Why We Should Stop Saying “Underrepresented”

N. Chloé Nwangwu

Now, folks use the term “underrepresented” instead. It may feel like the safest option among the minefield of language and politics we all traverse, but I’d argue the term — for all its seeming inoffensiveness — is not just deeply harmful, it’s inaccurate.

As an equity-informed brand strategist and visibility expert, I’ve spent years researching, identifying, and naming all the ways our cognitive biases make it harder for marginalized folks to gain the recognition and visibility they deserve. My work leads me to believe the word “underrecognized” is a more accurate — and a more productive— alternative to the word “underrepresented.”