“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Ableism (n.): Discrimination against persons with mental and/or physical disabilities and/or
social structures that favor able‐bodied individuals.
Affirmative Action (n): Proactive measures for remedying the effect of past discrimination and ensuring the implementation of equal employment and educational opportunities. Affirmative action is undertaken only for certain protected groups of individuals: Females, blacks, Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, people with disabilities, and covered veterans.
African American (n): Of or related to African Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau defines black or African American as "people having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicated their race or races as ‘black, African American, or Negro' or wrote in entries such as ‘African American,' ‘Afro American,' ‘Nigerian,' or ‘Haitian.' According to Census 2000, African Americans make up approximately 12.3% of the total U.S. population, and 12.9% including persons of mixed race.
Ageism (n): Discrimination against individuals because of their age; often based on stereotypes (e.g. senior citizens are not able to perform tasks such as driving, or that all young people are irresponsible)
Alaska Natives (n.): Aboriginal peoples of Alaska, including American Indians, Eskimo, and Aluet peoples. Eskimo people, also called Inuit, are racially distinct from American Indians and are more closely related to peoples of East Asia.
Alien (n.): The United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services define an alien as "any person not a citizen or national of the United States." However, many people take offense at the use of this term because it places emphasis on difference. Preferable terms might be
"immigrant" or "refugee," and for those who have entered the United States illegally, "undocumented workers" as opposed to "illegal aliens."
American (n., adj.): Of or related to the Americas (North, Central, and South America). This term is commonly misused as a synonym for U.S. citizens and residents, as well as their values, beliefs, and behaviors.
American Indian (n., adj.): Of or related to American Indians. The U.S. Census Bureau defines "American Indians" as "people having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. According to Census 2000, American Indians and Alaska Natives are approximately 0.9 percent of the total U.S. population, and 1.5% including persons of more than one race
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (n.): On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the most sweeping legislation in the history of disability rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibiting discrimination against, and mandating equal opportunity for, persons with disabilities, in "state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation." The ADA defines a person with a disability as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, who has a record of such an impairment.
Asian American: Of or related to Asian Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau defines "Asian" as "people having origins in any of the original peoples of Asia or the Indian subcontinent. It includes people who indicated their race or races as ‘Asian,' ‘Indian,' ‘Chinese,' ‘Filipino,' ‘Korean,' ‘Japanese,' ‘Vietnamese,' or ‘Other Asian.' Asian Americans are approximately 3.6 percent of the total U.S. population, and 4.2% including persons of mixed race.
Bicultural (adj.): Of or related to an individual who possesses the languages, values, beliefs, and behaviors of two distinct racial or ethnic groups. Bicultural individuals may also be bilingual and/or biracial.
Bigotry (n.): Intolerance of cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, or political beliefs that differ from one's own.
Bilingual (adj.): Of or related to proficiency in two distinct languages.
Biracial (adj.): Of or related to more than one race. Biracial individuals may choose to identify with only one race, especially if they find that they are readily accepted by one group than another. Historically, biracial individuals who had one black parent and one white parent were considered black and were not acknowledged by the white community.
Bisexual (n., adj.): The term "bisexual" is most often used to describe a person whose sexual orientation is to persons of either sex. This term can also be used to describe a person who has both reproductive organs, known as "hermaphrodites."
Black (n., adj.): Of or related to persons having ethnic origins in the African continent; persons belonging to the African Diaspora. Some individuals have adopted the term to represent all people around the world who are not of white European descent, although this usage is not
common. "Black" is often used interchangeably with "African American" in the United States.
Brown (n., adj.): A term most often used to refer to people of Latino/Hispanic descent, or of the Latin American Diaspora (Mexico, Central and South America, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, as well as Latinos/Hispanics in the United States and Canada). Some individuals may use the word to refer to all people of color
Caucasian (n., adj.): Of or related to the Caucasus region, a geographic area between the Black and Caspian seas; a former racial classification that included indigenous persons of Europe, northern Africa, western Asia, and India, characterized by light to brown skin and straight to wavy or curly hair. In the U.S., "Caucasian" is often used interchangeably with "white."
Chicano/a (n.): A term adopted by some Mexican Americans to demonstrate pride in their heritage, born out of the national Chicano Movement that was politically aligned with the Civil Rights Movement to end racial oppression and social inequalities of Mexican Americans. Chicano pertains to the particular experience of Mexican‐descended individuals living in the United States. Not all Mexican Americans identify as Chicano.
Civil Rights Movement (n.): The Civil Rights Movement is known as the events that took place between 1955 and 1965 when minority groups across the United States, primarily in the South, rose up against all forms of institutional racism that perpetuated political, economic, and educational disparities within their communities. It served as the catalyst for the restructuring of institutionalized policies and practices that had legally enforced racial segregation, subjugation, and discrimination.
Classism (n.): Biased attitudes and beliefs that result in, and help to justify, unfair treatment of individuals or groups because of their socioeconomic grouping. "Classism" can also be
Colorblind (adj.): Term used to describe personal, group, and institutional policies or practices that do not consider race or ethnicity as a determining factor. The term "colorblind" de‐emphasizes, or ignores, race and ethnicity, a large part of one's identity.
Cultural Competence (n.): "A process of learning that leads to an ability to effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by the presence of social cultural diversity in a defined social system."
Discrimination (n.): Unfavorable or unfair treatment towards an individual or group based on their race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, physical/mental abilities, or sexual orientation.
Diversity (n.): Differences in groups (e.g. race/ethnicity/class, gender or gender expression, sexual orientation, country of origin, as well as political or religious affiliations), individuals (e.g. personality, learning styles, physical and/or cognitive ability, and life experience), and thought or belief (e.g. political, spiritual, or opinion).
ESL (n.): (E)nglish as a (S)econd (L)anguage. A term used to describe language learning programs in the U.S. for individuals for whom English is not their first or native language
Environmental Racism (n.): The concept that members of certain groups are deliberately located in less‐desirable geographic areas or that undesirable businesses, activities are deliberately located in range of or within neighborhoods of certain groups, particularly racial minorities and the urban poor.
Essentialism (n.): The practice of categorizing an entire group based on assumptions about what constitutes the "essence" of that group (e.g., assuming that women are better nurturers due to something that is innate in their being). Essentialism prevents individuals from remaining open to individual differences within groups.
Ethnic (adj.): Of or related to a particular race, nationality, language, religion or cultural heritage. "Ethnic" in the context of the U.S., has also come to represent concepts, characteristics or cultural values and norms that are not typical of persons of white/European ancestry.
Ethnocentrism (n.): The practice of using a particular ethnic group as a frame of reference, basis of judgment, or standard criteria from which to view the world. Ethnocentrism favors one ethnic group's cultural norms and excludes the realities and experiences of other ethnic groups.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) (n.): Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Equity (n.): Equal opportunity for all members of the campus community to fully participate in and contribute to an inclusive living/learning environment.
Eurocentrism (n.): The practice of using Europe and European culture as a frame of referenceor standard criteria from which to view the world. Eurocentrism favors European cultural norms and excludes the realities and experiences of other cultural groups.
Feminism (n.): Theory and practice that advocates for educational and occupational equity between men and women and undermines traditional cultural practices that support the subjugation of women by men and the devaluation of women's contributions to society.
Gay (n., adj.): A homosexual. This term was said to originate in Paris during the 1930's and referred to the male homosexual underground community. The term was reclaimed during the Gay Liberation Movement as a source of pride. "Gay" is commonly used only to refer to homosexual men and not women.
Gay Liberation Movement (n.): The Gay Liberation Movement is generally understood to have begun at the start of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village of New York City. The catalyst for the riots was a police raid of a gay bar on Christopher Street, near the Stonewall Inn. The patrons decided to fight back and were quickly joined by others who supported "Gay Power." Word and wake of the riot rippled through the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community and some individuals came together to form the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which was politically aligned with gay rights and the anti‐imperialist struggle overseas.
Gender (n.): Sexual classification based on the social construction of the categories of "men" and "women." Gender differs from one's biological sex (male or female) in that one can assume a gender that is different from one's biological sex.
Gender Identity (n.): A term used to describe "a person's internal sense of being male or female.
Gentrification (n.): The process whereby a given urban area or neighborhood undergoes asocioeconomic transition from a previously low‐income, working class neighborhood to a middle‐class or affluent neighborhood.
Glass Ceiling (n.): Term used to describe the "unseen" barrier that prevents women and people of color from being hired or promoted beyond a certain level of responsibility, prestige, or seniority in the workplace.
GLBT (LGBT) (adj.): acronym for "Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender."
Harassment (n.): Unwelcome, intimidating, or hostile behavior. Hispanic (n., adj.): The U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanics as "those people who classified themselves in one of the specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories listed on the Census 2000 questionnaire (Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, or Cuban.
Homophobia (n.): A fear of individuals who are not heterosexual. Homophobia often results in people distancing themselves from and/or psychologically/physically harming people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. The literal meaning of the word is "fear of same."
Identity Group (n.): A particular group, culture, or community with which an individual identifies or shares a sense of belonging.
Illegal Alien (n.): The official term used by the United States Federal Government to refer to citizens of foreign countries whose entry into the United States is prohibited by law, or those who reside in the United States without evidence of legal documentation where permission for
entrance has been granted.
Immigrant (n.): A person who voluntarily and/or legally re‐locates to a country different from that in which he or she was born. Ex: An Irishman who migrates to the United States is an emigrant of Ireland and an immigrant to the U.S.
Inclusive Community (n.): A community where differences are recognized and valued as essential to creating a safe, welcoming, and stimulating environment for exploration, learning and development.
Inclusive Language (n.): Words or phrases that include both women and men if applicable. Inclusive language does not assume or connote the absence of women. Ex: Use of word "police officers instead of "policemen" or "humankind" instead of "mankind."
Mainstream (n., adj.): Refers to the dominant cultural norms of a given society. In theUnited States, the "mainstream" culture encompasses the language, values, beliefs, and behaviors of the white/European population.
Marginalization (n.): The placement of minority groups and cultures outside mainstream society. All that varies from the norm of the mainstream is devalued and at timesperceived as deviant and regressive.
Miscegenation (n.): The mixing of races.
Multicultural (adj.): Of or pertaining to more than one culture.
Multiculturalism (n.): Theory and practice that promotes the peaceful coexistence of multiple races, ethnicities, and cultures in a given society, celebrating and sustaining language diversity, religious diversity, and social equity.
Oppression (n.): Severe exercise of power and subjugation that works to privilege one group
and disadvantage another
Pacific Islander (n.): The term "Pacific Islander" refers to persons whose origins are of the following nations: Polynesian, Melanesia, Micronesia, or any of the Pacific Islands.
Queer (n., adj.): Term used to refer to people or culture of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community. A term once perceived as derogatory is now embraced by some members of the GLBT community.
Quota (n.): A number or percentage particularly of people designated as a targeted minimum for a particular group or organization. A term often used in reference to admission to colleges and universities and organizational hiring practices.
Race (n.): A grouping of human beings based on a shared geographic dispersion, common history, nationality, ethnicity, or genealogical lineage. Race is also defined as a grouping of human beings determined by distinct physical characteristics that are genetically transmitted.
Racism (n.): Racism can be understood as individual and institutional practices and policies based on the belief that a particular race is superior to others. This often results in depriving certain individuals and groups of certain civil liberties, rights, and resources, hindering opportunities for social, educational, and political advancement.
Reverse Discrimination (n.): A term used by opponents to affirmative action who believe that these policies are causing members of traditionally dominant groups to be discriminated against.
Safe Space (n.): A space in which an individual or group may remain free of blame, ridicule and persecution, and are in no danger of coming to mental or physical harm.
Sexual Harassment (n): The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as "a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."
Sexual Orientation (n.): Term used to refer to an individual's sexuality and/or sexual attraction to others.
Stereotype (n.): A positive or negative set of beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a certain group.
Tokenism (n.): The policy of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration; the practice of hiring or appointing a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules.
Tolerance (n.): Recognition and respect of values, beliefs, and behaviors that differ from one's own.
Transgender (adj.): This term is often used to describe persons whose gender identity "differs from conventional expectations for their physical sex." "Transgender" is a term that can be used to refer to "transsexuals, masculine women, feminine men, drag queens/kings, cross‐dressers, butches, etc." Transgender persons can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
Transsexual (n.): A term used to describe a person whose gender identity differs from that of their physical/biological sex. Transsexuals can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Undocumented Workers (n.): A term used to describe the populations of laborers in the United States who do not possess legal documentation of residence and/or who did not receive proper authorization to enter into the country.
Unearned Privilege (n): Privileges accorded to some individuals because they possess or demonstrate certain characteristics associated with the dominant culture in society, such as being heterosexual, white, or male. These privileges are deeply ingrained into U.S. culture.
Terminology Credited to Achugbue, Elsie. A Diversity Glossary.National MultiCultural Institute Publications 2003