Integrative DEI for Written Materials: Make Your Written Words Convey More

Ok, I just slam dunked another client deliverable.

Credit: https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/young-black-woman-basketball-player-with-ball-vector-14187918

I am asked to engage in critical-integrative DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) content editing of a manuscript or business materials all the time. I have wonderful clients ranging from bestselling authors on gender equity to top animal rights organizations.

What can I do for you?

You give me written/visual materials and I go over it to make sure you understand how your own embodied experience, privileges, lack their of, etc., shape how you write about the subject at hand and what assumptions you may have had. Beyond “individual” assumptions, I show you how systemic bias and oppressive ideas shape how most people write and think what is ‘universal’. Examples:

1. Many white women often want to write about ‘gender equality’ but collectively, many don’t realize they assume all women are white cisgender straight women. I help them unpack that to create more effective writing and communication.

2. Writing about animal rights and veganism? I will help the writer or organization critically examine how some taken for granted myths (but are believed to be facts) are can create a non-inclusive framing of AR/Veganism. For example, who is excluded when they frame veganism = healthy = skinny? Is this potentially biased rhetoric that may not persuade non-vegans to adopt a plant-based diet? I ask them to unpack that and how biased ideas around being fat, as well as sizeism, etc can impact their ethical writing around veganism and animal rights.

3. Reducing ableist language in a manuscript. For example, “Why are many white people so blind to racial issues?” Consider writing it in a way that excludes the use of ‘blind’ because it can be ableist and implies that blind people are incapable of understanding racial power dynamics simply because they can’t “see”. Try “race- neutral’ or “post-racial” instead. Consider replacing, “We stand for racial justice” to “we are in solidarity with”…. as not everyone can ‘stand’ physically.

Learn more here about my slam dunk services of integrative diversity, equity, and inclusion for your writing project, company materials, etc here at www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. Harper

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

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