Anti-Racism Glossary


1.     Diversity - difference, the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, usually refers to the numbers of different kinds of people in a group. The word “diversity” is sometimes mistakenly used as a proxy for people of color.


2.     Equity - fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.


3.     Inclusion - the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. It’s important to note that while an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn’t always inclusive. Increasingly, recognition of unconscious or ‘implicit bias’ helps organizations to be deliberate about addressing issues of inclusivity.


4.     Prejudice - a pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one individual or group toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.


5.     Discrimination - the unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, and other categories.


6.     Racism - race prejudice multiplied by social and institutional power; a white supremacy system. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices. 


7.     Whiteness - a set of characteristics and experiences that are attached to the white race and white skin. Whiteness shapes how white people view themselves and others, and places white people in a place of structural advantage where white cultural norms and practices go unnamed and unquestioned.  Cultural racism is founded in the belief that whiteness is considered to be the universal perspective and allows one to think and speak as if whiteness describes and defines the world.


8.     White Supremacy Culture - White Supremacy Culture refers to the dominant,          unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of institutions in the United States. These standards may be seen as mainstream, dominant cultural practices; they have evolved from the United States’ history of white supremacy. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold. In many ways, it is indistinguishable from what we might call U.S. culture or norms – a focus on individuals over groups, for example, or an emphasis on the written word as a form of professional communication. But it operates in even more subtle ways, by actually defining what “normal” is – and likewise, what “professional,” “effective,” or even “good” is. In turn, white culture also defines what is not good, “at risk,” or “unsustainable.” White culture values some ways – ways that are more familiar and come more naturally to those from a white, western tradition – of thinking, behaving, deciding, and knowing while devaluing or rendering invisible other ways. And it does this without ever having to explicitly say so.


9.     Anti-Racism - an active commitment to challenging racism within oneself, others, and            institutions. Acting in opposition to racist behaviors and impacts.


10.  Implicit Bias - also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative or       positive 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 override 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.


11.  Microaggression - a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or   unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).


12.  Affinity groups - a network of people who share a common purpose or interest. Affinity             groups organized around cultural identifiers (race, gender, religion, etc.) help create inclusion communities by allowing space for people sharing identifiers to feel specifically supported and best able to be productive members of the larger community.


13.  Intent vs impact - argues that intent is irrelevant when the impact of actions furthers inequity or marginalization.