Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Glossary of Terms
Impact of EDI
Equity, diversity, and inclusion (referred to jointly as EDI) are three words that have greater importance than the sum of their parts. It captures the culture of any organization in managing a diverse workforce that feels included and has equal opportunities to succeed.
It doesn’t just refer to the rules in the book, but to the ethos of the organization in its approach to dealing with a multifaceted workforce. People are different. But the desire to contribute is universal. How you handle them is a testament to your organization’s willingness and capability, and hence the battle for EDI.
The words we use matter in all things. The intent of this glossary is to serve as a resource and starting point for exploring key terms as they relate to equity, diversity, inclusion, identity, access, oppression, and culture. This is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of terminology used in conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion. It is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list, as equity, diversity, and inclusion terms are ever-expanding and changing. But it is a good place to start as a reference guide; a glossary of terms and language commonly used in reference to EDI efforts.
This document will be updated on an ongoing basis so feedback is encouraged and welcomed.
Glossary of terms
Ableism: Beliefs or practices that rest on the assumption that being able-bodied is “normal” while other states of being need to be “fixed” or altered. This can result in devaluing or discriminating against people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities. Institutionalized ableism may include or take the form of un/intentional organizational barriers that result in disparate treatment of people with disabilities.
Accessibility: The “ability to access” the functionality of a system or entity and gain the related benefits. The degree to which a product, service, or environment is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessible design ensures both direct (unassisted) access and indirect access through assistive technology. Universal design ensures that an environment can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people.
Accommodation: Any change, alteration or modification to the way things are customarily done that provides an equal opportunity. Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to, sign language interpreters, materials in alternative formats (such as braille, different font size or digital format), preferential seating, and assistive listening devices.
Affirmative Action: The practices or policies that focus on improving opportunities for groups of individuals, like women and minorities, who have been historically excluded in United States’ society. In which procedures designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination among applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future.
Affirmed Gender: An individual’s true gender, as opposed to their gender assigned at birth. This term should replace terms like new gender or chosen gender, which imply that an individual’s gender was chosen.
AAPI: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The acronym is widely used by people within these communities but is not as well known outside of them. Spell out the full term; use AAPI only in direct quotations and explain the term. (Associated Press, 2020)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Enacted in 1990, the ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life - employment, state, and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Public Law 101-226., 1990)
Ai/An/I: Indicates American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Indigenous. These series of terms are commonly used in North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation of community attachment (Grieco and Cassidy 2001, p. 2).
Asian: Defined in the United States (U.S.) Census as “people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent,” including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam (Grieco and Cassidy 2001, p.2).
Belonging: Connotes full membership in the UCLA community. Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group. It is when an individual can bring their authentic self to work. This entails in achieving not merely formal participation but also rewarding participation for all members of a diverse campus community in the opportunities, resources, and decision-making structures of the campus.
Benevolent Sexism (BS): Involves subjectively positive images of women, such as considering women as nurturing, sensible, caring, and having a sense of aesthetic and moral superiority. Benevolent sexism idealizes women but only if they conform to the traditional roles men assign them and do not challenge men’s authority.
Biological Sex: Refers to anatomical, physiological, genetic, or physical attributes that determine if a person is male, female, or intersex. These include both primary and secondary sex characteristics, including genitalia, gonads, hormone levels, hormone receptors, chromosomes, and genes. Sex is often conflated or interchanged with gender, which is more social than biological, and involves personal identity factors as well.
BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) is used to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experience of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context.
Bisexual: Refers to an individual who has the capacity for attraction --- sexually, romantically, emotionally, or otherwise --- to people with the same, and to people with different, genders and/or gender identities as themselves. However, it can also mean female attraction and non-binary, or other identifiers. It is not restricted to only CIS identifiers. Sex is often conflated or interchanged with gender, which is more social than biological, and involves personal identity factors as well.
Black/African Americans: According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2000) people whose origins are “in any of the Black racial groups of Africa” (p. A-3). The term includes descendants of African slaves brought to this country against their will and more recent immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and South or Central America (many individuals from these latter regions, if they come from Spanish-speaking cultural groups, identify or are identified primarily as Latino). The term Black is often used interchangeably with African American, although for some, the term African American is used specifically to describe those individuals whose families have been in this country since at least the 19th century and thus have developed distinctly African American cultural groups. Black can be a more inclusive term describing African Americans as well as for more recent immigrants with distinct cultural backgrounds.
Black Lives Matter: A human rights movement co-founded by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi. The movement campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward Black people. The movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmermann in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
Chicana/Chicano: People of Mexican descent; Chicano refers to men and Chicana to women. The terms were originally considered derogatory. However, the Chicano movement during the 1960s adopted these names in response to discrimination against Mexican Americans working under unfair labor and social conditions. These terms announce pride in indigenous ancestry, which was a significant ideological element of the Chicano movement. (Kanigel, Chicana, Chicano, n.d.)
Cisgender: Identifying with the same gender that one was assigned at birth. A gender identity that society considers to “match/align” the biological sex assigned at birth (e.g., man and male.). The prefix cis- means “on this side of”, in reference to the gender binary model. A term used to identify people who are not trans, and the experiences of privilege granted based on being cisgender. (Sometimes the shortened “cis” is used.)
Classism: The institutional, cultural, and individual set of practices and beliefs that assign differential value to people according to their socioeconomic class in a social system characterized by economic inequality.
Code-Switching: The ability to switch one’s style of speech, appearance, behavior, and expression in ways that will optimize the comfort of others in exchange for fair treatment, quality service, and employment opportunities. Code-switching comes with a psychological cost for employees who have to mute or hide aspects of who they are to fit in and succeed at work, and can sometimes result in their being ostracized by members of their own group who do not choose to code-switch themselves.
Collusion: When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression.
Coming Out: For people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit, the process of self-identifying and self-acceptance that continues throughout one’s life, and the sharing of their identity with others. Sometimes referred to as disclosing. There are many different degrees of being out: Some may be out to friends only, some may be out publicly, and some may be out only to themselves. It’s important to remember that coming out is an incredibly personal and transformative experience. Not everyone is in the same place when it comes to being out, and it is critical to respect where each person is in that process of self-identification. It is up to each person, individually to decide if and when to come out or disclose.
Culture: The conceptual system that structures the way people view the word --- the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society. It is the particular set of beliefs, norms, and values that influence ideas about the nature of relationships, the way people live their lives, and the way people organize their world.
Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime.
Discrimination: Any impermissible actions based wholly or in part on membership in a protected class, which conscious or unconscious prejudice that favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services or opportunities that attempt to undermine a person’s sense of reality or sanity. In a work context, it usually means behaviors that undermine the success, self-confidence, self-esteem, or well-being of the target.
Diversity: All of the ways in which people differ, including primary characteristic, such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, and sexual orientation; and secondary characteristic, such as education, income, religion, work experience, language skills, geographic location, and family status. Put simply, the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Diversity refers to all of the characteristics that make individual different from each other, and in its most basic form refers to heterogeneity.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): Equity is the process; equality is the result. Diversity is the demographic mix of the community, with a focus on the representation of equity-deserving groups. Inclusion is the creation of an environment where everyone feels welcome, is treated with respect, and is able to fully participate.
Equity: Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all campus community members can thrive. Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the dame. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
Ethnicity: Ethnicity refers to the social identity and mutual belongingness that defines a group of people on the basis of common origins, shared beliefs, and shared standards of behavior/culture.
Feminism: As defined by Black feminist bell hooks (Hooks assumed her pseudonym, the name of her great-grandmother, to honor female legacies; she preferred to spell it in all lowercase letters to focus attention on her message rather than herself.) in 2000, feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression directs our attention to systems of domination and the inter-relatedness of sex, race, and class oppression.
Gaslighting: A deliberate attempt to undermine a person’s sense of reality or sanity. In a work context, it usually means behaviors that undermine the success, self-confidence, self-esteem, or well-being of the target.
Gay: A term used to describe (trans or cis) boys/men who are attracted to (trans or cis) boys/men, but often used and embraced by people with other gender identities to describe their same-gender attractions and relationships. People who question their gender identity may feel unsure of their gender or believe they are not of the same gender they were assigned at birth.
Gender Expression: How an individual expresses their gender externally through dress, behavior, voice, etc. It may or may not conform to cultural gender norms.
Gender Identification: A set of social, psychological, and/or emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations in how an individual understands themselves as related to gender and includes female, male, transgender, intersex, and nonbinary identities.
Gender Neutral: Not gendered. Can refer to language (including pronouns and salutations/titles), spaces (like restrooms), or identities (being genderqueer, for example).
Gender Non-Conforming: A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit into a category.
Gender Queer: Gender queer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as “gender queer” may see themselves as both male or female aligned, neither male or female or as falling completely outside these categories.
Gender Spectrum: The concept that gender exists beyond a simple man/woman binary model, but instead exists on a continuum. Some people fall towards more masculine or more feminine aspects, some people move fluidly along the spectrum, and some identify off the spectrum entirely.
Hate Crime: Hate crime legislation often defines a hate crime as a crime motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.
Heteronormativity: The assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities.
Heterosexual: Refers to a person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or physically attracted to a person of the opposite gender. This is often referred to a straight.
Homophobia: The fear or hatred of homosexuality (and other non‐heterosexual identities), and persons perceived to be gay or lesbian that often manifests itself in the form of prejudice and bias. Homophobia is also a structural form of discrimination manifesting in policies and institutions.
Homosexual: Attracted to members of the same sex. (Not a preferred term. See Gay, Lesbian)
Implicit Bias (also known as social cognition): Occurs when someone consciously intends to reject stereotypes and supports antidiscrimination efforts but also hold negative associations in his/her mind unconsciously. This kind of bias occurs automatically as the brain makes judgements based on past experiences, education and background.
Imposter Syndrome: The Imposter Syndrome, sometime known as the Imposter Phenomenon or IP, can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy, particularly around one’s academic or professional abilities. The feelings persist even in the face of information, which indicates the person’s validity and successes. This is because the Imposter Syndrome is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Inclusion: Inclusion refers to a campus community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An institution can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, this a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success. Inclusive processes and practices are ones that strive to bring groups together to make decisions in collaborative, mutual equitable ways.
Indigenous Peoples: Those people native to a particular country or region. In the case of the United States and its territories, this includes Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians.
Institutional Racism: Racism at the institutional level is reflected in the policies, laws, rules, norms, and customs enacted b organizations and social institutions that advantage whites as a group and disadvantage groups of color. Such institutions include, religion, government, education, law, the media, the health care system, and businesses/employment.
Internalized Racism: Individual or internalized racism lies within individuals. These are private manifestations of racism that reside inside the individual. Examples include prejudice, xenophobia, internalized oppression and privilege, and beliefs about race influenced by the dominant culture.
Interpersonal Racism: Interpersonal racism occurs between individuals. Once private beliefs come into interaction with others, the racism is now in the interpersonal realm. Examples include public expressions of racial prejudice, hate, bias and bigotry between individuals.
Intersectionality: Legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in 1989 to describe how systems of oppression overlap to create distinct experiences for people with multiple identity categories. Intersectionality means that people are complicated with many facets to who they are and their life experiences. If you have multiple facets of your life that subject you to discrimination, the effects of that discrimination will multiply and compound. For example, a black woman faces racial and gender prejudice, whereas a black man faces only racial prejudice. A white gay man faces different, and far fewer, obstacles than a Latinx transgender person. It reflects the ways that our socially constructed identities, both privileged and oppressed, and how this mixture impacts both our self-perception and how we are viewed and treated by other individuals, groups, institutions, and by society.
Latinos/Latinx: Those who identify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino Census categories, this includes Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban, as well as those who indicate that they are “other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino.” Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality, group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. (Latinx: An inclusive, gender-neutral term, sometimes used in place of the gendered, binary terms Latino or Latina, used to describe a person of Latin-American origin or descent.)
Learning Disability: A genetic and/or a neurobiological condition that interferes with a person’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Learning disabilities should not be confused with intellectual disabilities, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.
Lesbian: Used to describe (trans or cis) girls/women who are attracted to (trans or cis) girls/women.
LGBTQIA+: An acronym that collectively refers to individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual and/or corresponding queer alliances/associations. It is a common misconception that the "A" stands for allies/ally. The full acronym is "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, with all other queer identities that are not encompassed by the letters themselves being represented by the "+". The addition of the Q for queer is a more recently preferred version of the acronym as cultural opinions of the term focus increasingly on its positive, reclaimed definition, which recognizes more fluid identities; and as a move towards greater inclusivity for gender-expansive people. The Q can also stand for questioning, referring to those who are sill exploring their own sexuality and/or gender. The “+” represents those who are part of the community, but for whom LGBTQ does not accurately capture or reflect their identity.
Lifestyle: A negative term often incorrectly used to describe the lives of people who are LGBTQIA+. The term is disliked because it implies that being LGBTQIA+ is a choice.
Marginalization: A social process by which individuals or groups are (intentionally or unintentionally) distanced from access to power and resources and constructed as insignificant, peripheral, or less valuable/privileged to a community or “mainstream” society. This term describes a social process, so as not to imply a lack of agency. Marginalized groups or people are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, cultural, or political life.
Me Too Movement: the ‘me too’ movement was founded by Tarana Burke in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color for low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. In less than six months, because of the viral #metoo hashtag, a vital conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue. What started as local grassroots work has expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of sexual violence worldwide.
Mental Health Disability: A medical condition that can disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental health disabilities can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income and are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.
Micro-affirmation: A small gesture of inclusion, caring or kindness. They include listening, providing comfort and support, being an ally and explicitly valuing the contributions and presence of all. It is particularly helpful for those with greater power or seniority to “model” affirming behavior.
Micro-aggression: A comment or action that unconsciously or unintentionally expresses or reveal a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group, such as a racial minority. These small, common occurrences include insults, slights, stereotyping, undermining, devaluing, delegitimizing, overlooking or excluding someone. Over time, microaggressions can isolate and alienate those on the receiving end, and affect their health and wellbeing.
Micro-behaviors: Small, semiconscious message we send and receive when we interact with others.
Micro-inclusions: A small, symbolic action to include someone who has been excluded or othered.
Micro-inequities: Small events that may be ephemeral and hard to prove; that may be covert, often unintentional, and frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator; that occur wherever people are perceived to be different; and that can cause serious harm, especially in the aggregate.
Micro-messaging: Small, subtle messages, sometimes subconscious, that are communicated between people without saying a word. Micro-messages are small behaviors that add up to have a big impact. These subtle, semi-conscious, universally understood messages, both verbal and physical, tell others what we really think about them.
Multiethnic: A person who identifies as coming from two or more ethnicities; a person whose biological parents are of two or more ethnicities.
Multiracial: A person who identifies as coming from two or more races; a person whose biological parents are of tow of more ethnicities.
Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders: Those with “origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands” (Grieco and Cassidy 2001, p. 2). Other Pacific Islanders include Tahitians; Northern Mariana Islanders; Palauans; Fijians; and cultural groups like Melanesians, Micronesians, or Polynesians.
Non-Visible Disabilities: There are many people with non-visible disabilities that can range from chemical sensitivities to diabetes. Given their particular situation they may require some assistance. If a person tells you assistance is needed, do you best to provide it – even if it takes a little extra time.
Oppression: Results from the use of institutional power and privilege where one person or group benefits at the expense of another. Oppression is the use of power and the effects of domination. In the context of social justice, oppression is discrimination against a social group that is backed by institutional power.
People of Color: Used primarily in the United States to describe any person who is not white; the term is meant to be inclusive among non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism.
Prejudice: A pre-judgement or preconceived opinion, feeling, or belief, in favor of or against a person, a group, an event, an idea, or a thing often based on stereotypes, that includes feelings such as dislike or contempt and is often enacted as discrimination or other negative behavior; or, a set of negative personal beliefs about a social group that leads individuals to prejudge individuals from that group or the group in general, regardless of individual differences among members of that group. An action based on prejudgment is discrimination. A negative prejudgment is often called a stereotype. An action based on a stereotype is called bigotry.
Privilege: An unearned and sustained advantage that comes from historical oppression of other groups. Privilege can be seen in race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, age etc. Acknowledging it isn’t meant to shame those with certain privilege but rather challenge the systems that make it exist. It does not mean that you with a certain privilege have never had challenges in life, just that there are some challenges you will not experience because of your identity.
Pronouns: Words to refer to a person after initially using their name. Gendered pronouns include she and he, her and him, hers and his, and herself and himself. Personal/Preferred gendered pronouns (PGPs) are the pronouns that people ask other to use in reference to themselves. They may be plural gender-neutral pronouns such as they, them, their(s). Or, they may be ze (rather than she or he) or hir (rather than her(s) and him/his). (The Safe Zone Project)
Queer: Historically a derogatory term used against LGBTQIA+ people, it has been embraced and reclaimed by LGBTQIA+ communities. Queer is often used to represent all individuals who identify outside of other categories of sexual and gender identity. Queer may also be used by an individual who feels as though other sexual or gender identity labels do not adequately describe their experience.
Race: A specious classification of human beings created by Europeans (whites) which assigns human worth and social status using ‘white’ as the model of humanity and the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power. (Ronald Chisom and Michael Washington, Undoing Racism: A philosophy of International Social Change. People’s Institute Press. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. 1444 North Johnson Street. New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116. 1992. Second Edition. p. 30-31.)
Racial Justice: The proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.
Racism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on a difference in race/ethnicity; usually by white/European descent groups against persons of color. Racism is racial prejudice plus power. It is the intentional or unintentional use of power to isolate, separate and exploit others. The use of power is based on a belief in superior origin, the identity of supposed racial characteristics. Racism confers certain privileges on and defends the dominant group, which in turn, sustains and perpetuates racism.
Reasonable Accommodation: A modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity.
Safe Space: A place where anyone can relax and be fully self- expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.
Scapegoating: The action of blaming an individual or group for something when, in reality, there is no one person or group responsible for the problem. It targets another person or group as responsible for problems in society because of that person’s group identity.
Sexism: Sexism originally referred to the belief in the existence of a hierarchy where men are advantaged and women are disadvantaged. They’re prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on a difference in sex/gender; usually by men against women.
Sexual Orientation: Emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings toward other people. While sexual behavior involves the choices, one makes in acting on one’s sexual orientation, sexual orientation is part of the human condition, one’s sexual activity does not define one’s sexual orientation; typically, it is the attraction that helps determine orientation. It is determined by a complex interaction of biological, genetic, and environmental factors.
Socio-economic status (SES): The social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured a as a combination of education, income and occupation. Examinations of socioeconomic status often reveal inequities in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control.
Stereotype: An oversimplified generalization about a person or a group. These can be about both negative and positive qualities but regardless, they lump people together. Stereotypes are cognitive shortcuts and become a bias when you apply the stereotype to an action. They go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information and are highly generalized.
Token-ism: Hiring or seeking to have representation such as a few women and/or racial or ethnic minority persons so as to appear inclusive while remaining mono-cultural.
Transgender/Trans: An umbrella term used to describe people who are not cisgender, who have a gender identity different than their sex assigned at birth. The term transgender is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life.
Two Spirit: A term used for a wide range of non-binary culturally recognized gender identities (e.g. within some American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) communities) to refer to a person who identifies as having both a male and female essence or spirit.
Unconscious Bias: An implicit association, whether about people, places, or situations, which are often based on mistaken, inaccurate, or incomplete information and include the personal histories we bring to the situation.
Under-represented Minority (URM): An abbreviation for Under-Represented Minorities. Some institutions have defined sub-groups within larger racial/ethnic minority groups that are particularly under-represented relative to their size. For example, in a given field, Mexican-Americans may be an under-represented minority, even if Hispanic people are otherwise proportionately represented.
Underserved: Not having their unique needs understood, discussed, or met. For example, people with physical disabilities have lacked access to, and in some places continue to struggle to access, a range of basic services such as bathrooms and signage that accommodate their needs.
White Fragility: Discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.
White People: Term used mostly for people with origins in any of the original peoples of Europe. This category includes people who indicate their race a s White or report entries “such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish” (Grieco and Cassidy 2001, p. 2). The term has been expanded to encompass persons of Middle Eastern and North African descent (for example, in the United States of American Census definition).
White Privilege: White Privilege is the spillover effect of racial prejudice and White institutional power. It means, for example, that a White person in the United States has privilege, simply because one is White. It means that as a member of the dominant group a White person has greater access or availability to resources because of being White. It means that White ways of thinking and living are seen as the norm against which all people of color are compared. Life is structured around those norms for the benefit of White people. White privilege is the ability to grow up thinking that race doesn’t matter. It is not having to daily think about skin color and the questions, looks, and hurdles that need to be overcome because of one’s color. White Privilege may be less recognizable to some White people because of gender, age, sexual orientation, economic class or physical or mental ability, but it remains a reality because of one’s membership in the White dominant group.
White Supremacy: White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and individuals of color by white individuals and nations of the European continent for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.
Whiteness: A broad social construction that embraces the white culture, history, ideology, racialization, expressions, and economic, experiences, epistemology, and emotions and behaviors and nonetheless reaps material, political, economic, and structural benefits for those socially deemed white.
Womanist: A black feminist or feminist of color. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility, and women’s strength. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.
Worldview: The perspective through which individuals view the world; comprised of their history, experiences, culture, family history, and other influences.
Xenophobia: Derive from the Greek word “xenos”, meaning stranger or foreigner, Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of those who are perceived as foreigners, manifested by suspicion of their activities, a desire to eliminate their presence, or seen as a threat to their national, ethnic or racial identity. Both xenophobia and racism often overlap, but the former is most likely associated with people outside of the country or community, while racism is associated most often with inferiority associated with physical characteristics or biological inferiority.