller understanding of the relationship between language and discrimination

  • Become wary of the oversimplifications associated with ‘political correctness’

  • Appreciate the importance of developing ‘linguistic sensitivity’

  • Be more confident in using language that is empowering rather than discriminatory


  • A good basic understanding of equality and diversity issues will help you get more out of this course.

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