We often use “normal” phrases, consciously and unconsciously, that are militaristic, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist and ageist. Some phrases have more implicit meanings and others create unhealthy comparisons, such as “the achievement gap.” Some phrases more explicitly disempower certain groups of people, like the term “illegal immigrants.” There are thousands of examples of routinely used language that creates a climate of fear and distrust for people within community settings.
Considering the impact of language on a person’s sense of trust and safety, it is no wonder that so many people feel alienated, and so many community and social change initiatives splinter, over language-based flash points. The way we communicate has a direct impact on our behavior, our culture and our world. Hurtful language can become a form of passive violence. Alternately, respectful, kind language can build bridges between people and communities.
Say This Not That is a technology platform and community dedicated to bringing greater language consciousness and compassion to communication.
How does STNT work?
STNT is a technology platform that identifies and offers alternatives to problematic words and terminologies. STNT references existing analysis, such as blog posts, articles and handbooks to give users in-depth explanations about why certain words and terms are hurtful.
The STNT lexicon is built and maintained by collaborators, who are activists and educators at higher education institutions and social and economic justice non-profit organizations. The STNT collaborators are either from the communities most impacted, or they work directly with the communities most impacted by this hurtful language. These communities include, but are not limited to, people of color, youth, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and low income people. Together this community of individuals and organizations will explore, examine and develop a justice-based lexicon for communication, in an online collaborative forum.
In moments when a leader, teacher, or community member experiences anxiety about what the “right” word to use might be in a given situation, STNT will be there with the answer.
Follow these links to learn more about the STNT platform