Appendix C: Glossary of Terms
We have included a Glossary of Terms that we frequently hear in our work around racism. We hope that these definitions will help to clarify words that are often used but that are not always defined. We encourage you to become familiar with these terms and definitions and to help educate others in your congregation on their importance and their usefulness in dismantling racism and promoting antiracist attitudes and behaviors.
Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit 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. (racialequitytools.org)
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. (equityinthecenter.org)
Antiracism is an active state and one is antiracist when expressing antiracist ideas or actively supporting antiracist policies. Policies and those with power to implement and change policies should be the primary target of antiracist actions. People can (and do!) regularly support both racist ideas and antiracist ideas; sometimes in back-to-back sentences. This means that each moment presents us with a choice to act in antiracist ways and that our past choices and actions do not define our potential.
Someone who is supporting antiracist policies through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas ... Racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what – not who – we are ... Racist and antiracist are like peelable name tags that are placed and replaced based on what someone is doing or not doing, supporting or expressing in each moment. These are not permanent tattoos. No one becomes a racist or antiracist. We can only strive to be one or the other ... Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self examination. (Ibram Kendi)
Any ideas that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences – that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities. (Ibram Kendi)
To belong is not just to be a citizen or member in the weakest sense, but to be able to participate in co-creating the thing you belong to. This makes it different than inclusion. This is exactly what many white nationalists reject. To not belong is to be othered. To be less than. To be, as W. E. B. Dubois said, a “problem.” (https://nonprofitquarterly.org/bridging-or-breaking)
Once we have learned about each other, stereotypes and prejudices may still resist change, even when evidence fails to support their assertions or points to the contrary. People can embrace anecdotes that reinforce their biases, but disregard experience that contradicts them. The statement "Some of my best friends are..." captures this tendency to allow some exceptions without changing our bias.
Bias is perpetuated by conformity with in-group attitudes and socialization by the culture at large. Mass media routinely takes advantage of stereotypes as shorthand to paint a mood, scene, or character of particular ethnic or racial groups. Elders, for example, are routinely portrayed as being frail and forgetful, while younger people are frequently shown as vibrant and able. Stereotypes can also be conveyed by omission in popular culture, as when the media present an all-white world. The result is unquestioned bias.
Breaking can create a deep fear of other groups, making it easier to accept false stories of “us vs. them.”
Breaking perpetuates isolation, hardens racism, and builds oppressive systems—while driving our politics and institutions toward anti-democratic and inhumane practices. (https://belonging.berkeley.edu/bridging)
Bridging means acknowledging our shared humanity, rejecting that there is a “them,” and moving towards a future where there is instead a new “us.”
For when we bridge, we not only open up to others, we also open up to change within ourselves – where we can participate in creating a society built on belonging. (https://belonging.berkeley.edu/bridging)
Bridging requires a human connection and what's called empathetic listening, engagement.
Bridging doesn't mean you have to abandon your position. But it means you listen to the other person. You engage them. You give them the benefit of the doubt. And you acknowledge their humanity.” As said by ‘john a. powell’: (https://belonging.berkeley.edu/john-powell-how-bridging)
Emma LaRocque has defined colonization as a “form of invasion, dispossession, and subjugation of a peoples…The result of such incursion is the dispossession of vast amounts of lands from the original inhabitants.” Colonization is often legalized after the fact. The long-term result of such massive dispossession is institutionalized inequality. The colonizer/colonized relationship is by nature an unequal one that benefits the colonizer at the expense of the colonized.
Colonization provides colonizers with political power and control, economic wealth through the exploitation of peoples and resources which have been transformed into commodities, and social power with the dominance of a colonizer’s cultural practices and beliefs as normative. Colonization is an ongoing process which continues to provide political/economic/social benefits to the colonizers. Settler colonialism is a specific example of a process by which colonists migrate with the express purposes of usurping indigenous sovereignty, expanding territorial occupation, and the forming of a new, dominant community rather than limiting their relationship to the economic extraction of resources and subjugation of indigenous peoples.
The learned and shared values of interacting with people.
Multicultural Competency--A process of learning about and becoming allies with people from other cultural backgrounds, thereby broadening our own understanding and ability to positively interact with diverse people and groups. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world, and an openness to learn from them. (UWT’s Diversity Resource Center) (www.tacoma.uw.edu)
The tendency of a majority of people in a cultural group to hold certain values and beliefs, and to engage in certain patterns of behavior.
The application of a generalization to every person in a cultural group; or, generalizing from only a few people in a group.
A person in denial shows “disinterest in and/ or avoidance of cultural difference with little recognition of more complex cultural differences.”
A denial mindset reflects more limited experience and capability for understanding and appropriately responding to cultural differences in values, beliefs, perceptions, emotional responses, and behaviors. Denial consists of a disinterest in other cultures and a more active avoidance of cultural differences. Individuals with a denial mindset often do not see differences in perceptions and behavior as “cultural.” A denial orientation is characteristic of individuals who have limited experience with other cultural groups and, therefore, tend to operate with broad stereotypes and generalizations about the cultural “other.” Those in denial may also maintain a distance from other cultural groups and express little interest in learning about the cultural values and practices of diverse communities. When denial is present in the workplace, cultural diversity oftentimes feels “ignored.”
When we experience our own culture and race as normal or normative we are thinking and acting in an ethnocentric way that supports racism. This may happen when we lack relationships with or familiarity with racial groups other than our own or when we are disinterested in another's culture or race.
An example could be that different racial groups are expected to all fit into one national culture; they must learn about our organization and how we do things, they speak our language, dress as we do. But these expectations are usually based on limited stereotypes of who our race and culture are. Denial of differences, denial of a clash of racial differences and a defense of the dominant racial group perpetuate an "us against them" way of thinking and behaving.
Behavior that treats people unequally, inequitably, or unfairly based on the group that they belong to.
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term "diversity" is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.
It is important to note that many activists and thinkers critique diversity alone as a strategy. For instance, Baltimore Racial Justice Action states: “Diversity is silent on the subject of equity. In an anti-oppression context, therefore, the issue is not diversity, but rather equity. Often when people talk about diversity, they are thinking only of the “non-dominant” groups.” (racialequitytools.org)
A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical base.
Examples of different ethnic groups are: Cape Verdean, Haitian, African American (Black); Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese (Asian); Cherokee, Mohawk, Navaho (Native American); Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican (Latino); Polish, Irish, and Swedish (White). (racialequitytools.org)
The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups (equityinthecenter.org)
A person’s innate sense of their own gender. This may include identities on either
end of the gender binary, somewhere in-between or outside the gender binary.
Gender justice is a human right; every woman and girl is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom, without any fear. Gender Justice is indispensable for development, poverty reduction, and is crucial to achieving human progress. Realizing it includes sharing of power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace, and in the wider national and international communities. (Gender justice/Oxfam)
Advancing gender equity through the law, We fight for gender equity by dismantling barriers and expanding protections so that all people can thrive regardless of their gender, gender expression and sexual orientation. (genderjustice.us)
Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics. (racialequitytools.org)
Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policymaking in a way that shares power. (racialequitytools.org)
The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/thoughts of all people. (equityinthecenter.org)
An approach largely advanced by women of color, arguing that classifications such as gender, race, class, and others cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individuals’ lives, in society, in social systems, and are mutually constitutive. For example, a Black woman in America does not experience gender inequalities in exactly the same way as a Whit woman, nor racial oppression identical to that experienced by a Black man. Each race and gender intersection produces a qualitatively distinct life (UWT Diversity Resource Center)
Acronym encompassing diverse groups of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer populations and allies and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer alliances/ associations. The acronym has evolved over the decades and there is debate about which one is most inclusive. There is the cumbersome LGBTQQIAAP (with 2nd Q = questioning, I = intersex, A = asexual, A = allies, and P = pansexual). Most commonly encountered is LGBTQ, but LGBTQ+ is increasing in usage. (equityandinclusion.cfaes.ohio-state.edu)
The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. (racialequitytools.org)
Highlights cultural commonality that can mask deeper recognition of cultural differences. Cultural differences are perceived in neutral terms—but differences are made sense of and responded to within one’s own culturally familiar categories.
Minimization can take one of two forms: (a) the highlighting of commonalities due to limited cultural self-understanding, which is more commonly experienced by dominant group members within a cultural community; or (b) the highlighting of commonalities as a strategy for navigating the values and practices largely determined by the dominant culture group, which is more often experienced by non-dominant group members within a larger cultural community. This latter strategy can have survival value for nondominant culture members and often takes the form of “go along to get along.”
We focus on some shared commonalities; for a dominant cultural or racial group, the focus is on what other racial groups have in common with my group. Your culture and race are valuable as long as it fits into how “we” live. In other words, “People are people. We can all just get along. But you should want to be like us.”
Here, we focus on eliminating stereotypes and discriminatory behavior at a personal level and promoting tolerance. But the focus is surely not on valuing diversity or adapting ourselves to appreciating and respecting a non-majority racial or ethnic group’s culture or story.
A set of dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences based on group identities. (Othering and Belonging Institute).
Polarization is an evaluative mindset that views cultural differences from an “us versus them” perspective. Polarization can take two forms: Defense – sees cultural differences frequently as divisive and threatening to one’s own way of doing things. “My cultural practices are superior to other cultural practices.” Reversal – values and may idealize other cultural practices while denigrating one’s own culture group. Reversal may also support the “cause” of an oppressed group, but this is done with little knowledge of what the “cause” means to people from the oppressed community. “Other cultures are better than mine.”
A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics. (racialequitytools.org)
Privilege (or White Privilege):
Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it.
Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
Structural White Privilege:
A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences, and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels. (racialequitytools.org)
The concept of race is socially constructed, developed over centuries partially as a method of social control (McIntosh 2007, 349). Science has shown that race is not biological, but merely an ideology based upon superficial value judgments (Painter 2010, 2).
While race does not accurately represent the patterns of human biological diversity, an abundance of scientific research demonstrates that racism, prejudice against someone because of their race, and a belief in the inherent superiority and inferiority of different racial groups, affects our biology, health, and well-being. This means that race, while not a scientifically accurate biological concept, can have important biological consequences because of the effects of racism. The belief in races as a natural aspect of human biology and the institutional and structural inequities (racism) that have emerged in tandem with such beliefs in European colonial contexts are among the most damaging elements in human societies.
“Racial anxiety” refers to the heightened levels of stress and emotion that we confront when interacting with people of other races. People of color experience concern that they will be the subject of discrimination and hostility. White people, meanwhile, worry that they will be assumed to be racist. Studies have shown that interracial interaction can cause physical symptoms of anxiety and that our non-verbal behaviors—making eye contact, using welcoming gestures or a pleasant tone of voice, for example—can be affected as well. When everyone in a conversation is anxious that it will turn negative, it often does. This causes a kind of feedback loop where the fears and anxieties of both white people and people of color are confirmed by their everyday interactions. (https://perception.org/research/racial-anxiety/)
Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc. (racialequitytools.org)
Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIA):
A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions. The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.
REIAs are used to reduce, eliminate and prevent racial discrimination and inequities. The persistence of deep racial disparities and divisions across society is evidence of institutional racism––the routine, often invisible and unintentional, production of inequitable social opportunities and outcomes. When racial equity is not consciously addressed, racial inequality is often unconsciously replicated. (https://www.raceforward.org/practice/tools/racial-equity-impact-assessment)
Racial Healing (and Racial Healing Circles):
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation says the following about racial healing circles: Generally, the racial healing process is composed of three parts:
2) Becoming open to one another’s perspectives and experiences;
3) And allowing yourself to be impacted and/or transformed by the
Source: Restoring to Wholeness: Racial Healing for Ourselves, Our Relationships and Our Communities. W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Racial identity is a multifaceted construct that refers to (a) the qualitative meaning one ascribes to one’s own racial group, (b) meaning attributed to other racial groups, (c) sense of group identification with one’s own racial group, (d) salience of race in defining one’s self-concept, and (e) perspectives regarding race over time.
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. (racialequitytools.org)
Racialization is the very complex and contradictory process through which groups come to be designated as being of a particular "race" and on that basis subjected to differential and/or unequal treatment. Put simply, “racialization [is] the process of manufacturing and utilizing the notion of race in any capacity” (Dalal, 2002, p. 27). While white people are also racialized, this process is often rendered invisible or normative to those designated as white. As a result, white people may not see themselves as part of a race but still maintain the authority to name and racialize "others." (racialequitytoolsl.org)
A powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas. (Ibram Kendi).
Someone who is supporting racist policies or expressing racist ideas. (Ibram Kendi).
Racism = race prejudice + social and institutional power
Racism = a system of advantage based on race
Racism = a system of oppression based on race
Racism = a white supremacy system
Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices. (racialequitytools.org)
Any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior to another racial group in any way. (Ibram Kendi).
Any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups.
Redlining is the systematic denial of various services or goods by federal government agencies, local governments, or the private sector either directly or through the selective raising of prices. This is often manifested by placing strict criteria on specific services and goods that often disadvantage poor and minority communities. (Source: Wikipedia)
Blanket beliefs and expectations about members of certain groups that present an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment. They go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information, and are highly inflammatory. (UWT’s Diversity Resource Center) (https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/)
Stereotype threat (or identity threat):
The risk of internalizing and confirming others’ negative biases towards one’s social group (18474-abcs-of-social-justice – lclark.edu)
The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric. 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 forms of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access and quality of care and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things (racialequitytools.org)
Per Robin DiAngelo, white fragility is “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable [for white people], triggering a range of defensive moves. 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.” (racialequitytools.org)
Whiteness and white racialized identity refer to the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups of people are compared. Whiteness is also at the core of understanding race in America. Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout America's history have created a culture where nonwhite persons are seen as inferior or abnormal.
The term white refers most obviously to light skin, but also denotes those who historically have benefitted from light-skin privilege. Thus, both definitions of whiteness will be considered here when referring to white people. As opposed to the racialization assigned to people of color, whiteness can be defined by its hyper-visibility, which counterintuitively leads to invisibility. (See, Defining Whiteness: Perspectives on Privilege)
One central importance of whiteness as an analytical concept is that it identifies how the unmarked and normative position of whites is maintained by positing "race" as a category of difference.
The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and "undeserving." Drawing from critical race theory, the term white supremacy" also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level. (racialequitytools.org)