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Center for Fairness, Justice, and Equity in the College of Education

Fairness, Justice, & Equity Glossary

able-bodied privilige: unearned and invisible advantages held by people who are able-bodied over people who are disabled.

ableism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in physical, mental, and/or emotional ability.

accessibility: Refers to the intentional design or redesign of technology, policies, products, and services (to name a few) that increase one’s ability to use, access, and obtain the respective item. Each person, regardless of ability status, is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. Although this might not result in identical ease of use, any person with a disability must be able to obtain information, to which they are otherwise permitted to access, in a timely manner as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.

accommodation: The process of adapting or adjusting to someone or something. Accommodations can be religious, physical, or mental. A reasonable accommodation specifically is an alteration in process or environment that allows a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equitable access within employment, public entities, or education.

accomplice: The actions of an accomplice are meant to directly challenge institutionalized racism, colonization, and white supremacy by blocking or impeding racist people, policies, and structures.

accountability: In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible. To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it is really about what happens after its done wrong (Berman et al., 2010).

acculturation: The general phenomenon of persons learning the nuances of or being initiated into a culture. It may also carry a negative connotation when referring to the attempt by dominant cultural groups to acculturate members of other cultural groups into the dominant culture in an assimilation fashion.

active listening: A process of hearing and understanding what someone is saying by empathizing with the speaker(s) and considering their perspective(s).

adverse impact: A substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, transfer, training, or other employment-related decisions for any race, sex, gender, or ethnic group in comparison with other groups.

advocate: A person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group; to actively support or plea in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance or educate others.

AFAB/AMAB: Assigned Female At Birth / Assigned Male At Birth.

affirmative action: A set of policies and practices designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination among applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future.

ageism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions, such as referring to someone’s age in a context in which age is not relevant, based on differences in age; usually those of younger persons against older persons.

agency: The ability to act independently and make free choices; the ability to make conscious decisions for oneself.

agender: A person with no (or very little) connection to the traditional  gender binary, no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender.

ally: Someone who possesses power and privilege (based on ethnicity, class, gender, sexual identity, etc.) and stands in solidarity with, and is supportive of, marginalized groups and communities.

allyship: An active verb; leveraging personal positions of power and privilege to fight oppression by respecting, working with, and empowering marginalized voices and communities; using one’s own voice to project others’, less represented, voices.

American: A native or inhabitant of any of the countries of North, South, or Central America. Widely used to denote a native or citizen of the United States.

androgyne / androgynous / androgyny: Someone who reflects an appearance that is both masculine and feminine, neither, or both.

anti-blackness: The Council for Democratizing Education defines anti-Blackness 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.

anti-racist: An anti-racist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression or ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity. “To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right — inferior or superior — with any of the racial groups. Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races do.” (Kendi, 2019)

antiSemitism: The fear or hatred of Jews, Judaism, and related symbols.

aromantic: Experiencing little or no romantic attraction to other people. Aromanticism exists on a continuum.

asexual: Refers to a person who experiences little to no sexual attraction or has little interest in sexual activity. Asexuality exists on a continuum.

assigned sex: The sex that is assigned to an infant at birth based on the child’s visible sex organs, including genitalia and other physical characteristics.

assimilation: The gradual process by which a person or group belonging to one culture adopts the practices of another, thereby, becoming a member of that culture. Assimilation can be voluntary or forced.

at-risk: Describes 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 have not 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.

autism: Also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by strengths in pattern recognition, concentration, and logical thinking ability as well as challenges with social skills, speech, and nonverbal communication.

bias: An inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment. Biases can be negative or positive (affinity bias) and can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief.

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.

bicultural: A person who functions effectively and appropriately and can select appropriate behaviors, values, and attitudes within either of two cultures; a person who identifies with two cultures.

bigotry: An unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices about other groups of people.

BIPOC: A person or group who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color.

biphobia: The fear or hatred of persons perceived to be bisexual.

biracial: A person who identifies coming from two races. A person whose biological parents are of two different races.

bigender/dual gender: A person who possesses and expresses two distinct genders. Is comfortable in and enjoys presenting in two gender roles either simultaneously or alternately.

bisexual: A person who experiences attraction to two or more genders.

blind: A term most frequently used to describe a severe vision loss. Either blind or low vision are acceptable terms to describe all degrees of vision loss.

Brave Space: Honors and invites full engagement from people who are vulnerable while also setting the expectation that there could be an oppressive moment that the facilitator and allies have a responsibility to address.

capitalism: An economic and political order that relies on a mostly-private, unequal market system of production and consumption.

categorization:The natural cognitive process of grouping and labeling people, things, etc. based on their similarities. Categorization becomes problematic when the groupings become oversimplified and rigid (e.g., stereotypes).

cisgender / cis: A term for people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth.  The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”

cisnormativity: The belief that being cisgender is normal. This belief feeds into a system of oppression that privileges cisgender individuals and denies equality to transgender people.

cissexism:The assumption that all people are cisgender. Because this assumption is so deeply ingrained in our society through socialization, many people say and do things that are cissexist without realizing it or intending to.

civil rights: The rights established and ensured by a state.

class: 1. Relative social rank in terms of income, wealth, status, and/or power. 2. Category or division based on economic status; members of a class are theoretically assumed to possess similar cultural, political, and economic characteristics and principles.

classism: Any attitude or institutional practice which subordinates people of a certain socioeconomic class due to income, occupation, education, and/or their economic status; a system that works to keep certain communities within a set socioeconomic class and prevents social and economic mobility.

climate: Refers to the way that an organization is perceived and experienced by its individual members. Climate influences whether individuals feel valued, listened to, personally safe and treated with fairness and dignity within an organization.

closeted / in the closet: A term used to describe gender and sexual minorities who do not want or cannot reveal their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

coalition: An alliance or union of different people, communities, or groups working for a common cause.

code-switching: The conscious or unconscious act of altering one’s communication style and/or appearance depending on the specific situation of who one is speaking to, what is being discussed, and the relationship and power and/or community dynamics between those involved. Often members of target groups code-switch to minimize the impact of bias from the dominant group.

codification: The capture and expression of a complex concept in a simple symbol, sign, or prop; for example, symbolizing “community” (equity, connection, unity) with a circle.

collusion: When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression.

colonialism: The exploitative historical, political, social, and economic system established when one group or force takes control over a colonized territory or group; the unequal relationship between colonizer and the colonized.

colonization: The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area. The action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use.

color-blind: A term referring to the disregard of racial characteristics; the belief in treating everyone “equally” by treating everyone the same; based in the presumption that differences are by definition bad or problematic, and therefore best ignored (i.e., “I don’t see race.”).

Proponents of color-blind practices believe that treating people equally inherently leads to a more equal society and/or that racism and race privilege no longer exercise the power they once did, while opponents of color-blind practices believe that color-blindness allows those in power to disregard or ignore the history of oppression and how it is experienced today.

colorism: A form of prejudice or discrimination in which preference is given to people of color with lighter skin tones.

coming out: The process by which LGBTQI individuals recognize, accept, typically appreciate, and often celebrate their sexual orientation, sexuality, or gender identity/expression. Coming out varies across culture and community.

conscious bias (explicit bias): Refers to the attitudes and beliefs we have about a person or group on a conscious level. Much of the time, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat. When people feel threatened, they are more likely to draw group boundaries to distinguish themselves from others.

counter-narrative: Refers to the narratives that arise from the vantage point of those who have been historically marginalized. The idea of “counter-” itself implies a space of resistance against traditional domination. A counter-narrative goes beyond the notion that those in relative positions of power can just tell the stories of those in the margins. Instead, these must come from the margins, from the perspectives and voices of those individuals. A counter-narrative thus goes beyond the telling of stories that take place in the margins. The effect of a counter-narrative is to empower and give agency to those communities. By choosing their own words and telling their own stories, members of marginalized communities provide alternative points of view, helping to create complex narratives truly presenting their realities. (Mora 2014).

Critical Race Theory: A framework or set of basic perspectives, methods, and pedagogy that seeks to identify, analyze, and transform those structural and cultural aspects of society that maintain the subordination and marginalization of People of Color. There are at least five themes that form the basic perspectives, research methods, and pedagogy of critical race theory in education:

The centrality and intersectionality of race and racism. The challenge to dominant ideology. The commitment to social justice. The centrality of experiential knowledge. The interdisciplinary perspective.

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.

cultural appropriation: The adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture by another. It is generally applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to appropriating culture. This “appropriation” often occurs without any real understanding of why the original culture took part in these activities, often converting culturally significant artifacts, practices, and beliefs into “meaningless” pop-culture or giving them a significance that is completely different/less nuanced than they would originally have had.

cultural competence: The ability to use critical-thinking skills to interpret how values and belief influence conscious and unconscious behavior; the understanding of how inequity can be and has been perpetuated through socialized behaviors and the knowledge and determined disposition to disrupt inequitable practices to achieve greater personal and professional success; the ability to effectively and empathetically work and engage with people of different cultural identities and backgrounds in order to provide safe and accountable spaces for dialogue and discourse; cultural competence is relevant in all fields of work, education, and informal social interactions.

cultural encapsulation: A lack of contact with cultures outside of our own, which may promote insensitivity to cultural differences. Being encapsulated is akin to living in a cultural bubble. This bubble alters our view, making it difficult to transcend our cultural assumptions or even realize how culture shapes those assumptions.

cultural fluency: The ability to understand norms and perspectives of diverse cultures, recognize the context and cues, and respond in ways to achieve shared meaning.

culturally responsive pedagogy: Culturally responsive pedagogy facilitates and supports the achievement of all students. In a culturally responsive classroom, reflective teaching and learning occur in a culturally supported, learner-centered context, whereby the strengths students bring to school are identified, nurtured, and utilized to promote student achievement.

D.A.C.A (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals): An American immigration policy that allows some individuals who were brought to the United States without inspection as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S.

deaf: Used to describe a person with total or profound hearing loss.

Note:  Many only have mild or partial loss of hearing. Use person with hearing loss, partially deaf, or hearing impaired. Do not use deaf-dumb or deaf-mute

decolonize– The active and intentional process of unlearning values, beliefs, and conceptions that have caused physical, emotional, or mental harm to people through colonization. It requires a recognition of systems of oppression.

demigender:Having a partial connection to one or more genders. Often used as demigirl, demiboy, etc.

demisexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction to someone until a greater, often emotional, bond is formed.

democracy: A governmental system whose actions and principles value and reflect the people’s views through their votes.

denial: Refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges that are granted or denied based on an individual’s ethnicity or other grouping.

disability: A physical or mental condition that makes it difficult  for individuals to fulfill their major life needs because of lack of accessibility of non disabled society.

Note: Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

Major bodily functions include, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

diaspora: A historical dispersion of a group of people deriving from similar origins.

direct threat: A significant risk to the health, safety, or well-being of individuals with disabilities or others when the risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

disadvantaged: 1. A historically oppressed group having less than sufficient financial, political, and social resources to meet all of basic needs.  2. A group characterized by disproportionate economic, social, and political disadvantages.

discrimination: Actions / behaviors, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, which favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services, or opportunities. Discriminatory behavior, ranging from slights to hate crimes, often begins with negative stereotypes and prejudices.

disenfranchised: Being deprived of power and/or access to rights, opportunities, and services.

diversity: The wide variety of shared and different personal and group characteristics among human beings. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio- economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

diversity consciousness: The awareness, understanding, and skills that allow us to think through and value human differences. As our awareness and understanding expand, so do our diversity skills. Similarly, developing and refining our diversity skills increases our awareness and understanding.

diversity skills: The competencies (e.g., communication, critical analysis, media literacy, teamwork, leadership, and social networking) that allow people to interact with others in a way that respects and values differences.

domestic partner: Either member of an unmarried, cohabiting, straight and same-sex couple that seeks benefits usually available only to spouses.

dominant culture:The cultural values, beliefs, and practices that are assumed to be the most common and influential within a given society.

domination: The ability of a particular social identity group to marshal social resources toward one’s own group and away from others. This process can often be rendered invisible and seen as a “natural order.”

drag queen / king: A person who takes on the appearance and characteristics associated with a certain gender, usually for entertainment purposes and often to expose the humorous and performative elements of gender.

dysmorphism: A dysmorphic feature is a difference in body structure. It can be an isolated feature in an otherwise “healthy” individual, or it can be related to a congenital disorder, genetic syndrome, or birth defect.

elitism: The belief that a select group of individuals with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality, high intellect, wealth, special skill, or experience are more likely to be constructive to society, and therefore deserve influence or authority greater than that of others.

emotional intelligence: The ability to acknowledge, value, and manage feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively.

empathy: A learned skill that allows one to recognize and deeply listen to another’s story or experiences, and connect them to common understandings and emotions; differs from sympathy.

enculturation:The gradual acquisition of the characteristics and norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc. Societal norms are learned through socialization.

equality: A state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects, including civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights and equal access to certain social goods and services.

equity: The proportional distribution of desirable outcomes across groups. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes while equality connotes equal treatment. More directly, equity is when an individual’s race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc. do not determine their educational, economic, social, or political opportunities.

equity (social):Freedom from bias or favoritism; impartiality; fairness. Social equity seeks to address the underlying and systemic differences of opportunity and access to social resources. Differs from “equality” in that we are not all the same, some people need more help than others.

ESL: Acronym for “English as a Second Language,” a method of teaching English in the United Sates to non-English speaking people.

ethnicity: A dynamic set of historically derived and institutionalized ideas and practices that (1) allows people to identify or to be identified with groupings of people on the basis of presumed (and usually claimed) commonalities including language, history, nation or region of origin, customs, ways of being, religion, names, physical appearance and/or genealogy or ancestry; (2) can be a source of meaning, action and identity; and (3) confers a sense of belonging, pride, and motivation.

Euro-Centric: The inclination to consider European culture as normative. While the term does not imply an attitude of superiority (since all cultural groups have the initial right to understand their own culture as normative), most use the term with a clear awareness of the historic oppressiveness of Eurocentric tendencies in U.S and European society.

female-bodied:A person who was assigned female at birth.

Note: Though still occasionally used this term is very problematic as it genders bodies non-consensually and plays into cissexism (in that breasts or a vulva, for example, are considered inherently female).

femme: A person who expresses and/or identifies with femininity.

First Nation People: Individuals who identify as those who were the first people to live on the Western Hemisphere continent. People also identified as Native Americans

feminism: The valuing of women and the belief in and advocacy for social, political, and economic equality and liberation for both women and men. Feminism questions and challenges patriarchal social values and structures that serve to enforce and maintain men’s dominance and women’s subordination.

first generation: An individual, neither of whose parents completed a baccalaureate degree.

fluid(ity): Describes an identity that may change or shift over time between; generally attached with another term, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality.

FTM/F2M/F to MAbbreviation for a person who was assigned female at birth (AFAB) but identifies as male. This term is problematic to some AFAB trans people as they feel they were never female and because X to Y terms can put too much focus on traditional means of physical transition.

fundamental attribution error: A common cognitive action in which one attributes their own success and positive actions to their own innate characteristics (‘Im a good person’)and failure to external influences (‘I lost it in the sun’), while attributing others’ success to external influences (‘He had help and got lucky’)and failure to others’ innate characteristics (‘Theyre bad people’). This operates on group levels as well, with the in-group giving itself favorable attributions, while giving the out-group unfavorable attributions, as a way of maintaining a feeling of superiority, i.e., “double standard.”; does not take into consideration the external factors that can, and often do, impact an individual’s behavior.

fundamentalism: Movement with strict view of doctrine: a religious or political movement based on a literal interpretation of and strict adherence to doctrine, especially as a return to former principles.


gatekeeping: When an individual or group controls access to goods and services but particularly to information and people with power.

gay:  Used to describe people who are emotionally, romantically, and/or physically attracted to people of the same gender.

gender: Refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

gendered: Having a distinct association with being masculine and/or feminine, man or woman.

gender affirming surgery: Surgical procedures associated with altering the genitals or secondary sex characteristics to be consistent with a person’s gender identity. What was formerly referred to as a “sex change” (an outdated and often offensive term).

gender binary:The idea that there are only two genders: man and woman. This idea is challenged by individuals who identify as non-binary (e.g., genderqueer, agender).

gender diversity: Refers to the extent to which a person’s gender identity, role or expression differs from the cultural norms prescribed for people of a particular sex.

gender dysphoria: The distress that a person experiences when the sex they were assigned at birth (by way of anatomy) does not match their gender identity. A person may experience various degrees of dysphoria with respect to different parts of their anatomy. For example, a female-bodied person may experience dysphoria with their breasts and voice but not genitalia.

gender expression: External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture.

gender fluid: A gender identity characterized by fluctuation between masculine/feminine/other (gender expression) and/or man-ness/woman-ness/other (gender identity). Some gender fluid people experience shifts on a frequent basis (within a day), others may go long periods of time.

gender identity: Refers to a person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender.

gender-neutral / gender-inclusive: Inclusive language to describe relationships (spouse and partner instead of husband/boyfriend and wife/girlfriend), spaces (gender-neutral/inclusive restrooms are for use by all genders), pronouns (they and ze are gender neutral/inclusive pronouns) among other things.

gender neutral pronouns: Pronouns that do not adhere to the he:she and his:her binary, and can refer to a number of different gender identities. Some examples are ze/hir/hirs, and they/them/their but there are many others.  Gender neutral pronouns are recognized by the Chicago Style Manual and AP.

gender non-conforming: An individual or identity characterized by traits that do not conform to conventional gendered behavior, expression, or gender roles.

gender normative: A person who conforms to gender-based expectations of society.

gender pronouns: The pronouns that a person prefers and reflects their gender identity (e.g., she/her/hers; they/them/theirs; he/him/his). A variety of gender-neutral pronouns exist, most commonly they/them/theirs.

gender role: Refers to a pattern of appearance, personality, and behavior that, in a given culture, is associated with being a boy/man/male or being a girl/woman/female.

genderqueer: A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions, but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of masculine and feminine genders. Includes a non-binary gender identity. May use gender-neutral pronouns.

genocide: The intentional attempt to completely erase or destroy a peoples through structural oppression and/or open acts of physical violence.

gentrification: Demographic shifts that usually occur in big cities in which upper-middle class and/or racially privileged individuals and businesses move into historically working class and poor and/or racially oppressed neighborhoods and communities.

glass ceiling: Barriers, either real or perceived, that affect the promotion or hiring of protected group members.

group identity: A category of differences that describes a set of common physical traits, characteristics, or attributes. Everyone has multiple group identities including age, ability, class, education level, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, language, religion, and sexual orientation. In organizations and society, the extent to which one is aware of the meaning and impact of these identities is key to understanding the impact of diversity and changing the status quo.

harassment: Unwanted conduct with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment based on their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age, among other things.

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 the victim.

HBCU: Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

hegemony: One group or community holding all authoritative power or dominance over other groups in a given society, geographical region, and/or political system.

heteronormativity: The societal assumption and norm that all people are heterosexual.

heterosexism: The belief or assumption that everyone is, or should be heterosexual; the idea that being heterosexual is normal, natural, and healthy, and all other people are somehow unnatural, abnormal and unhealthy.

heterosexual: Refers to a person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or physically attracted to a person of the opposite gender. Also referred to as straight.

heterosexual privilege: Those benefits derived automatically by being heterosexual that are denied to homosexuals and bisexuals. Also, the benefits homosexuals and bisexuals receive as a result of claiming heterosexual identity or denying homosexual or bisexual identity.

homophobia: On a personal level, homophobia is an irrational fear, aversion, or dislike of homosexualities and people who identify as homosexual; on a social level, homophobia is the ingrained structural discrimination against homosexuality and those who identify as homosexual that prevents access to certain resources or opportunities and inhibits individuals from feeling safe or able to be socially recognized as homosexual.

homosexual: A male whose sexual orientation is toward other men or a female whose sexual orientation is toward females.

Note: This is not a preferred term. Homosexual males typically prefer the term gay and homosexual females typically prefer the term lesbian.

HSI: Hispanic Serving Institution


immigrant: A person who moves out of their country of birth, supposedly for permanent residence in a new country.

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. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.

impostor syndrome: Refers to individuals’ feelings of not being as capable or adequate as others. Common symptoms of the impostor phenomenon include feelings of phoniness, self-doubt, and inability to take credit for one’s accomplishments. The literature has shown that such impostor feelings influence a person’s self-esteem, professional goal directed-ness, locus of control, mood, and relationships with others.

ingroup bias(favoritism): The tendency for groups to “favor” themselves by rewarding group members economically, socially, psychologically, and emotionally in order to uplift one group over another.

in-groups and out-groups:An in-group is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an out-group is a social group with which an individual does not identify.

inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities and decision/policy making in a way that shares power. Inclusion promotes broad engagement, shared participation, and advances authentic sense of belonging through safe, positive, and nurturing environments. Inclusion is key to eliminating systemic inequality.

inclusive language: Refers to non-sexist language or language that “includes” all persons in its references. For example, “a writer needs to proofread his work” excludes females due to the masculine reference of the pronoun. Likewise, “a nurse must disinfect her hands” is exclusive of males and stereotypes nurses as females.

Indigenous peoples: Ethnic groups who are the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied, or colonized the area more recently. In the United States, this can refer to groups traditionally termed Native Americans (American Indians), Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. In Canada, it can refer to the groups typically termed First Nations.

institutional oppression: The systematic mistreatment and dehumanization of any individual based solely on a social identity group with which they identify that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions; based on the belief that people of such a social identity group are inherently inferior.

intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social identities such as race, class, and gender that creates interdependent systems of privilege and disadvantage; the intersection of race, class, gender, and ability identities within each individual that informs how one views, discusses, and navigates through the world the way each of us views and discusses the world.

internalized oppression: The process whereby individuals in the target group make oppression internal and personal by coming to believe that the lies, prejudices, and stereotypes about them are true. Members of target groups exhibit internalized oppression when they alter their attitudes, behaviors, speech, and self-confidence to reflect the stereotypes and norms of the dominant group. Internalized oppression can create low self-esteem, self-doubt, and even self-loathing. It can also be projected outward as fear, criticism, and distrust of members of one’s target group.

internalized racism: When individuals from targeted racial groups internalize racist beliefs about themselves or members of their racial group. Examples include using creams to lighten one’s skin, believing that white leaders are inherently more competent, asserting that individuals of color are not as intelligent as white individuals, believing that racial inequality is the result of individuals of color not raising themselves up “by their bootstraps”. (Jackson & Hardiman, 1997).

intersex: Refers to people who are biologically between the medically expected definitions of male and female.  This can be through variations in hormones, chromosomes, internal or external genitalia, or any combination of any or all primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.

invisible minority: A group whose minority status is not always immediately visible, such as disabled people and LGBTQ+ people. This lack of visibility may make organizing for rights difficult.

Islamophobia: The irrational fear or hatred of Islam, Muslims, Islamic traditions, and practices, and, more broadly, those who appear to be Muslim.

justice: The establishment or determination of rights according to rules of law and standards of equity; the process or result of using laws to fairly judge crimes and criminality

Latinx/LatineA person of Latin American origin or descent (gender-neutral versions of Latino or Latina).

lesbian: An identity term for a female-identified person who is attracted to other female-identified people.

LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIAA+: Acronyms referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual.

linguicism: Refers to discrimination based particularly on language. Language oppression is often tied to discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and/or class.


major bodily functions: This term includes, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

major life activities: This term includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

male-bodied:A person who was assigned male at birth.

Note: Though still occasionally used this term is very problematic as it genders bodies non-consensually and plays into cissexism (in that a flat chest or a penis, for example, are considered inherently male).

marginalize / marginalization: The systematic disempowerment of a person or community by denying access to necessary resources, enforcing prejudice through society’s institutions, and/or not allowing for that individual or community’s voice, history, and perspective to be heard. A tactic used to devalue those that vary from the norm of the mainstream, sometimes to the point of denigrating them as deviant and regressive.

microaggression: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious slights and insults to the target person or group.

These messages may be sent verbally, (“You speak good English”), non-verbally (clutching one’s purse more tightly around people from certain race/ethnicity) or environmentally (symbols like the confederate flag or using Native American mascots). Such communications are usually outside the level of conscious awareness of perpetrators.

minority / minoritized groups/ minorities: Refer to 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.

misogyny: Hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women and femininity. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.

mobility: The ability to move through society, both physically and socioeconomically.

model minority:Refers to a minority ethnic, racial, or religious group whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. This success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability.

MSI: Minority Serving Institutions.

MTF/M2F/M to F: Abbreviation for a person who was assigned male at birth (AMAB) but identifies as female and transitioned to a feminine appearance that is consistent with their gender identity. This term is problematic to some MAAB trans people as they feel they were never male and because X to Y terms can put too much focus on traditional means of physical transition.

MTM/FTF: A transgender individual who has medically transitioned and feels their birth sex was never an identity to which they could relate. In other words, a person with a birth sex of female may have lived as female for many years, but never identified as a woman. Instead, they always identified as male and transitioned to become outwardly visible as male. The social identity of female (FTM) to male is an inappropriate description of their experience with gender.

multicultural: This term is used in a variety of ways and is less often defined by its users than terms such as multiculturalism or multicultural education. One common use of the term refers to the raw fact of cultural diversity: “multicultural education … responds to a multicultural population.” Another use of the term refers to an ideological awareness of diversity: “[multicultural theorists] have a clear recognition of a pluralistic society.” Still others go beyond this and understand multicultural as reflecting a specific ideology of inclusion and openness toward “others.” Perhaps the most common use of this term in the literature is in reference simultaneously to a context of cultural pluralism and an ideology of inclusion or “mutual exchange of and respect for diverse cultures.”

When the term is used to refer to a group of persons (or an organization or institution), it most often refers to the presence of and mutual interaction among diverse persons (in terms of race, class, gender, and so forth) of significant representation in the group. In other words, a few African Americans in a predominantly European American congregation would not make the congregation “multicultural.” Some, however, do use the term to refer to the mere presence of some non-majority persons somewhere in the designated institution(or group or society), even if there is neither significant interaction nor substantial numerical representation.

multiethnic: An individual that comes from more than one ethnicity. An individual whose parents are born from more than one ethnicity (See Ethnicity).

multiracial: A person who identifies as coming from two or more racial groups; a person whose biological parents come from different racial groups.

naming: When we articulate a thought that traditionally has not been discussed.

national origin: The political state from which an individual hails; may or may not be the same as that the person’s current location or citizenship.

nativism: Prejudiced thoughts or discriminatory actions that benefit or show preference to individuals born in a territory over those who have migrated into said territory.

neocolonialization: The survival of the colonial system in spite of formal recognition of political independence in former colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas which became victims of indirect and subtle form of domination by political, economic, social, military, or technical forces, generally disguised as humanitarian help or aid. The mechanisms of neo-colonialism are designed to serve the interest of continued economic and political dependence of former colonies by the former European colonial powers.

neo-liberalism: A substantial subjugation and marginalization of policies and practices informed by the values of social justice and equity.

neurodiversity: A viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits and can have benefits for people with learning and thinking differences. used especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorders.

non-binary / gender variant: A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.              

nondisabled/abledA person who does not have a disability. Generally preferred over able-bodied.

nonviolence: A strategy employed by social and civil advocates that stresses social and political change through acts that do not involve physical violence against oneself or others; nonviolent language is used to imply language that does not perpetuate structural inequalities.

non-white: Used at times to reference all persons or groups outside of the white culture, often in the clear consciousness that white culture should be seen as an alternative to various non-white cultures and not as normative.

oppression: The systemic use of institutional power and ideological and cultural hegemony, resulting in one group benefiting at the expense of another; the use of power and the effects of domination.

oppression (institutionalized): The systematic mistreatment and dehumanization of any individual based solely on a social identity group with which they identify that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions; based on the belief that people of such a social identity group are inherently inferior.

oppression (internalized): The process whereby individuals in the target group make oppression internal and personal by coming to believe that the lies, prejudices, and stereotypes about them are true. Members of target groups exhibit internalized oppression when they alter their attitudes, behaviors, speech, and self-confidence to reflect the stereotypes and norms of the dominant group. Internalized oppression can create low self-esteem, self-doubt, and even self-loathing. It can also be projected outward as fear, criticism, and distrust of members of one’s target group.

overprivileged: Disproportionately privileged compared to others; excessively privileged.

pangender: Someone whose gender identity is comprised of all or many gender identities and expressions.

pansexual: A term referring to the potential for sexual attractions or romantic love toward people of all gender identities and biological sexes. The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary and derives its origin from the transgender movement.

passing:The degree to which people of color are recognized as white. Or: The degree to which medically and/or socially transitioned people are recognized as their correct gender.

patriarchy: A social system and institution in which men have primary power in the political, social, economic, legal, and familial spheres; patriarchy favors male-dominated thought, and is centralized on the male narrative or perspective of how the world works and should work.

Pell-eligible: A student who applied for a Pell Grant and was determined to be eligible.

people-/person-first language: A way of describing disability that involves putting the word person or people before the word disability or the name of a disability, rather than placing the disability first and using it as an adjective. Some examples of people-first language might include saying “person with a disability,” “woman with cerebral palsy” and “man with an intellectual disability.” The purpose of people-first language is to promote the idea that someone’s disability label is just a disability label not the defining characteristic of the entire individual.

Note: Many disabled individuals do not prefer person-first language, seeing this effort as an attempt at erasing the importance of their disability.

people of color: A collective term for men and women of Asian, African, Latin, and Native American (non-White) backgrounds; as opposed to the collective “White” for those of European ancestry.

personal identity: Our identities as individuals‐including our personal characteristics, history, personality, name, and other characteristics that make us unique and different from other individuals.

pluralism: A situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., are together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests.

post-racial: A theoretical term to describe an environment free from racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice.

prejudice: An opinion, prejudgment or attitude about a group or its individual members. A prejudice can be positive but usually refers to a negative attitude. Prejudices are often accompanied by ignorance, fear, or hatred. Prejudices are formed by a complex psychological process that begins with attachment to a close circle of acquaintances or an in-group such as a family. Prejudice is often aimed at out-groups.

privilege: Benefit, advantage, or favor granted to individuals and communities by unequal social structures and institutions.

privileged group member: A member of an advantaged social group privileged by birth or acquisition, i.e., Whites, men, owning class, upper-middle-class, heterosexuals, gentiles, Christians, non-disabled individuals.

pronouns: A pronoun is a word that refers to someone or something that is being talked about (like she, it, them, and this). Gender pronouns (like he and hers) specifically refer to people that you are talking about. You cannot always know what pronoun (she/her, he/him, they/them) someone uses by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.

protected status: A characteristic that, in accordance with federal and state law, is protected from discrimination and harassment: age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Note: in the state of Tennessee, sexual orientation and gender identity are not identities that hold protected status.

PWI: Predominantly White Institution

qualified individual: An individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.

queer: An umbrella term that can refer to anyone who transgresses society’s view of gender or sexuality. A term that was used by heterosexuals as an insult that has been reclaimed by somemembers of the LGBTQ community.

Note: Some LGBT individuals find the word offensive and some queer-identified people may be offended if non-queer people use the term.

queer theory: A theoretical approach that critically deconstructs and challenges binaries such as male and female or heterosexual and homosexual.

questioning: An identity label for a person who is exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity and is in a state of moratorium in terms of identity formation.

race: A term used to identify and define individuals as part of a distinct group based on physical characteristics and some cultural and historical commonalities; once used to denote differentiations in humankind based on physiology and biology, race is now understood as a social construct that is not scientifically based, though is still commonly associated with notions of biological difference; race is still sometimes perceived as innate and inalterable.

racial and ethnic identity: An individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization and personal experience.

racial equity: 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 this term is used, the term may imply that racial equity is one part of racial justice, and thus also includes work to address the root causes of inequities, not just their manifestations. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.

racial profiling: The use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense.

racism: An ideology and institution that reflects the racial worldview in which humans are divided into racial groups and in which races are arranged in a hierarchy where some races are considered innately superior to others; racism is the effect of domination of certain racial groups by other racial groups, historically the domination of people of color by white/European peoples.

racism (cultural): Refers to representations, messages and stories conveying the idea that behaviors and values associated with white people or “whiteness” are automatically “better” or more “normal” than those associated with other racially defined groups. Cultural racism shows up in advertising, movies, history books, definitions of patriotism, and in policies and laws. Cultural racism is also a powerful force in maintaining systems of internalized supremacy and internalized racism. It does that by influencing collective beliefs about what constitutes appropriate behavior, what is seen as beautiful, and the value placed on various forms of expression. All of these cultural norms and values in the U.S. have explicitly or implicitly racialized ideals and assumptions (for example, what “nude” means as a color, which facial features and body types are considered beautiful, which child-rearing practices are considered appropriate.)

racism (individual): Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.

Examples: Telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites over other groups;  Avoiding people of color whom you do not know personally, but not whites whom you do not know personally (e.g., white people crossing the street to avoid a group of Latinx young people; locking their doors when they see African American families sitting on their doorsteps in a city neighborhood; or not hiring a person of color because “something doesn’t feel right”);  Accepting things as they are (a form of collusion).

racism (institutional): 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.

racism (internalized): When individuals from targeted racial groups internalize racist beliefs about themselves or members of their racial group. Examples include using creams to lighten one’s skin, believing that white leaders are inherently more competent, asserting that individuals of color are not as intelligent as white individuals, believing that racial inequality is the result of individuals of color not raising themselves up “by their bootstraps.” (Jackson & Hardiman, 1997)

racism (structural): A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead, it has been a feature of the social, economic, and political systems in which we all exist.

Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

racist policy: Any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. (Kendi, 2019)

rankism: Abuse, discrimination, or exploitation based on rank; abusive, discriminatory, or exploitative behavior towards people who have less power because of their lower rank in a particular hierarchy.

reasonable accommodation: Any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

reclaim: To take back or demand the return of something that was lost or taken away; to restore to a previous state.

refugee: A person that flees a country out of fear for their safety either for economic or political reasons, or due to a natural disaster, or because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on the person’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

re-fencing (exception-making): A cognitive process for protecting stereotypes by explaining any evidence/example to the contrary as an isolated exception.

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

religious oppression: Oppression against individuals or groups based on their religious beliefs and practices.

resilience: The ability to recover from some shock or disturbance.

respect: Giving consideration and attention to a given person, group, or situation that takes another’s perspective and experiences into account.

restorative justice: A theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, and gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surrounding community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. Restorative Justice emphasizes individual and collective accountability. Crime and conflict generate opportunities to build community and increase grassroots power when restorative practices are employed.

safe space: A place where anyone can relax and be fully self- expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person’s self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.

same gender loving:A term coined by activist Cleo Manago as a description for homosexuals, particularly in the African American community. SGL is an alternative to terms for homosexual identities (e.g., gay and lesbian) that can carry negative connotations to some people.

saliency:The quality of a group identity of which an individual is more conscious of in any given moment and which plays a larger role in that individual’s day‐to‐day life; for example, a man’s awareness of his “maleness” in an elevator with only women.

scapegoating: The action of blaming an individual or group for something when, in reality, there is no one person or group responsible for the problem. It targets another person or group as responsible for problems in society because of that person’s group identity

serostatus:The state of either having or not having detectible antibodies against a specific antigen, as measured by a blood test (serologic test). For example, HIV seropositive mean that a person has detectible antibodies to HIV; seronegative means that a person does not have detectible HIV antibodies.

settler colonialism: Refers to colonization in which colonizing powers create permanent or long-term settlement on land owned and/or occupied by other peoples, often by force. This contrasts with colonialism where colonizer’s focus only on extracting resources back to their countries of origin, for example. Settler Colonialism typically includes oppressive governance, dismantling of indigenous cultural forms, and enforcement of codes of superiority (such as white supremacy). Examples include white European occupations of land in what is now the United States, Spain’s settlements throughout Latin America, and the Apartheid government established by White Europeans in South Africa.

sex: Biological classification perceived as a binary of male or female (based on genetic or physiological features); as opposed to gender, which is social in nature (frequently used interchangeably with “gender” despite this difference). Standard conceptions of sex exclude the existence of intersex individuals.

sexism: Refers to the range of attitudes, beliefs, policies, laws and behaviors that discriminate on the basis of sex or gender.

sexual orientation: One’s natural preference in sexual partners.

sex assignment: The categorization of an infant as male or female.

silencing: The conscious or unconscious processes by which the voice or participation of particular social identities is exclude or inhibited.

sizeism: The mistreatment of or discrimination against people based upon their perceived (or self-perceived) body size or shape.

social construction: The notion that patterns of human interaction (often deemed to be normal, natural, or universal) are, in fact, humanly 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.

social forces: The omnipresent social influences that surround us and help shape our attitudes, character, knowledge, feelings, and other individual attributes.

social identity: A person’s sense of who they are based on their group memberships. Each person has multiple social identities associated with varying degrees of privilege.

social identity development: The stages or phases that a person’s group identity follows as it matures or develops.

social inequality: When resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. It is the differentiation preference of access of social goods in the society brought about by power, religion, kinship, prestige, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. Social inequality usually implies to the lack of equality of outcome but may alternatively be conceptualized in terms of the lack of equality of access to opportunity.

social justice: A broad term that connotes the practice of allyship and coalition work in order to promote equality, equity, respect, and the assurance of rights within and between communities and social groups. 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. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole.

social movement: A collective action by a group of people with a shared or collective identity based on a set of beliefs and opinions that intend to change or maintain some aspect of the social order.

social oppression: When one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another group for its own benefit.

social selfesteem: The degree of positive‐negative evaluation an individual holds about his/her particular situation in regard to his/her social identities.

social selfview: An individual’s perception of to which social identity groups he/she belongs.

social transition: The process of altering how one socially presents their gender. This may involve using different pronouns and minor or significant alteration of gender expression. Social transition may happen before or without medical transition.

socialization: The process through which we become accustomed to societal norms, i.e., rules about appropriate or acceptable social identities, beliefs, and behaviors. We are bombarded by these messages even before we are born. These messages are offered by a widening social network (interpersonal, institutional, structural). Through socialization, we learn about social identity categories, such as socioeconomic status, race, assigned sex, gender, religion, health status, sexual orientation, many other social identity categories, as well as the boundaries of human worth and value.

SOFFA: Acronym for Significant Others, Friends, Families, and Allies of transgender individuals.

solidarity: Unity or agreement based on shared interests and objectives; long-term mutual support within and between groups.

spotlighting:The practice of inequitably calling attention to particular social groups in language, while leaving others as the invisible, de facto norm. For example: “black male suspect” (versus “male suspect,” presumed white); “WNBA” (as opposed to “NBA,” presumed male); “female senator” (versus “senator”, presumed male).

social status: An individual’s position, often relative to others, in a group or society as characterized by certain benefits and responsibilities as determined by an individual’s rank and role.

stealth: This refers to a person who has socially and/or medically transitioned from their sex assigned at birth and does not disclose their past, presenting only as their true gender. Often this involves disassociating from people who know their history.

stereotype: An exaggerated belief, image, or distorted truth about a person or group that is widespread – a generalization that allows for little or no individual differences or social variation. Stereotypes are based on images in mass media or representations passed on by parents, peers, and other members of society. Though stereotypes can be positive and negative, they all have negative effects because they support institutionalized oppression by validating oversimplified beliefs that are often not based on facts.

stereotype threat: A situational predicament in which a people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming a stereotype about their social group.

stigma: The social phenomenon or process whereby individuals that are taken to be different in some way are rejected by the greater society in with they live based on that difference; 2. (noun) Labels that associate people with unfavorable or disapproved behavior and characteristics.

stigmatization: The marking, labeling, or spoiling of an identity, which leads to ostracism, marginalization, discrimination, and abuse.

structural inequality: Systemic disadvantage(s) of one social group compared to other groups, rooted and perpetuated through discriminatory practices (conscious or unconscious) that are reinforced through institutions, ideologies, representations, policies/laws, and practices. When this kind of inequalities is related to racial/ethnic discrimination is referred to as systemic or structural racism.

subordination: The experience of social dispossession, dislocation, and disempowerment relative to a dominant social group. This experience of being seen as “less than” or “minoritized” can often be rendered invisible and seen as a “natural order.”

substantially limiting: The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment, and an impairment that is episodic or in remission may also meet the definition of disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

supremacy: The superiority of one group of people over other groups of people through a system of domination and subordination.

Survivor: A term used to refer to someone who has gone through the recovery process, or when discussing the short- or long-term effects of sexual violence.  Some people identify as a victim, while others prefer the term survivor. The best way to be respectful is to ask for their preference.

system of oppression: Conscious and unconscious, non‐random, and organized harassment, discrimination, exploitation, discrimination, prejudice, and other forms of unequal treatment that impact different groups.

TCU: Tribal Colleges and Universities.

tolerance: Acceptance and open‐mindedness to different practices, attitudes, and cultures; does not necessarily mean agreement with the differences.

tokenism: Hiring or seeking to have representation such as a few women and/or racial or ethnic minority persons so as to appear inclusive while remaining mono-cultural.

transculturation: The process by which a person adjusts to another cultural environment without sacrificing their own cultural identity.

transformative learning: The expansion of awareness through the evolution of individual worldviews and perceptions of oneself. Transformative learning is facilitated through consciously directed processes such as accessing new information and frameworks and critically analyzing underlying premises.

transgender: An umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Trans is sometimes used as a shorthand for transgender. Not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person.

transition: The process trans people may go through to become comfortable in terms of their gender. Transitioning may include social, physical, mental, and emotional components.

transmisogyny: The intersection of transphobia and misogyny. Defined as the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender people. Transmisogyny is often directed at transwomen in particular.

transphobia: The fear or hatred of persons perceived to be transgender and/or transsexual.

transsexual: An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed – or seek to change – their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term a person prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.

Two Spirit: A Native American (Lakota, Mohave, Crow, Cheyenne, and others) term for individuals who identify both as male and female. In western culture these individuals are identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

unconscious bias: See Implicit Bias.

underprivileged: Not having the same standard of living or rights as the majority of people in a society.

underrepresented communities: Consist of individuals holding identities broadly underrepresented or underserved within an institution or field.

underutilization; The condition of having fewer protected group members in a particular job classification than would be reasonably expected by their availability in the labor force.

undue hardship: An action requiring significant difficulty or expense by the University.

undocumented: A foreign-born person living in the United States without legal citizenship status.

undocumented student: School-aged immigrants who entered the United States without inspection/overstayed their visas and are present in the United States with or without their parents. They face unique legal uncertainties and limitations within the United States educational system.

union: A formal organization of workers that is formed to protect the rights of its members; a joining together of many things into one.

unisex: Clothing, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, relationships, etc., which are considered appropriate for members of any gender/sex.

universal design: The process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations; whereas, accessibility primarily refers to design for people with disabilities.

UPstander: A person who chooses to take positive action in the face of injustice in society or in situations in which individuals need personal assistance; the opposite of a bystander.

upward mobility (upward social mobility): An individual’s or group’s (e.g., family) rise within the hierarchy that increases their level of class, power, or status.

veteran status: Whether or not an individual has served in a nation’s armed forces (or other uniformed service).

white fragility: The state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves [in white people]. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar (DiAngelo 2018).

white privilege: Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white; an exemption of social, political, and/or economic burdens placed on non-white people; benefitting from societal structuring that prioritizes white people and whiteness. Generally, white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.

white supremacy: A historically-based, institutionally-perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and people of color by white people and nations of the European continent for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.

whiteness: A broad social construction that embraces the white culture, history, ideology, racialization, expressions, experiences, epistemology, emotions, and behaviors, and  reaps material political, economic, and structural benefits for those socially deemed white.

worldview:The perspective though which individuals view the world; comprised of their history, experiences, culture, family history, and other influences.

xenophobia: A culturally based fear of outsiders. It has often been associated with the hostile reception given to those who immigrate into societies and communities. It could result from genuine fear of strangers or it could be based on things such as competition for jobs, or ethnic, racial, or religious prejudice.

Yes Means Yes: A phrase that defines sexual consent as an “affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity” according to California state legislation; ‘yes means yes’ shifts the responsibility of confirming consent from just one party to all parties involved.

ze: Gender neutral pronouns that can be used instead of he/she.

zir: Gender neutral pronouns that can be used instead of his/her.

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