Acquired Diversity

Acquired diversity refers to characteristics a person acquires in the course of their life, from age to education, from trauma to status. Witty‘s inclusive suggestions help you create an appreciative and accessible climate for all.

Think of the many experiences, past and present, that shape a life: We age, adapt to changes in socioeconomic status, get an education, form life partnerships or marry, find and make families, experience loss, separation, and trauma. We are veterans, live with difficulties others can’t see, have accidents, and manage changes in our faculties and capabilities. We are survivors of conflict, violence, and incarceration. The sum of our experiences and perspectives constitute the acquired diversity we bring to the table. Witty alerts you to language that:

  • excludes or marginalizes people based on acquired characteristics.
  • trivializes the impact of difficult experiences and traumatizing life events.
  • reinforces social stigma and biases surrounding acquired diversity, such as age, class, or veteran status.
  • is used in microaggression against people of different experiences.

Unconscious bias

😒 Classism

Try to imagine a reader lower in hierarchy or socio-economic level than yourself: How would you feel when re-reading your own words?

For many people, this formulation implicitly communicates a feeling of condescension. It is associated with a power imbalance and can be perceived as "a top down" mindset. It may or may not also express a sense of social class difference. In short, readers unconsciously realize that the text is not at their eye level. And thus excludes them from the conversation. 

🧊 Formality

Formal language is often used in a diplomatic context. It expresses respect between countries. In everyday business situations, however, it can seem odd. It can implicitly convey that an interlocutor is "something better." Formal expressions can kill emotionality and are not conducive to eye-to-eye cooperation. This is contrary to what we are trying to achieve: an inclusive culture where everyone can bring their perspective to the table and realize their full potential.


😒 25 years and younger

Outdated hidden or even discriminatory wording pigeonholing people 25 years or younger. 

 An illustration of Witty showing the phrase 'Our next lead communications should be a digital native [proficient in solutions].' The words brackets are shown as alternatives.

😒 50 years and older

Outdated hidden or even discriminatory wording pigeonholing people 50 years or older. 

🤔 Age information

Asking for people's age puts them in a sensible spot and may provoke stereotype threat.