There are a number of ways we refer to people at work that are deconstructive. All of them should be as off-limits as any racial slur, not because they are on the same level, but because both are dehumanizing. Here are some of the worst: Head count   Work force   Human capital

… And the most subtle and insidious of all, ‘human resources’, which reduces people to the level of a chair, computer, forklift, or other business resource. All of these terms make it easier to see people as ‘cogs in a wheel’, allowing us to make decisions without as much regard for the individual human beings involved. … words are powerful and communicate; or with repetition, actually determine what we really believe. So let’s ban terms like these that make people seem less human, and that are worn out in exhaustion in our time.

If you have a Human Resources department, it’s time to change the name to something that emphasizes humanity and deemphasizes people as a resource. The very existence of such a department might be a related problem we can talk about in another post.

I’m not human capital, or a human resource. I’m a human being. Going forward, please refer to me that way at work.”