I generally use this space to share my own lessons learned on how to do communications for good. But this article by Trabian Shorters is important for all of us to read. The reality is that many of us (including me) have made this mistake while trying to do the right thing. It’s important to learn and move forward.In case you missed it in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, I’m reprinting the introduction and linking to the full article here. (It was produced in connection with one of my favorite organizations, the Communications Network.)

‘You Can’t Lift People Up by Putting Them Down’: How to Talk About Tough Issues of Race, Poverty, and More

By Trabian Shorters
Founder of BMe Community

Have you noticed that social-impact organizations working with black people often describe them in language that is so offensive that we wouldn’t dare use it to their faces?

The “at-risk, low-income, minorities in high-crime, high-poverty, disadvantaged communities whom we seek to empower and transform” have far more going on in their lives than our denigrating short-hand acknowledges. Read More