I mentioned a while ago that I tried to talk to my boss about her use of the word ‘crazy’.
Well, Wednesday I had a chance to talk to another intern who had been using the word ‘lame’ when she got upset. I very much like this other intern, so I was afraid of having this talk. It’s harder for me to approach people who I like about problematic language. Especially since the conversation with my boss…didn’t go off as planned.
It couldn’t've gone better. I phrased it simply. “Lame refers to having an ‘abnormal’ gait. Like me.”
She was shocked to realize how hurtful her language was, and promised in the future to try to remove it from her language.
I thanked her. Because that response? That’s the response of a true ally. I don’t expect people to get it right every time, to get it right from the start. But when a person is presented with a choice of respecting or ignoring the word of a person from the minority group, I think that’s when you find out who your real allies are.
Fellow intern, you can count yourself as my ally. I sure do.