Giving Compass’ Take:
• Prosperity Now shares communication guidance related to race and racial economic equity terms.
• How can shared language strengthen partnerships and collaborations? Do these definitions and approaches align with your own?
By Lillian Singh
Vice President, Programs & Racial Wealth Equity at Prosperity Now
Over the last few years, Prosperity Now has increasingly focused on developing and strengthening its approach to addressing racial economic inequality and advancing racial wealth equity. In 2015, we launched the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative to integrate a racial economic equity lens, framework, and analysis to focus our work and bring expertise to this issue across the organization.
As we advanced our initiative, we recognized the necessity of supporting our partners committed to the cause of economic justice by providing guidance on navigating the complexity and nuances between racial economic equity and racial equity, and how to effectively communicate about this work.
One of the most powerful takeaways from over a decade of working in the racial wealth equity field is that language has the power to liberate or oppress. To ensure the former, Prosperity Now’s Racial Wealth Divide Team and Communications team developed the Communicating on Race and Racial Economic Equity Guide. The guide aims to:
- provide guidance on the use of grammar and provides a suggested choice of terms to help communicate about and tailor solutions to address racial economic equity,
- share lessons learned and emerging promising practices for representing diversity,
- suggestions on the use of tools, best practices, and recommendations from a wide range of sources that we find helpful for naming, framing, defining and understanding the issues of racial economic equity,
- suggestions on design guidelines on how to visually depict diverse communities, and
- recommendations on the use of concepts within a client-centered approach to position communities to reclaim their truth and build power from their lived experiences.
As society works to better understand and address how the racial wealth divide and racial economic inequity affect economic security for marginalized people, we understand the need for a shared language and meaning to increase impact. Since terms have changed over time, referring to groups of people using outdated language may be seen as offensive in today’s context. Our hope is this guide helps people understand which terms are preferred, still being contested, or likely to offend.