Sunday, November 29, 2009

Positive Adoption Language Part II

I know not everyone reads the comments left on my posts, so I'd like to share parts of a comment left on my last post about positive adoption langauge. This post was actually written by Troy Dunn of "The Locator" which I referenced in that post.

"There is no right or wrong answer, only personal preference.

For example, two of my very good friends are black. One of them refers to himself as "black", while the other insists on being referred to as "african american". I respect both of their requests and use whatever term makes them most comfortable when we are together.

So when you see me on the 'Locator' show using various versions of the 'adoption terminology', I am merely reflecting the preference of those whom I am with. I do have my own personal list of preferred terms, but those are irrelevant when I am with others whose lives are the center of our efforts. At those moments, it is their world and I am just spinning on it.

Terms come and go. Respect is forever."

Troy has definitely hit the nail on the head. For me, the terminology "placed" is important. But it's also key to use language that makes others feel comfortable. As a shallow example, when I sold jewelry, a good deal of people "mispronounced" the gemstone peridot. The Old Norman origins of the word suggest it be pronounced "peri-doh" but many people pronounce it phonetically. Both are technically acceptable, but I learned you don't correct someone or you'll lose the sale. This is example is a bit of a stretch, but it's important to use terminology that others are comfortable with.

Like any "politically correct" terms, some of these things may be a little too sensitive and it does no good to get offended by a "wrong" term. But language and connotations are very powerful, so it doesn't hurt to be aware of positive alternatives.

And speaking of "The Locator" it's a really fantastic show. Too bad we don't get new episodes until next March, but make sure to check it out.


Liz Smith said...

ive been wanting to watch that show since i first heard about it but we don't get We TV. sigh.

Ashley said...

Dude, you really got a comment from Troy Dunn?! How awesome is that!!!


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