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Engineering Documents from SMPTE Will Replace Offensive Terminology with Alternative Language

September 23, 2020

The Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at SMPTE will push the Society to better embody one of its guiding principles, that SMPTE is inclusive. We recently formed the committee to focus on making the experience of SMPTE equitable for all, as well as to develop methodologies for the Society to support education and training in professional media and technology for communities of color. We are also tackling any potential barriers of entry and participation. Further, we are keeping watch of the way SMPTE presents itself and communicates its mission, goals, objectives and deliverables. 

When we think about inequities, the language we use to articulate ideas and concepts is hugely significant. Learning how to speak about social justice issues is an important and obvious necessity. What may be less apparent is how the language we use in our daily lives, at work, and in general may propagate archaic ideologies that can at times be offensive. 

I am delighted to share that the SMPTE Standards Community has recently updated one of its Administrative Guidelines (AG 16) which governs the style of standards and engineering documents. The guidelines identify four offensive terms and provides a multitude of substitutes to use in place of each.

Quite soon, SMPTE’s engineering documents will adopt the use of this preferred language. We are proud to lend the idea to other standards bodies and to anyone developing guidelines and documents of any kind.

We have much more work to do. Steering SMPTE’s efforts to make our standards, publications, educational opportunities and the industry as a whole more inclusive will reward many. If you have suggestions or ideas in the area of diversity and inclusion, please feel free to send them to membership@smpte.org.

FINAL - Offensive Language Substitutions copy

Renard Jenkins

SMPTE Governor for Eastern Region, Chair of SMPTE Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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