There can be a wide variety of definitions of DEI terminology which can make conversing difficult. To facilitate our organization’s work on DEI, we have identified a list of terms and definitions that we will use. Operating from shared definitions will provide a shared basis for conversations. As stated above there may be other definitions that you are more familiar with yet for work purposes we will stick to these definitions.
- Person or organization who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity to end all forms of oppression. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit from in concrete ways.
- Allies commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in oppression of those groups and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression. (Racial Equity Tools Glossary. 2019, October. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from dochub.com)
Ally work is daily work. As an ally you commit to having the hard conversations and holding others in the dominant group accountable, you show up and support the community in the way that they need to be supported, you engage in your own learning and research about the community and the historical oppressions it has suffered. You don’t get to declare yourself an ally to to a community, that is an honor bestowed you by members of the community because they see your work and commitment and it is an honor that you work to earn and keep daily.
Here are some actions allies might do:
- Listen thoughtfully to people from marginalized communities.
- Hold space without feeling a need to impose your own experience into their words or understanding of their words.
- Listen. Learn. If someone chooses to share their personal experience with you, listen with gratitude.
- Try hard to not take critical feedback personally.
- Find and explore resources about social justice, history of racism and other forms of oppression in this country. Share information with other people that you know or are in your sphere of influence.
- Speak up when you hear racist or discriminatory comments
- Show solidarity by participating in awareness campaigns.
- Be aware of performance allyship where you make the situation or issue about yourself.
(Ally Versus Accomplice. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from http://nccasa.org/announcements/ally-versus-accomplice/)
Indivisible is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive movement that strives to treat group leaders and community partners in an equitable manner. We partner with organizations that serve and represent marginalized groups. We are committed to following the lead of these organizations in responding to attacks against their communities and we stand in solidarity with them in fighting for political and social justice.
Person or organization whose focus is on dismantling the structures that oppress an individual or group—and such work will be directed by the stakeholders in the marginalized group. (Ally or Accomplice? The Language of Activism. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/ally-or-accomplice-the-language-of-activism https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/ally-or-accomplice-the-language-of-activism)
The active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably. (Anti-Racism Defined. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from http://www.aclrc.com/antiracism-defined)
Actions that seek to provide equitable approaches and practices to mitigate the effects of oppression. (Limbong, A. 2020, June 09. Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/06/08/872371063/microaggressions-are-a-big-deal-how-to-talk-them-out-and-when-to-walk-away)
An organization that actively recognizes and mitigates the oppressive effects of white dominant culture and power dynamics, striving to equalize that power imbalance internally and for the communities with which they work. (Awake, Woke, Work. 2019. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Awake-to-Woke-to-Work-Glossary-of-Terms-.pdf)
The feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place. (Steven HuangOn July 3, 2. 2020, July 03. Why Does Belonging Matter at Work? Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://blog.shrm.org/blog/why-does-belonging-matter-at-work)
This abbreviation stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. This term seeks to home in on specific racial and ethnic groups rather than encompass all non white people under one umbrella definition (i.e. POC). Social justice activists came up with the term to single out the disparities, systematic racism and other racial injustices Black and Indigenous people face specifically. (What does BIPOC mean? how to use the term - 2023. MasterClass. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-does-bipoc-mean)
Is one construct for understanding and developing a process-oriented approach to competency. Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington and Utsey (2013) conceptualize cultural humility as the “ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the [person].” (Waters, A., & Asbill, L. 2013, August. Reflections on Cultural Humility. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2013/08/cultural-humility)
Consciously or unconsciously treating someone else unfairly or holding them to different standards on the basis of conscious or unconscious prejudiced beliefs, and not on the basis of individual merit. Can manifest in the following ways:
- Overt discrimination: granting or denying rights or access to groups and/or individuals.
- Unequal treatment: treating someone poorly in comparison to others because of certain characteristics.
- Systemic discrimination: institutional policies and practices that result in the exclusion or promotion of certain groups.
(Limbong, A. 2020, June 09. Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/06/08/872371063/microaggressions-are-a-big-deal-how-to-talk-them-out-and-when-to-walk-away)
Includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition of diversity that also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. Our definition also includes diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values. We also recognize that individuals affiliate with multiple identities. (Kapila, M. 2016, October 06. Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://independentsector.org/resource/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter/ )
The 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. (Kapila, M. 2016, October 06. Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://independentsector.org/resource/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter/ )
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. (Racial Equity Tools Glossary. 2019, October. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from dochub.com)
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. (Kapila, M. 2016, October 06. Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://independentsector.org/resource/why-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-matter/)
“...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.” (Crenshawm, Kimberlé - Guobadia, O., Brammer, J., Cuby, M., & Talusan, M. 2018, August 31. Kimberlé Crenshaw and Lady Phyll Talk Intersectionality, Solidarity, and Self-Care. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.them.us/story/kimberle-crenshaw-lady-phyll-intersectionality)
Microaggressions/Subtle Acts of Exclusions
The everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups.
The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microaggressions might not even be aware of them. (Limbong, A. 2020, June 09. Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/06/08/872371063/microaggressions-are-a-big-deal-how-to-talk-them-out-and-when-to-walk-away)
Prejudice + Power.
- Oppression is more than the prejudicial thoughts and actions of individuals, oppression is institutionalized power that is historically formed and perpetuated over time;
- Through the use of that institutionalized power, it allows certain groups of people or certain identities to assume a dominant (privileged) position over other groups and identities and this dominance is maintained and continued at institutional and cultural levels;
Systems of oppression run through our language, shape the way we act and do things in our culture, and are built around what are understood to be “norms” in our societies. A norm signifies what is “normal,” acceptable, and desirable and is something that is valued and supported in a society. It is also given a position of dominance, privilege, and power over what is defined as non-dominant, abnormal, and therefore, invaluable or marginal. (Anti-Oppression: Anti-Oppression. 2020, July 5. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://simmons.libguides.com/anti-oppression)
Forms of oppression include: racism, sexism, classism, ableism, heterosexism. Nationalism, anti-semitism, genderism, adultism, ageism, religious prejudice, xenophobia, lookism.
A preconceived opinion of another person that is unreasonable and not based in actual experience. It can be directed at people who experience oppression as well as at people who hold relative amounts of privilege. (Anti-Oppression Terms List. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.ncjw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Anti-Oppression-Terms-List-FINAL.pdf)
Unearned benefits/entitlements or lack of barriers assigned to an identity that society considers a "norm" and therefore dominant. Privilege and oppression are well-maintained social systems that are reinforced by binarized, normative hierarchies that categorize certain identities as superior (privileged) and their supposed opposites as inferior (oppressed) (e.g. male and female; straight and queer; cisgender and transgender, etc.). There are various forms of privilege, some of them tangible and others less so. One form of privilege, for instance, is the representation of one's identity in mainstream media and books—something intangible but nevertheless valuable in our culture. (Anti-Oppression: Anti-Oppression. 2020, July 5. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://simmons.libguides.com/anti-oppression)
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. (Racial Equity Tools Glossary. 2019, October. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from dochub.com)
- The systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice—or racial equity—goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures.
- Racial Justice [is defined] as the proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all. (Racial Equity Tools Glossary. 2019, October. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from dochub.com)
A vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. It involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others, their society, and the world. (Allyship and Anti-Oppression: A Resource Guide: Home. 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://guides.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/c.php?g=285382)
Assumptions about a person based on untrue and harmful tropes. These can sometimes seem positive or complimentary, but are harmful because they are generalizations about a person or entire group of people not based on actual experience. (Anti-Oppression Terms List. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.ncjw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Anti-Oppression-Terms-List-FINAL.pdf)
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial equality within a workforce or organization. The effort of including a token employee to a workforce or organization is usually intended to create the impression of social inclusiveness and diversity.10
White Dominant Culture: Culture defined by white men and white women with social and positional power, enacted both broadly in society and within the context of social entities such as organizations. (Awake, Woke, Work. 2019. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Awake-to-Woke-to-Work-Glossary-of-Terms-.pdf)
A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as tears, argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to...White Fragility. (Anti-Oppression: Anti-Oppression. 2020, July 5. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://simmons.libguides.com/anti-oppression)
The existence of racial power that denotes a system of structural or societal racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or the absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level, and both people of color and white people can perpetuate white dominant culture, resulting in the overall disenfranchisement of people of color in many aspects of society. (Awake, Woke, Work. 2019. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Awake-to-Woke-to-Work-Glossary-of-Terms-.pdf)
White Supremacy Culture
Characteristics of white supremacy that manifest in organizational culture, and are used as norms and standards without being proactively named or chosen by the full group. The characteristics are damaging to both people of color and white people in that they elevate the values, preferences, and experiences of one racial group above all others. Organizations that are led by people of color or have a majority of people of color can also demonstrate characteristics of white supremacy culture. (Awake, Woke, Work. 2019. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Awake-to-Woke-to-Work-Glossary-of-Terms-.pdf)