EIDC Glossary of Critical Terms and Concepts

EIDC Glossary of Critical Terms and Concepts

The EIDC glossary of terms is part of PC’s mission to create more equitable and inclusive experiences and outcomes for faculty, staff, and students. This glossary includes concise definitions of key terms as well as links to other resources. To build this document, the EIDC adapted the prior work of Maricopa’s Diversity Advisory Council and Harvard’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Glossary in ways that are most applicable to the Phoenix College family. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. As language continues to evolve around these concepts, these terms will also change and new ones will be added. We welcome your suggestions and feedback to help make improvements to this glossary. To request an addition or change, please contact us at eidc@phoenixcollege.edu.

EIDC Glossary of Critical Terms and Concepts

Affirmative Action: The practices or policies that focus on improving opportunities for groups of people, like women and minorities, who have been historically excluded in United States' society. The initial emphasis was on education and employment. President John F. Kennedy was the first president to use the term in an Executive Order in 1961. 

Authentic: All plans and actions are genuine, purposeful, deliberate, and actualized while teaching us/helping us to have productive dialogue and relationships.

Belongingness: The human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group and the community. People tend to have an ‘inherent’ desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. Belonging is one prerequisite for learning and must be nurtured

Bias: Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in an unfair or negative way. Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is defined as “attitudes and stereotypes that influence judgment, decision-making, and behavior in ways that are outside of conscious awareness and/or control”. 

Culture: The pattern of daily life learned consciously and unconsciously by a group of people. These patterns can be seen in language, governing practices, arts, customs, holiday celebrations, food, religion, dating rituals, and clothing (from Pacific University Office of Inclusion, Equity & Diversity). 

Cultural Agility: The act of creating a connected sense of belonging and ability for individuals to adapt to changing situations in a working democracy of a healthy organization. This includes utilizing creativity and finding innovative solutions to solve problems and to acknowledge diverse learning and workplace contributions to the whole.

Cultural Competence: Set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that enable a system, agency, or professional to function effectively across cultural difference (Cross, 1989). In this context, cultural difference (also called diversity) includes, but is not limited to, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and socio-economic class. As Cross notes, "systems, agencies, or professionals do not start out being culturally competent. Like other types of competence, cultural competence is developed over time through training, experience, guidance, and self-evaluation. 

Cultural Humility: Enhances the quality of our daily interactions with others. It goes beyond a fixed state of knowledge and is a requirement for lifelong and continuous learning. Cultural Humility involves a critical self-analysis and organizational accountability at all levels. Cultural Humility is essential for building trust and successful relationships since there are many layers and we are not all knowing.

Discrimination: Actions based on conscious or unconscious prejudice that favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services or opportunities. 

Diversity: The study of social and cultural markers that have made us unique and distinct, such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, and sexual orientation; and secondary characteristics, such as education, income, religion, work experience, language skills, geographic location, and family status. Diversity refers to individual and group social differences, as well as the multiple intersections of all dimensions of each person’s unique identity.

Diversity v. Inclusion v. Belonging: Diversity typically means proportionate representation across all dimensions of human difference. Inclusion means that everyone is included, visible, heard and considered. Belonging means that everyone is treated and feels like a full member of the larger community, is accountable to one another, and can thrive. 

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence: A community that draws on the widest possible pool of talent, one that fully embraces individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values, unifies excellence and diversity. In so doing, it achieves inclusive excellence. The aspiration to achieve inclusive excellence moves beyond the goal of nondiscrimination and toward embrace of the value that flows from bringing diversity of experience and thought to campus, and the rich and varied forms of excellence that can emerge from that diversity. 

Engagement: Creates and sustains belonging and participation in an inclusive organization and community where good faith, open/honest conversation can thrive for sustainable win-win outcomes.

Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access to opportunities, and advancement for all people. This occurs through good faith examination, identification, and elimination of institutional and systemic barriers thereby meeting the individual needs, interests, and success of all students, employees, and the community. 

Implicit/Explicit Bias: Implicit bias, also known as unconscious bias, occurs when someone consciously intends to reject stereotypes and supports antidiscrimination efforts but also holds negative associations in his/her mind unconsciously. Explicit biases are thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that people can consciously identify with relative ease, often referred to simply as “biases” (Vila, 2014).

Inclusion: The intentional and continuous engagement with diversity to create an environment that actively encourages full recognition of student and employee abilities, talents, and unique contributions in all aspects of the organization. Authentic truth and transparency is a cultural norm.

Inclusive Excellence: A planning process intended to help the institution establish a comprehensive and well-coordinated set of systemic actions that focus specifically on fostering greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability at every level of organizational life.

Intentionality: A commitment to purposeful actions that are intentionally designed to promote equity and inclusion by eliminating disparate outcomes. Intentionality requires a critical analysis of the issues impacting equity and inclusion.

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination, disadvantage or advantages. Intersectionality takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of prejudices including unearned privileges that may be unconscious.

Microaggressions: Small, individual acts of hostility or derision toward transgender or gender non-conforming people, which can sometimes be unintentional. Examples of microaggressions include: use of non-affirming names or pronouns, derogatory language, asking inappropriate or offensive questions, and exhibiting looks that reveal distaste or confusion.

Microaffirmation: 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.

Micromessaging: Small, subtle messages, sometimes subconscious, that are communicated between people without saying a word. We subconsciously communicate values and expectations that can be supportive (microaffirmations) or negative (microinequities). These subtle, semi-conscious, universally understood messages, both verbal and physical, tell others what we really think about them. 

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. 

Prejudice: a form of bias or partiality that is informed by both irrationality and an affective component against a particular individual or group (Yamashita, 2014).

Privilege: An 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 those with a certain privilege have never had challenges in life, just that there are some challenges they will not experience because of their identity.

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. Example: saying that white people can’t dance and Black people are good dancers is a stereotype. Asking a Black person to dance with you instead of the white person for this reason is a bias.

There are two concepts at play here:

  1. Stereotype threat: a phenomenon where an individual subconsciously acts to fit a stereotype. Example: Women perform worse on math exams when they think that the results will show a gender difference.
  2. Empirical Generalization: A fact about a large group of people. Example: Men are taller than women. Statistically this is true but not universal to all men. 

URM/Underrepresented Minority: An abbreviation for Underrepresented 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. 

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 (e.g., computer screen readers). 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. 

Assistive Technology (AT): Any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve ease of use or usability for individuals with disabilities. Examples include message boards, screen readers, refreshable Braille displays, keyboard and mouse modifications, and head pointers. 

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 (from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990). 

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. 

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. 

Neurodiversity:  A term used to describe natural variations in the human brain. It relates to differences in the way we think, process, learn, and behave.

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 your best to provide it - even if it takes a little extra time. 

Person First vs Identity First Language: Person first language is preferred by many when speaking about persons with disabilities. Person first language, such as saying “Person with a Disability” rather than using expressions like “handicapped,” or “challenged,” emphasizes that the person is more important than the disability. However, there are individuals who prefer to be identified first by their disability such as a “Deaf Person.” Presently, it is best to take your cue from the individual with a disability regarding preference. 

Reasonable Accommodation: Any change to the application or hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, or the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations are considered “reasonable” if they do not create an undue hardship or a direct threat (from the ADA National Network).

Universal design (UD) – Also known as "inclusive design" and "design for all," this is an approach to the design of products, places, policies and services that can meet the needs of as many people as possible throughout their lifetime, regardless of age, ability, or situation. 

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. 

Affirming: The unequivocal support for an individual person’s gender identity or expression, regardless of the biological sex they were assigned at birth; the systematic support to ensure that transgender people and communities are fully represented, included, valued, and honored. 

Affirming Pronouns: Refers to the most respectful and accurate pronouns for a person, as defined by that person. This is also sometimes referred to as “preferred gender pronouns,” although this phrasing is increasingly outdated. To ascertain someone’s affirming pronouns, ask: “What are your pronouns?”

Agender: A person who does not identify as having a gender identity that can be categorized as male or female, and sometimes indicates identifying as not having a gender identity.

AG/Aggressive: A term used to describe a female-bodied and identified person who prefers presenting as masculine. This term is most commonly used in urban communities of color.

Bigender: A person who experiences gender identity as two genders at the same time, or whose gender identity may vary between two genders. These may be masculine and feminine, or could also include nonbinary identities.

Biological Sex: A person’s combination of genitals, chromosomes, and hormones, usually categorized as “male” or “female” based on visual inspection of genitals via ultrasound or at birth. Many assume that a person’s gender identity will be congruent with their sex assignment. Everyone has a biological sex.

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. People who identify as bisexual need not have had equal experience—or equal levels of attraction—with people across genders, nor any experience at all: it is attraction and self-identification that determine orientation. Sometimes referred to as bi or bi+. 

Butch: A term used to describe a masculine person or gender expression.

Cisgender: (pronounced /sis-gender/): An adjective to describe a person whose gender identity is congruent with (or “matches”) the biological sex they were assigned at birth. (Some people abbreviate this as “cis”). 

Coming Out: The process through which a transgender person acknowledges and explains their gender identity to themselves and others.

Feminism: As defined by Black feminist bell hooks 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.

Femme: A term used to describe a feminine person or gender expression. 

Femme Queen: A term used to describe someone who is male bodied but identifies as and expresses feminine gender. Used primarily in urban communities, particularly in communities of color and ballroom communities.

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. Often referred to as ‘homosexual,’ though this term is no longer used by the majority of people with same-gender attractions. 

Gender-Affirming Surgery (GAS): Surgical procedures that can help people adjust their bodies to more closely match their innate gender identity. Not every transgender person will desire or have resources for surgery. This term should be used in place of the older term sex change. Also sometimes referred to as sexual reassignment surgery (or SRS), genital reconstruction surgery, or medical transition. 

Gender-based Violence: Sexual and gender-based violence refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and/or unequal power relationships.

Gender Binary: The idea that gender is strictly an either/or option of male/men/masculine or female/woman/feminine based on sex assigned at birth, rather than a continuum or spectrum of gender identities and expressions. The gender binary is often considered to be limiting and problematic for all people, and especially for those who do not fit neatly into the either/or categories.

Gender Conforming: A person whose gender expression is perceived as being consistent with cultural norms expected for that gender. According to these norms, boys/men are or should be masculine, and girls/women are or should be feminine. Not all cisgender people are gender conforming and not all transgender people are gender non-conforming. (For example, a transgender woman may have a very feminine gender expression). 

Gender Dysphoria (GD): The formal diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM 5), used by psychologists and physicians to indicate that a person meets the diagnostic criteria to engage in medical transition. In other words, the medical diagnosis for being transgender. Formerly known as Gender Identity Disorder (GID). The inclusion of Gender Dysphoria as a diagnosis in the DSM 5 is controversial in transgender communities because it implies that being transgender is a mental illness rather than a valid identity. On the other hand, since a formal diagnosis is generally required in order to receive or provide treatment in the US, it does provide access to medical care for some people who wouldn’t ordinarily be eligible to receive it. 

Gender Expression: A person’s outward gender presentation, usually consisting of personal style, clothing, hairstyle, makeup, jewelry, vocal infection, and body language. Gender expression is typically categorized as masculine or feminine, less commonly as androgynous. All people express a gender. Gender expression can be congruent with a person’s gender identity, but it can also be incongruent if a person does not feel safe or supported or does not have the resources needed to engage in gender expression that authentically reflects their gender identity.

Gender Identity: One's internal sense of being male, female, neither, both, or another gender. Everyone has a gender identity. For transgender and gender non-conforming people, their sex assigned at birth, or natal sex, and their internal sense of gender identity are not the same.

Gender Marker: The marker (male or female) that appears on a person’s identity documents (e.g., birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, travel or work visas, green cards, etc.). The gender marker on a transgender person’s identity documents will be their sex assigned at birth until they undergo a legal and logistical process to change it, where possible. 

Gender Neutral: A term that describes something (sometimes a space, such as a bathroom; or an item, such as a piece of clothing) that is not segregated by sex/gender. Gender Neutral Language: Language that does not assume or confer gender. For example, “person” instead of “man” or “woman.” 

Gender Non-Conforming: A person whose gender expression is perceived as being inconsistent with cultural norms expected for that gender. Specifically, boys/men are not masculine enough or are feminine, while girls/women are not feminine enough or are masculine. Not all transgender people are gender non-conforming, and not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender. Cisgender people may also be gender non-conforming. Gender non-conformity is often inaccurately confused with sexual orientation. 

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.

Genderfluid: A person whose gender identity or expression shifts between masculine and feminine or falls somewhere along this spectrum. 

Gender Identity: A person’s deep-seated, internal sense of who they are as a gendered being—specifically, the gender with which they identify themselves. All people have a gender identity. 

Genderqueer: A person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.

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 as straight. 

Homophobia: An aversion to lesbian or gay people that often manifests itself in the form of prejudice and bias. Homophobia is also a structural form of discrimination manifesting in policies and institutions. Similarly, biphobia is an aversion people who are bisexual, and transphobia is an aversion to people who are transgender. Collectively, these attitudes are referred to as anti-LGBTQ+ bias.

Homosexual: An outdated clinical term often considered derogatory and offensive, as opposed to the generally preferred terms gay, lesbian, or queer.

Hostile Sexism (HS): Covers a wide range of negative feelings and beliefs toward women, such as the belief that women try to sexually seduce men in order to gain advantages over them.

Internalized Sexism: Women’s incorporation of sexist practices, and to the circulation of those practices among women, even in the absence of men. 

Intersectional Feminism: Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American law professor who coined the term in 1989 explained Intersectional feminism as, “a prism for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other.” Intersectional feminism centers the voices of those experiencing overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression in order to understand the depths of the inequalities and the relationships among them in any given context.

Intersex or Disorder of Sex Development (DSD): A category that describes a person with a genetic, genital, reproductive or hormonal configuration that results in a body that often cannot be easily categorized as male or female. Intersex is frequently confused with transgender, but the two are completely distinct and generally unconnected. Participants may be more familiar with the term hermaphrodite, which is considered outdated and offensive.

Lesbian: Used to describe (trans or cis) girls/women who are attracted to (trans or cis) girls/women. Often referred to as ‘homosexual,’ though this term is no longer used by the majority of women with same-gender attractions.

LGBTQ: An acronym commonly used to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning individuals and communities. LGBTQ is often erroneously used as a synonym for “non-heterosexual,” which incorrectly implies that transgender is a sexual orientation. A current acronym is LGBTQIA+ denoted intersexed and asexual individuals.

Medical Transition: A long-term series of medical interventions that utilizes hormonal treatments and/or surgical interventions to change a person’s body to be more congruent with their gender identity. Medical transition is the approved medical treatment for Gender Dysphoria.

Misgender: To refer to someone, especially a transgender or gender-expansive person, using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, which does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify.

Misogyny: The term “misogyny” is derived from the Ancient Greek word “mīsoguníā” which means hatred towards women. Misogyny has taken shape in multiple forms such as male privilege, patriarchy, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification.

Non-Binary: A continuum or spectrum of gender identities and expressions, often based on the rejection of the gender binary’s assumption that gender is strictly an either/or option of male/men/masculine or female/ woman/feminine based on sex assigned at birth. Words that people may use to express their nonbinary gender identity include “agender,” “bigender,” “genderqueer,” “genderfluid,” and “pangender.”

Outing: The deliberate or accidental sharing of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression without their explicit consent. Outing is considered disrespectful and a potentially dangerous act for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Pangender: A person who identifies as all genders.

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 gender pronouns" (or PGPs) are the pronouns that people ask others 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). Some people state their pronoun preferences as a form of allyship.

Pubertal Suppression: A low-risk medical process that “pauses” the hormonal changes that activate puberty in young adolescents. The result is a purposeful delay of the development of secondary sex characteristics (e.g. breast growth, testicular enlargement, facial hair, body fat redistribution, voice changes, etc.). Suppression allows more time to make decisions about hormonal interventions and can prevent the increased dysphoria that often accompanies puberty for transgender youth.

Queer: Historically a derogatory term used against LGBTQ people, it has been embraced and reclaimed by LGBTQ 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.

Questioning: A person who is exploring or questioning their gender identity or expression. Some may later identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, while others may not. Can also refer to someone who is questioning or exploring their sexual orientation.

Same-Gender Loving: A label sometimes used by members of the African-American/Black community to express an alternative sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent. The term emerged in the early 1990’s with the intention of offering Black women who love women and Black men who love men a voice, a way of identifying and being that resonated with the uniqueness of Black culture. (Sometimes abbreviated “SGL.”) 

Sex Assigned at Birth: The determination of a person’s sex based on the visual appearance of the genitals at birth. The sex someone is labeled at birth.

Sexual Orientation: A person’s feelings of attraction (emotional, psychological, physical, and/or sexual) towards other people. A person may be attracted to people of the same sex, to those of the opposite sex, to those of both sexes, or without reference to sex or gender. And some people do not experience primary sexual attraction and may identify as asexual. Sexual orientation is about attraction to other people (external), while gender identity is a deep-seated sense of self (internal). All people have a sexual orientation that is separate from their biological sex, gender identity and gender expression.

Transgender: An adjective used to describe a person whose gender identity is incongruent with (or does not “match”) the biological sex they were assigned at birth. “Transgender” serves an umbrella term to refer to the full range and diversity of identities within transgender communities because it is currently the most widely used and recognized term. (Sometimes the shortened "trans" is used, although it is not always preferred.) 

Transgender men and boys: People who identify as male but were assigned female at birth. Also sometimes referred to as transmen. 

Transgender women and girls: People who identify as female but were assigned male at birth. Also sometimes referred to as trans women. 

Transition: A term sometimes used to refer to the process—social, legal, and/or medical—one goes through to discover and/or affirm one’s gender identity. This may, but does not always, include taking hormones; having surgeries; and changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Many individuals choose not to or are unable to transition for a wide range of reasons both within and beyond their control. The validity of an individual’s gender identity does not depend on any social, legal, and/or medical transition; the self-identification itself is what validates the gender


Transexual/Transsexual: This is an older term that has been used to refer to a transgender person who has had hormonal or surgical interventions to change their bodies to be more aligned with their gender identity than the sex that they were assigned at birth. While still used as an identity label by some, “transgender” has generally become the preferred term.

Two Spirit: A term used by Native and Indigenous Peoples to indicate that they embody both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Is sometimes also used to describe Native Peoples of diverse sexual orientations and has nuanced meanings in various indigenous sub-cultures.

Womanist: A black feminist or feminist of color. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.


American Indian and Alaska Native: Those “having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or 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).

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 experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context.

Black/African Americans: People whose origins are “in any of the Black racial groups of Africa” (Grieco and Cassidy 2001, p. 2). 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.

Chicanos/Chicanas/Chicanx: refers to Americans of Mexican descent. Deriving from the Spanish word mejicano (‘Mexican’), the word became current in the early 1960s, used by politically active groups. It is still in frequent use but has become less politicized (Fowler’s Concise Dictionary, 2016). Chicanx can be used in place of the masculine form Chicano, the feminine form Chicana, or the gender-binary form Chican@.

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).

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.

Latinos/Latinx: Those who identify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino Census categories—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.)

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 two or more different races.

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.

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.

Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time. There are no distinctive genetic characteristics that truly distinguish between groups of people. Race presumes human worth and social status for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power. Race is independent of ethnicity (Department of Epidemiology, 2019).

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 as 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 America Census definition).

Anti-racist: A person who identifies and challenges the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism (Department of Epidemiology, 2019). 

Anti-Blackness/Anti-Black Racism: The Council for Democratizing Education defines antiBlackness as being a two-part formation that both voids Blackness of value, while systematically marginalizing Black people and their issues. The first form of anti-Blackness is overt racism. Beneath this anti-Black racism is the covert structural and systemic racism which categorically predetermines the socioeconomic status of Blacks in this country. The structure is held in place by anti-Black policies, institutions, and ideologies. The second form of anti-Blackness is the unethical disregard for

anti-Black institutions and policies. This disregard is the product of class, race, and/or gender privilege certain individuals experience due to anti-Black institutions and policies. This form of antiBlackness is protected by the first form of overt racism.

Blackface/Minstrelsy: Minstrelsy, is a type of comedic performance of “Blackness” by whites in exaggerated costumes and make-up. The first minstrel shows were performed in 1830s New York by white performers with Blackened faces. Blackface performances grew particularly popular between the end of the Civil War and the turn-of-the century in Northern and Midwestern cities. Blackface and the codifying of Blackness— language, movement, deportment, and character—as caricature persists through mass media and in public performances today. In addition to the increased popularity of “Black” Halloween costumes, colleges and universities across the country continue to battle against student and professor Blackface performances.

Colorblindness: The racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. The term “colorblind” de‐emphasizes, or ignores, race and ethnicity, a large part of one’s identity and lived experience. In doing so, it perpetuates existing racial inequities and denies systematic racism (Apfelbaum et al., 2012).

Covert Racism: Expresses racist ideas, attitudes or beliefs in subtle, hidden or secret forms. Often unchallenged, this type of racism doesn't appear to be racist because it is indirect behavior (Department of Epidemiology, 2019). 

Cultural Appropriation: Originally coined to describe the effects of colonialism, cultural appropriation generally entails adopting aspects of a minority culture by someone outside the culture, without sufficient understanding of its context or respect for the meaning and value of the original. Cultural appropriation done in a way that promotes disrespectful cultural or racial stereotypes is considered particularly harmful. 

Horizontal Prejudice: The result of people of targeted racial groups believing, acting on, or enforcing the dominant (White) system of racial discrimination and oppression. Horizontal racism can occur between members of the same racial group or between members of different targeted racial groups.

Institutional Racism: Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color (Department of Epidemiology, 2019).

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.

Model Minority Myth: This term is often used to refer to a minority group that is perceived as particularly successful (economically, academically, or culturally), especially in a manner that contrasts with other marginalized groups. The designation is often applied to Asian Americans and many argue it intends to drive a wedge among marginalized groups, particularly among people of color in the US.

Non-Racist: A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called “blaming the victim”). Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing a racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent.

Racelighting:  Most commonly seen when Black and other People of Color question being mistreated. The perpetrators’ passionate delivery of innocence and claims of the victim’s misinterpretation can be incredibly convincing. This process, whereby People of Color question their own thoughts and actions due to systemically delivered racialized messages, make them second guess their own lived experiences with racism.

Racial Justice: The proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.

Racism: The combination of individual prejudice and individual discrimination, on one hand, and institutional policies and practices, on the other, that result in the unjustified negative treatment and subordination of members of racial or ethnic groups that have experienced a history of discrimination. Prejudice, discrimination, and racism do not require intention.

Reverse Racism: A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give ‘preferential treatment’ to people of color over whites. In the U.S. there is no such thing as “reverse racism.”

Structural/Systemic Racism: Structural Racism or systemic racism in the U.S. is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy – the preferential treatment, privilege and power for white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian,

Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and other racially oppressed people.

White Fragility: Coined by Robin DiAngelo, this term is used to describe the privilege that accrues to white people living in a society that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. DiAngelo argues that this builds an expectation of always feeling comfortable and safe, which in turn lowers the ability to tolerate racial stress and triggers a range of defensive reactions.

White Privilege: A privilege is a right, favor, advantage, immunity, specifically granted to one individual or group, and withheld from another. White privilege is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of: (1) Preferential prejudice for and treatment of white people based solely on their skin color and/or ancestral origin from Europe; and (2) Exemption from racial and/or national oppression based on skin color and/or ancestral origin from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Arab world. U.S. institutions and culture (economic, legal, military, political, educational, entertainment, familial and religious) privilege peoples from Europe over peoples from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Arab world. In a white supremacy system, white privilege and racial oppression are two sides of the same coin.

White Supremacy: A historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege (Department of Epidemiology, 2019).

Xenophobia: Derived 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.

Affirming Congregation: Congregations, usually Christian churches, which welcome LGBTQ people.

Agnostic: A person who holds the belief that a greater entity, or existence of deities, is unknown or unknowable.

Anti‐Semitism: A certain perception of Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Interfaith: Involving people of different faiths.

Islamophobia: A contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.

Religion: A system of beliefs, usually spiritual in nature, and often in terms of a formal, organized denomination.

Religious Accommodation: Any adjustment to the work environment that will allow an employee or applicant to practice his or her religion. The need for religious accommodation may arise where an individual's religious beliefs, observances or practices conflict with a specific task or requirement of the position or an application process. Accommodation requests often relate to work schedules, dress and grooming, or religious expression in the workplace.  

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.

First Generation Student: One whose parents or guardians have not completed a course of study at an accredited four-year undergraduate institution, or an equivalent and recognized qualification abroad.

Low-income Student: Those whose family incomes fall below 50 percent of the federally established poverty guideline for their family size.

Socio-economic status (SES): The social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured 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.

Affinity groups: people gathering together over a commonality. We all benefit from interactions with people who share common identities or experiences. When you are in the numerical minority of a community, these bonding interactions may only occur during an affinity group.

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 Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program established by former President Obama in June 2012. Under DACA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deferred taking action to remove qualifying undocumented immigrants and also granted renewable work authorization. DACA allows undocumented individuals who entered the United States as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of “deferred action” or protection from deportation. 

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.

Hate Speech: Any kind of communication in speech, writing or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or other identity factor. 

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 from 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 a sexual violence worldwide.

Safe Space/Brave Space: A safe space can allow marginalized individuals opportunities to retreat from the very real threats and demands they face by their very existence and it can also serve as a space to allow students to process new and uncomfortable ideas productively. The term brave space was first popularized by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens (2013). According to the authors, a brave space within a classroom environment contains five main elements:

  1. “Controversy with civility,” where varying opinions are accepted
  2. “Owning intentions and impacts,” in which students acknowledge and discuss instances where a dialogue has affected the emotional well-being of another person
  3. “Challenge by choice,” where students have an option to step in and out of challenging 
  4. conversations
  5. “Respect,” where students show respect for one another’s basic personhood
  6. “No attacks,” where students agree not to intentionally inflict harm on one another

Victim Blaming: The devaluing act of blaming victims for their hardships rather than the perpetrator. Blaming the victim has been demonstrated in cases of rape, robbery, domestic abuse, and bullying (Skaine, 2015). Consequences of victim blaming include making it more difficult for the victim to come forward and report the abuse and allowing the abuser to perpetrate a relational abuse or commit sexual assault while avoiding accountability for her or his actions.

Social Justice: Social justice is both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.

Trigger: A trigger is something that an individual says or does or an organizational policy or practice that makes us, as members of social groups feel diminished, offended, threatened, stereotyped, discounted, or attacked. Triggers do not necessarily threaten our physical safety. We often feel psychologically threatened. We can also be triggered on behalf of another social group. Though we do not feel personally threatened, our sense of social justice feels violated.

Ally: a person who is a member of the dominant group who works to end oppression in his or her own personal and professional life by supporting and advocating with the oppressed population.

Cultural Fluency: the ability to effectively interact with people from different cultures, racial, and ethnic groups. It includes an awareness of how to properly respond to differences in communication and conflict as well as the appropriate application of respect, empathy, flexibility, patience, interests, curiosity, openness, the willingness to suspend judgement, tolerance for ambiguity, and sense of humor (from the California Community Colleges DEI Glossary of Terms).

Deficit-Minded Language: Language that blames students for their inequitable outcomes instead of examining the systemic factors that contribute to their challenges. It labels students as inadequate by focusing on qualities or knowledge they lack, such as the cognitive abilities and motivation needed to succeed in college, or shortcomings socially linked to the student, such as cultural deprivation, inadequate socialization, or family inadequacies in students. Examples of this type of language include at-risk or high-need, underprepared or disadvantaged, non-traditional or untraditional, underprivileged, learning styles, and achievement gap (from the California Community Colleges DEI Glossary of Terms).

Educational Equity Gap: The condition where there is a significant and persistent disparity in educational attainment between different groups of students. (from the California Community Colleges DEI Glossary of Terms).

Emotion Regulation: is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed.

Emotional Tax: Noun: The combination of being on guard to protect against bias, feeling different at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity, and the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work.

Empathic Accuracy: refers to how accurately one person can infer the thoughts and feelings of another person. It was first introduced in conjunction with the term empathic inference, which was presented by psychologists William Ickes and William Tooke in 1988.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach. ERG’s are also referred to as Employee Constituency Groups.

Gaslighting: First popularized in the 1944 movie Gas Light, it means a deliberate attempt to undermine a victim’s sense of reality or sanity. In a work context, it usually means behaviors that undermine the success, self-confidence, self-esteem or wellbeing of the target. For people in

underrepresented or less powerful groups, it is more likely to occur, with more severe and harmful cumulative effects. Tactics can include withholding (critical information, meeting invitations, silent treatment), isolation (exclusion, causing conflict with coworkers), and discrediting (consistently shooting down the target’s ideas, ignoring or taking credit for them).

Justice: An outcome of an effective system of diversity, inclusion and equity that has dismantled the barriers to opportunities and systemic disadvantages and replaced them with systems that ensure everyone has access to academic, economic, social, and human opportunities as well as resources so that there is true and realistic equal opportunity and affirmative action to thrive. 

Health at Every Size: Known by the acronym HAES, a social and health promotion movement that challenges social stigma based on weight, size and shape. The movement emphasizes body positivity, health outcomes, and eating and movement for wellbeing rather than weight control.

Historically Black College or University (HBCU): Historically Black colleges and universities–– commonly called “HBCUs” ––are defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as, “…any historically Black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans.”

‐Ism: A social phenomenon and psychological state where prejudice is accompanied by the power to systemically enact it.

Imposter Syndrome: The Imposter Syndrome, sometimes 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.

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs): Minority Serving Institutions emerged in response to a history of inequity, lack of minority people’s access to majority institutions, and significant demographic changes in the country. Now an integral part of American higher education, MSIs—specifically Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) — have carved out a unique niche in the nation: serving the needs of low-income and underrepresented students of color.

Rape Culture: Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

Perspective Taking: a skill that is rooted in a cognitive skill called, “Theory of Mind.” A formal definition of Theory of Mind is, “an understanding of other people's mental states” (their thoughts, feelings, desires, motivations, intentions).

Social Construction: The notion that patterns of human interaction (often deemed to be normal, natural or universal) are, in fact, humanely produced and constructed by social expectation and coercion but is presented as “objective.” For example, the erroneous assumption of women being better at housework is not at all connected to their female anatomy, but to social expectations and pressures imposed on women. 

Transformation: A dramatic change in a person, organization, and/or culture that leads to a substantial increase in the knowledge of and application of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement principles. This increase in the knowledge and application of DEIE principles lead to continued changes in a person, organization, and/or culture, essentially having a circular effect.

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