Inclusivity and Diversity

Guidelines for how a mindful awareness of inclusive language helps us to achieve inclusivity and diversity.

CNM’s commitment to providing a welcoming environment to all students extends to the language we use when addressing them. With our diverse student and prospective student populations, it is necessary to consider inclusive language that builds unity across the College.

Become Aware of Implicit Bias

Implicit bias or stereotyping is when you make assumptions about an individual based on qualities perceived to be representative of the group(s) that person falls into. Try to use language that reflects how a person identifies themselves.

  • Only mention unique identifiers when necessary
    • Some unique identifiers are marital status, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or racial, ethnic, cultural, or national identity.
  • Make sure to use the most accurate and inclusive words and phrases.
    • When referring to the human race use "humanity" or "people," instead of "man" or "mankind."
    • Instead of being too broad and just saying "students," specify "CNM students" or "Dual Enrollment students."

Race, Ethnicity, Culture, and Nationality

When referring to race, ethnicity, culture, or nationality, it is important to understand the meanings behind the words and use language that doesn’t reinforce racism, stigmas, or stereotypes. Like everything else, its best to describe people the way they want to be described.

  • Race was created by society to put people into groups based on categories that have changed over time. Governments tend to require racial identification, which may or may not align with a person’s self-determined racial identity.
  • Culture generally comes from a socially linked group whose need to adapt and survive results in the creation and conservation of similar values, traditions, behaviors, and modes of communication.
  • Ethnicity generally comes from a sense of connection to a group based on shared history, politics, ancestry, or geography and can also have a shared culture.
  • Nationality is a legal and political term for identifying a person’s relationship with their nation of birth. Whereas citizenship is a person’s relationship with any nation.

All of these should only be mentioned if they are necessary to the content you are adding to the website. If you are going to be adding any information that deals with these topics, please research the most current practices. For more information about these topics visit the Racial Equity Tools Glossary or Ensemble …for the respect of diversity’s website.


  • Capitalize the names of races, nationalities, and cultural groups.
    • For example, “Indigenous Peoples,” “Inuit,” “Arab,” “Caucasian,” “Jew,” “Asian,” “Catholic,” “Muslim.”
  • Do not assume that a person's appearance defines their race, nationality, or cultural identity.
  • Avoid using the term "minority" when referring to an ethnic, cultural, or racial group; it often implies inferior social position.
  • Generally speaking, "citizen" should not be used as synonymous with "American", "the American public," or as a generic term for people who live in the United States—as our population includes many non-citizens and individuals with a wide range of immigration and visa statuses.


Ableism occurs when someone makes assumptions about a person and how they interact with their surroundings based on their appearance, communication style, or movements that may not conform to societal expectations. Make sure that the language you use doesn't contribute to stigmas around disability.


  • Use "has multiple sclerosis," not "is afflicted with" or "suffers from."
  • Avoid terms or phrases like: "disabled," "handicapped," "confined to a wheelchair," "crazy," "dumb," "lame," "insane," "psycho," "stupid," "blind spot," "I'm being OCD," or "tone deaf."
  • Use person first language, unless asked to do otherwise.
    • For example, "a person who uses a wheelchair" or "Aaliyah, who has multiple sclerosis."
    • Someone with a visual disability may prefer “blind,” while another may prefer “person with low vision.”

Gender and Orientation

Gender and orientation are important topics to understand in order to be inclusive in your language.

  • Gender is a person’s identity that aligns or differs from society’s expectations of masculinity or femininity based on a person’s sex assigned at birth.
  • A person’s orientation is a way to describe their sexual or romantic attraction to a specific gender or multiple genders.

To learn more about gender, orientation, or other identities visit Stonewall’s Glossary of Terms.

Gender Neutral Language

"They," "them," and "theirs" are considered singular pronouns by both the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press. The use of "they," "them," and "theirs," is a neutral approach to gender inclusive language in contrast to "he," "him," and "his" or "she," "her," and "hers."


  • Use “different sex” rather than “opposite sex.”
  • Use “spouse” or “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife.”
  • Use “parent” instead of “mother” or “father.”
  • Use "folks" or "y'all" instead of “guys” to refer to a group of mixed-gender people.
  • Use "person" when referring to job positions, like "business person" instead of "businessman."


Ageism is when you judge a person based on their age or perceived age. Ageism effects people of all ages and can result in difficulty finding employment or getting respect from peers. It is important to appreciate the different perspectives and experiences people of different ages have and how we can learn from them. Make sure to use language that people of all ages can understand, instead of using slang, vernacular, or jargon.


  • “Students under the age of 18 must follow the underage admissions process.”
  • Don't use phrases like "too young/old."