This is not a complete list of diversity, equity, and inclusion terms. There are many great resources on campus including the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) which has a variety of great resources for the Suffolk University community.
Agency: Taking back or exerting power in a subordinated identity.
Ally: A person who supports marginalized, silenced, or less privileged groups without actually being a member of those groups. This person will often directly or indirectly confront systems of oppression.
At-Risk Students or groups of students who are considered to have a higher probability of struggling academically or dropping out of school due to coming from social conditions that haven’t prepared them adequately or serve as hurdles in their way to success. Some challenges that at-risk students may face include poverty, homelessness, serious health issues, domestic violence, transiency or learning disabilities.
Biracial: (adjective) of, relating to, or involving members of two races.
Bias Incident: An intentional or unintentional act targeted at a person, group, or property expressing hostility on the basis of perceived or actual gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. Bias incidents may consist of name-calling, epithets, slurs, degrading language, graffiti, intimidation, coercion, or harassment directed toward the targeted person or group. Acts qualify as bias acts even when delivered with humorous intent or presented as a joke or a prank.
Cisgender: A term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Often abbreviated to cis.
Corporate Social Responsibility: (noun) Practicing good corporate citizenship by going beyond profit maximization to make a positive impact on communities and societies.
Culture: A social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication.
SOURCE: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder's Tool Kit.
Discrimination: The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories.
[In the United States] the law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants' and employees' sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
SOURCE: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder's Tool Kit. And U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Laws Enforced by EEOC” Accessed June 28 2013
Diversity: Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term "diversity" is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
It is important to note that many activists and thinkers critique diversity alone as a strategy. For instance, Baltimore Racial Justice Action states: “Diversity is silent on the subject of equity. In an anti-oppression context, therefore, the issue is not diversity, but rather equity. Often when people talk about diversity, they are thinking only of the “non-dominant” groups.”
SOURCE: UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Glossary of Terms and Baltimore Racial Justice Action
Emotional Tax: 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.
Equality: Treating everyone the same way, often while assuming that everyone also starts out on equal footing or with the same opportunities.
Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. 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.
SOURCE: Awake to Woke to Work
Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics.
SOURCE: State of the Science Implicit Bias Review 2013, Cheryl Staats, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University
Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.
The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/thoughts of all people.
SOURCE: OpenSource Leadership Strategies and Awake To Woke To Work
Inclusive Excellence: The recognition that a community or institution’s success is dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni constituents.
Intersectional/ity: Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. For example, a Black woman in America does not experience gender inequalities in exactly the same way as a white woman, nor racial oppression identical to that experienced by a Black man. Each race and gender intersection produces a qualitatively distinct life.
Per Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, "Intersectionality is simply a prism to see the interactive effects of various forms of discrimination and disempowerment. It looks at the way that racism, many times, interacts with patriarchy, heterosexism, classism, xenophobia — seeing that the overlapping vulnerabilities created by these systems actually create specific kinds of challenges. “Intersectionality 102,” then, is to say that these distinct problems create challenges for movements that are only organized around these problems as separate and individual. So when racial justice doesn’t have a critique of patriarchy and homophobia, the particular way that racism is experienced and exacerbated by heterosexism, classism etc., falls outside of our political organizing. It means that significant numbers of people in our communities aren’t being served by social justice frames because they don’t address the particular ways that they’re experiencing discrimination."
SOURCE: Intergroup Resources, 2012 and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
Institutional oppression: Policies and practices of institutions that marginalize or subordinate.
Marginalized groups: Sub-communities socially excluded from participating in the routine and mainstream activities of a society. They often are confined to the lower or peripheral edge of a society thereby lacking access to employment, affordable formal education, healthcare and social power, which often results in income discrepancies.
Microaggression: The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.
SOURCE: Derald Wing Sue, “Microaggressions: More than Just Race” Psychology Today, November 17, 2010
Minority groups: Categories of people who are differentiated from a social majority due to having less social power. They can sometimes be underrepresented in particular majors, careers or societies but can also be in majority numerically and yet lack social power or the ability to influence. Historically, minority is often associated with people of color (e.g. Asians, Latinos, and Blacks) but it actually can be applied to other identities like gender, sexuality and religion.
Monoracial: Of a single race (ethnicity).
Multiracial: composed of, involving, or representing various races.
Movement Building: Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can…
- Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems;
- Enable people to exercise their collective power;
- Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected;
- Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign; and
- Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice and democracy
SOURCE: Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism. Akonadi Foundation, 2010. (Definition from the Movement Strategy Center.)
Multicultural Competency: A process of learning about and becoming allies with people from other cultures, thereby broadening our own understanding and ability to participate in a multicultural process. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world and an openness to learn from them.
SOURCE: Multicultural Competence, Paul Kivel, 2007.
Neurodiversity: The concept that there is great diversity in how people’s brains are wired and work, and that neurological differences should be valued in the same way we value any other human variation.
Non-Binary (also known as Genderqueer): A category for a fluid constellation of gender identities beyond the woman/man gender binary.
Oppression: The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:
- the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,
- the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),
- genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and,
- members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.
- Oppression = Power + Prejudice
SOURCE: Dismantling Racism Works web workbook
People/Students of Color: Refer to a large group of racially and ethnically diverse people/ students from various origins. Students who self-identify or are identified as Black/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska, Native/Indigenous, Chicano/Latina/o/x, Arab/Arab American or multiracial may be represented by this term. People of color is a term used mainly in the United States and Canada to represent persons whose ethnic/racial and cultural groups have been targets of racism and/or are excluded from privileges associated with whiteness.
Power: is unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualized as power over other individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change. Power may also be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one’s beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware.
SOURCE: Intergroup Resources, 2012 and Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center
Privilege: Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it.
SOURCE: Colors of Resistance Archive
Racial Equity: is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.
SOURCE: Center for Assessment and Policy Development
Social Justice: A concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of power, wealth, education, healthcare, and other opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.
SOURCE: Awake to Woke to Work
Socially constructed identity: Created for the purposes of categorizing people; based on beliefs about groups of people, not biology. Including, but not limited to, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and religion.
Subordinated or Target group: Membership in a group that experiences oppression or marginalization in a mainstream society.
Structural oppression: Cumulative and compounding effects of societal factors.
Unconscious Bias: (noun) 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.
Work-Life Effectiveness: (noun) A talent management strategy that focuses on doing the best work at the best time with the best talent. It helps businesses create flexibility, enhance agility, and drive mutually beneficial solutions for both employers and employees.
Workplace Inclusion: An atmosphere where all employees belong, contribute, and can thrive. Requires deliberate and intentional action.