In a day-to-day culture designed to overwhelm us, we have to remind ourselves and each other that tackling things one step at a time...leads to great progress over time.
Other duties as assigned.
This phrase is used so often, we're inclined to think it's added by default, a sentence whose impact has completely wandered away from its intent. This article breaks down what is problematic about this catchall phrase that is often abused and misinterpreted.
And in the era of sound bites, it feels especially necessary to question the words and phrases of the status quo.
Some will argue that this is 'woke culture'. They will say that paying attention to language means we are overly sensitive. On the other end of the spectrum, they'll say that there are so many awful / traumatizing / horrific things happening, these details are trivial or meaningless in comparison.
Oppression also exists on a spectrum. And in order to reduce the power of oppressive individuals and systems, we have to understand the subtle ways it creeps into our everyday life. Brené Brown conveys this far more succinctly, and with far better research, than we can in her article, Dehumanizing Always Starts with Language.
What is interesting to us, as we've looked more closely at the language of job posts over the past several months, is that the threshold for what each of us considers dehumanizing may be different, because it's rooted in different experiences. What one person may consider 'no big deal' might be triggering for another, and for good reason. Awareness is a prerequisite for action.
Our antenna goes when we see language that creates an Us vs. Them framework, setting the stage for employees and / or employers to be on the defensive, at odds, or exploited, rather than working together, sharing resources, and empowering each other toward common goals.
Since last Fall, we've done a deep dive into commonly used words and phrases in job posts, including why they can be problematic, and how we can make changes that translate from the language of an individual job post into the culture of an organization. Most recently we worked with Gina Lorubbio at Heirloom Food Project to create a visual guide to How to Write a More Equitable Job Post, and we are working on a PDF version that you can more easily reference and / or share. Stay tuned.
As we continue to reflect and remain open, we wanted to share another ubiquitous statement in job posts continues to pop up like a stowaway. You may have seen some version of this sentence:
We believe there's an opportunity to do it differently by honoring the true intention of your workplace culture. Here's an example of what you can write instead:
We know it's impossible to convey every single task for a particular job in one job post. Our hope is that as we work together, and your role evolves over time, we can adjust your job description accordingly.
The small details matter. Shifting the dynamics of your organization from 'power over' to 'power with' changes the culture, giving individual words a reverberating impact.
If you can make powerful change just by adjusting your words, isn't that worth it?
Yours in food, justice, and food justice,
Dor + Tay
photo by Christine Han
resources on anti-racism, environmentalism and food culture AKA stuff we're reading / listening to / watching / noticing / thinking about / captivated by this Tuesday . . .
"Dehumanization begins in language; fighting it requires language as well." - R.O. Kwon on being a bystander to violence and discrimination against Asian Americans, for Vanity Fair.
Seeds of Radical Renewal: a Three-Month Leadership Course with Spiritual Ecology facilitators, including Bayo Akomolafe and Rowen White, is now open for applications.
Sarah Rose Harper on the The Tragedy of 215. One small thing you can do is sign the Lakota People's Law Project petition to form a truth and healing commission.
Are you tired of us mentioning the Undistracted podcast? Because we can't stop, won't stop. In each episode, Brittany Packnett Cunningham unpacks the ills of the world in a way that promotes real change. This week we strive to embody her words: 'In order to go from feeling different to being different, we've got to turn this changing public conversation into policy and meaningful change that honors the humanity of us all.'
Do I really have to tip? Spoiler alert: it's not the payment screen options that are the issue. (via NY Times)
This six-minute video offers a deeper look at the story of Gabrielle E.W. Carter, who was featured in episode 2 of High on the Hog.
RIP Eric Carle. You made our worlds brighter at an early age, and the value of your books only increases as we grow older.
Please share our guide to How to Write a More Equitable Job Post.
"We hope with this story the readers feel the same connection with nature that we felt and that the tribal ways are not forgotten so easily." - Azra Sadr, photographer for our latest GFJ Story on The Vanishing Ways of the Tribes of the Wayanad with words by Adhwaith Manohar.
got a tidbit? drop it here for us and we'll share it in next week's newsletter.