In the pursuit of creating an inclusive and diverse society, UK Finance, a prominent trade body for British bankers and financial services, released a language guide promoting inclusivity which has garnered significant backlash.
The New Guide
In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion, UK Finance’s language guide calls for replacing certain terms that have long been part of industry jargon.
‘Black Market’ to ‘Illegal Market’
The term ‘black market’ is singled out for replacement with ‘illegal market.’
While the ‘black market’ has been used for generations, the guide argues that it could be perceived as racially biased or discriminatory.
‘Slave’ to ‘Secondary’
A similar change is suggested for the term ‘slave,’ which will be replaced with ‘secondary’ in sector discussions to avoid potential harm and insensitivity.
Importance of Being Conscious of Language Choices
The guide acknowledges the importance of being conscious of language choices in broader society, highlighting that UK Finance takes such issues extremely seriously.
The organization joins a growing list of companies and institutions striving to be more inclusive in their communication.
A Growing List of Companies Being More Inclusive in Their Communication
The inclusive language guide also addresses several phrases commonly used in the finance and technology sectors.
One such example is the phrase ‘grandfather-father-son,’ which is used to refer to levels of age or hierarchy in infrastructure or backups.
According to the guide, using ‘grandfather’ to denote older technology or backup and ‘son’ for newer technology or copy could perpetuate age-based biases.
Adopting More Neutral Terms
Instead, UK Finance suggests adopting more neutral terms to describe these concepts accurately.
The Cyber Attack Term
Similarly, the term ‘man-in-the-middle,’ used to describe a cyber-attack, is targeted for replacement with ‘network interception.’
The guide reasons that ‘man-in-the-middle’ could be perceived as gender bias, and a more gender-neutral term should be used.
The Connectors Alternative
In the tech industry, connectors should not be referred to as ‘male’ or ‘female,’ as it could reinforce gender stereotypes.
Instead, the guide suggests using terms like ‘male alternative’ or ‘female alternative’ to describe these connectors.
There Was Criticism
While the guide aims to encourage greater inclusivity, it has been met with criticism from many.
An Unnecessary Overreach?
Critics argue that such changes are an unnecessary overreach and detract from the primary focus of financial institutions, which should be on the country’s economy.
Tory MPs Nigel Mills and Tom Hunt are among those who have criticized the move towards inclusive language.
They label it as ‘woke nonsense,’ suggesting that financial institutions should prioritize economic matters over linguistic changes.
City Hall Guide
Similar criticism was directed towards London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s language guide for City Hall staff.
Creating a More Inclusive Workplace
The guide, which banned the use of phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ and ‘illegal migrants,’ aimed to create a more inclusive workplace.
The Critics Accusation
However, some conservative critics dismissed the guide’s contents as ‘absurd’ and accused it of being politically motivated.
Nothing New Here!
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “This isn’t new. About 25 years ago I worked for the local council in Traffic & Transport. We were instructed to stop calling “accident black spots” by those words, & the “black” had to be dropped!”
Another User wrote, “So, you can use illegal market, but not illegal migrants? Very often there is a crossover between the two?”
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