Problematic or deficit-minded language

One thing that came up at today’s EDI book club, was the question,

“What might be some deficit-minded language you might have come across, or that we might want to be more critical about or aware of?”

Some of the terms that were mentioned were:

  • Achievement gap vs. equity gap This can be especially difficult to change because this language may be institutionalized, and you might have to discuss this topic with your administrators.
  • Non-traditional vs. adult learners
  • Grandfathered in (or grandfather clause, grandfather policy, or grandfathering)
  • Hyperactive (especially common in K-12/primary school)
  • Alien, as in illegal alien

So what is some other problematic language you have come across? Were you able to change people’s mind about using it?