Glossary of Terminology
Compiled by Cheryl L Nuñez, Assistant to the President for Diversity and Equity
- ABLEISM: A system of oppression based on the social construction of superior and inferior physicality, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions for the benefit of those deemed able-bodied at the expense of those deemed disabled.
- ACHIEVEMENT GAP: The achievement gap is commonly used shorthand for the racial achievement gap and refers to the widespread disparities that exist between African Americans and Latinos and white and many Asian students in such educational outcomes as test scores; retention, completion, and college going-rates; and placement in special education, gifted, and advanced placement courses. (See Disparities)
- ADVERSE IMPACT: According to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978), "adverse impact is a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex or ethnic group. Under Federal equal employment opportunity law the use of any selection procedure which has an adverse impact on any race, sex or ethnic group is discriminatory unless the procedure has been properly validated, or the use of the procedure is otherwise justified under Federal law. 
- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Affirmative action in the employment arena describes the proactive efforts of an organization to recruit and advance qualified people of color, women, persons with disabilities and covered veterans. Required of federal contractors and subcontractors, affirmative action is also permissible voluntarily where it is based on documented underutilization of women and people of color. Affirmative action in education, which began as a voluntary strategy to correct institutional exclusion, now generally refers to the race-conscious admissions and financial aid strategies that seek to promote the broad educational benefits of diversity.
- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM: The action-oriented program designed to ensure equal employment opportunity beyond mere non-discrimination. It documents numeric goals; responsibilities; and recruitment, promotion, selection, training and other programs relevant to the particular workforce priorities, recruitment pools, and employment practices of an employer. 
- AFRICAN AMERICAN OR BLACK: For U.S. governmental purposes, African American is used interchangeably with Black and defined as: citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. As an affirmation of identity, the choice of terminology is a matter of personal preference. Emerging at different times in history, both terms reflect the continually shifting nature of identity in relation to socio-political currents. In the U.S., the descendants of Africans have preferred colored, then Negro, followed by African American, and later, Black, to describe their common heritage, history, culture, and politics. Since the advent of the Black Power movement of the 60s, Black has come into popularity as an assertion of the pride and empowerment. Nevertheless, the vernacular colored and negro survives in limited contexts where it evokes positive, historic associations, as in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Negro National Anthem.
- AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT (ADEA): The 1967 act prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older. 
- AGEISM: A system of oppression based on the social construction of age superiority and inferiority, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions for the benefit of some at the expense of others.
- AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKA NATIVE: “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.”
- AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA): Passed by Congress in 1990, this act requires that "reasonable accommodation" be made in public accommodations, including the workplace, for individuals with disabilities.  (See EEOC)
- ASIAN: “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.”
- ASSIMILATION: The policy and practice of repression, domination and erasure by which marginalized cultures are merged into the dominant or mainstream culture.
- BIAS: A preference for or tendency toward a particular viewpoint or outcome. Bias stems from the internalization and institutionalization of particular values, beliefs, and assumptions. Not to be confused with bigotry, which is motivated by ill-intent, bias can co-exist unconsciously with good intentions, but nevertheless result in outcomes that are inclined to favor some groups over others. (See Disparate Outcomes)
- BICULTURAL: A person who is bicultural effectively navigates within and between two cultures.
- BIRACIAL: Often used to describe a person whose parents belong to two different racial categories. Some critics argue that this usage promotes a biologistic concept of race based on blood quantum that denies the socially-constructed nature of race. The term should not be used interchangeably with bicultural. For example, a child of a black parent and a parent of European descent may claim the ethnic cultures of both parents, while nevertheless identifying racially as black.
- BISEXUAL: “A bisexual is one who has significant sexual and romantic attractions to members of both the same and opposite sex.”
- BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN: For U.S. governmental purposes, African American is used interchangeably with Black and defined as: citizens or residents of the United States who have origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. As an affirmation of identity, the choice of terminology is a matter of personal preference. Emerging at different times in history, both terms reflect the continually shifting nature of identity in relation to socio-political currents. In the U.S., the descendants of Africans have preferred colored, then Negro, followed by African American, and later, Black, to describe their common heritage, history, culture, and politics. Since the advent of the Black Power movement of the 60s, Black has come into popularity as an assertion of the pride and empowerment. Nevertheless, the vernacular colored and Negro survives in limited contexts where it evokes positive, historic associations, as in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Negro National Anthem.
- CIVIL RIGHTS: The legal rights guaranteed equally to all citizens.
- CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: Prohibits discrimination in programs receiving federal funds. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or national origin in federally-financially assisted programs. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex (including pregnancy).
- CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991: Amends Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding the protected category of "disability" and provides for appropriate remedies for intentional discrimination and unlawful harassment in the work place. The 1991 Act does not affect court-ordered remedies, affirmative action, or conciliation agreements, which are in accordance with the law.
- CLASS: Definitions of class vary across disciplines. A comprehensive working definition by Yeskel and Leondar-Wright is that “class is ‘a relative social ranking based on income, wealth, status, and/or power.’” 
- CLASSISM: A system of oppression based on the social construction of superiority and inferiority based on class, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions for the benefit of the dominant class at the expense of the rest.
- CLOSET: The closet invokes “the image of a dimly lit, stale, confining space in which it is difficult to live and grow. Gay men and lesbians who conceal their sexual identity from others are said to be “in the closet…” It can also be used to refer to the concealment of other marginalized identities out of shame or fear of retribution. (See Coming Out, Out)
- COLORBLINDNESS: The claim not to see racial distinctions. Critics of this ideology argue that in the U.S. context the refusal to see race denies an often important aspect of personal and collective identity as well as the socio-historical forces that structure disparate outcomes based on race. Accordingly, one must see race and understand its impact in order to correct the effects of past and present racial oppression.
- COMING OUT: Coming out refers to coming out of the closet, as in: “  the process through which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and transsexual people recognize their sexual preferences and differences and integrate this knowledge into their personal and social lives,  the act of disclosure to others.”  “For many gay men and lesbians this is a continuing process which occurs every time they meet someone new. Some gay men and lesbians choose to never come out to others.” (See Closet, Out)
- CONTRAPOWER HARASSMENT: Harassment of those with more organizational power by those with less. For example, while a female professor may have more formal power than a male student, because society still conveys more power and authority to men, the male student has greater informal on the basis of gender. Parallels can be drawn with other binaries of power, such as race, age, sexual orientation, and social class.
- CRITICAL PEDAGOGY: In the tradition of education, critical theory informs critical pedagogy. Henry Giroux defines critical pedagogy as "a public philosophy that addresses how to construct ideological and institutional conditions in which the lived experience of empowerment for the vast majority of students becomes the defining feature of schooling.” Accordingly, it emphasizes “new forms of knowledge through its emphasis on breaking down disciplines and creating interdisciplinary knowledge;” interrogates power, marginalization, and identity in the context of schools; and seeks to make the curriculum relevant to the lived realities of diverse learners. In doing so, critical pedagogy challenges mainstream views of knowledge and schooling as neutral and learning as an end only unto itself. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire outlines critical pedagogy as a tool by which the oppressed develop a critical consciousness of themselves in relation to dominating structures and of their role as agents and not just subjects in the world. bell hooks argues that a critical pedagogy that confronts class and other inequality, “requires educators to maintain a “solidarity with the poor… rooted in the recognition that interdependency sustains the life of the planet.” (See Critical Theory)
- CRITICAL THEORY: “Critical Theory is a broad tradition based upon the use of the critique as a method of investigation.” The primary characteristic of this school of thought is that social theory, whether reflected to educational research, art, philosophy, literature, or business, should play a significant role in changing the world, not just recording information.” (See Critical Pedagogy)
- CULTURE: While the definition of culture varies within and among academic disciplines, a comprehensive definition is that it denotes the way of life of a people, encompassing their ideas, values, beliefs, norms, language, traditions, and artifacts. Institutional cultures reflect the dominant culture of the society of which they are a part. (See Bicultural).
- DISABILITY: Disability is socially constructed, defined by the social and functional criteria of a particular society. People are not born “disabled,” but rather labeled so. This understanding is reflected in the definition put forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: “The term ‘disability’ means with respect to an individual (a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of said individual; (b) a record of such an impairment; (c) being regarded as having such an impairment.”
- DISCRIMINATION: Discrimination denotes different treatment. As a term of law, however, it refers specifically to the illegal denial of equal rights and protections based on such characteristics as gender, race, ethnicity, and disability.
- DISPARATE TREATMENT: Refers to the intentional different treatment of individuals and groups on bases prohibited by law. A term of law, disparate treatment triggers punitive liability. Not all different treatment is illegal. The law permits different treatment that is designed to advance equal opportunity and meets specific legal standards. Disparate treatment is only one cause of disparities across social groups, which can often result from unintentional or unconscious bias. (See Bias, Disparities)
- DISPARITIES: Disparities commonly refer to group differences in educational, health, economic, legal and other outcomes. Disparities highlight the salience of social group membership in structuring privilege and inequality. Disparities stem from intentional discrimination as well as from unconscious bias. (See Achievement Gap, Bias, Discrimination, Disparate Treatment, Privilege)
- DYKE: “Dyke is derived from Dike of Ancient Greece, who was a storm goddess. It is a shortened version of ‘Bulldyke.’ The word is used to create an image of a masculine woman. The word along with Faggot can be devastating terms to homosexual men and women in the early stages of developing their self-esteem.”
- EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO): The absence of illegal employment discrimination based on race, class, gender, religion, and nationality, as prohibited by a number of legislative acts and enforced by the courts. (See also Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
- EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC): Congress established the EEOC in 1965 to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting illegal discrimination in employment. The Federal Government's premier civil rights agency is also charged with the enforcement of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- THE EQUAL PAY ACT OF 1963 (EPA): The EPA provides employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.
- EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (ERA): Written in 1923 by Alice Paul, suffragist leader and founder of the National Woman's Party, as a means of guaranteeing "equal justice under law" to women as well as men, the ERA has been introduced into every session of Congress since, but has failed to be ratified by the required number of states. In the 110th Congress (2007 - 2008), the Equal Rights Amendment has been introduced as S.J. Res. 10 (Sen. Edward Kennedy, MA, lead sponsor) and H.J. Res. 40 (Rep. Carolyn Maloney, NY, lead sponsor). These bills impose no deadline on the ratification process in their proposing clauses. The ERA Task Force of the National Council of Women's Organizations supports these bills and urges groups and individuals to advocate for more co-sponsors and passage.
- EQUALITY: Equal treatment that may or may not result in equitable outcomes. (See Equity)
- EQUITY: The proportional distribution or parity of desirable outcomes across groups. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes, while equality connotes equal treatment. Where individuals or groups are dissimilarly situated, equal treatment may be insufficient for or even detrimental to equitable outcomes. An example is individualized educational accommodations for students with disabilities, which treat some students differently in order to ensure their equitable access to education. (See Parity)
- ETHNIC GROUP: A group of people who share a sense of themselves as having a common heritage, ancestry, or shared historical past, which may be tied to identifiable physical, cultural, linguistic, and/or religious characteristics. Ethnicity should not be used interchangeably with race, as illustrated by the fact that Hispanics, designated an ethnic group in the U.S., may nevertheless be of any race.
- ETHNICITY: The shared sense of a common heritage, ancestry, or historical past among an ethnic group (see Ethnic Group). Ethnicity is a distinct concept from race, as illustrated by the fact that Hispanics, designated an ethnic group in the U.S., may nevertheless be of any race. In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget definition of ethnicity, the U.S. Census Bureau defines ethnicity or origin as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States.”
- ETHNOCENTRISM: Prejudicial views and different treatment of ethnic groups different from one’s own. Ethnocentrism should not be confused with racism, which is structured on the basis of race and not ethnicity.
- FAGGOT: “The term faggot originated in medieval times when a faggot was a bundle of sticks used to stoke a fire. The term came to refer to the burning of Gay men and Lesbians which occurred at the time. Flamer and Flaming Faggot also originated from this experience.”
- FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA): The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is intended to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child; the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition or for the qualifying exigency leave of a child, spouse, or parent in the military.
- FEMINISM: Refers broadly to an ideology and movement advancing full gender equity. According to scholar/activist Angela Davis, there is general agreement “that feminism in its many versions acknowledges the social impact of gender and involves opposition to misogyny.” While differing in the names they call themselves, many who are committed to the ideal of gender equity believe, like Davis herself, that “the most effective versions of feminism acknowledge the various ways gender, class, race and sexual orientation inform each other.”
- FEMINIST: While the term “feminism” refers broadly to an ideology and movement advancing full gender equity, according to scholar/activist Angela Davis, there is general agreement “that feminism in its many versions acknowledges the social impact of gender and involves opposition to misogyny.” Some women of color are reluctant to use "feminist" as a self-referential term, which they see as rooted to the particular historical experience of white middle-class women. Some, like writer Alice Walker, prefer the term "womanist," to mark their simultaneous commitments to eradicate racism and patriarchy. Other terms include Black, African, and Third World feminist. While differing in the names they call themselves, many who are committed to the ideal of gender equity believe, like Davis herself, that “the most effective versions of feminism acknowledge the various ways gender, class, race and sexual orientation inform each other.”
- GAY: “The word appeared in popular culture in the 1970s to describe homosexuals. It is used mainly as an adjective and underscores sexual orientation as one aspect of an individual, not as the total individual.”
- GENDER IDENTITY: “Gender identity is how one thinks about their own gender, whether they think of themselves as a man or a woman, and to what degree they identify with the arbitrary gender roles placed on us by society.”
- GENDER ROLES: “Society places arbitrary rules and roles, how one is supposed to act, dress, feel, think, relate to others, etc., on each of us based on a person’s sex (what genitalia they have).”
- GENOCIDE: The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide defines genocide “as any of a number of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
- HARASSMENT: Harassment is a form of illegal discrimination defined as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.
- HEGEMONY: A form of oppression by which those in power naturalize and legitimate their dominance. In contrast to physical force, hegemony flows through the power of taken-for-granted ideas and cultural values, which, when internalized by the masses of people, render them unconscious of the forces that structure their powerlessness.
- HETEROSEXISM: “Heterosexism is the idea that there is a natural form of sexuality, which is inevitable and good. The structures and institutions of our society exist to perpetuate this belief. Some examples are: the invisibility of gay men and lesbians, the lack of role models in schools and the media, and the lack of legal and cultural recognition.”
- HISPANIC OR LATINA/O: For U.S. governmental purposes the terms are used interchangeably and defined as: “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.” The terms describe an ethnic group and not a race. Accordingly, on many federal forms, Hispanics/Latino/as can also express a racial identity on a separate race question. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the choice of terms is a matter of regional usage. “Hispanic is commonly used in the eastern portion of the United States, whereas Latino is commonly used in the western portion.” In addition, for many Latino is preferred as a term of self-naming, signifying identification with the empowerment movement of peoples who share a common history of colonialism and oppression. 
- HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (HBCUs): There are 114 historically black colleges in the United States today, including two-year and four-year as well as public and private institutions. Most are located in the Southeastern United States. Four are located in the Midwestern states [including Wilberforce and Central State Universities in Ohio].
- HISTORICALLY UNDERUTILIZED BUSINESS (HUB): Businesses of which 51% or more of ownership is held by women, persons of color, or persons with disabilities.
- HOMOPHOBIA: The “intense and irrational fear of same-sex relationships, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.”
- HOMOSEXUAL: “A clinical term used to refer to people who are sexually attracted to members of their own sex.”
- HUMAN RIGHTS: “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education, or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.”
- INCLUSION: Expanding upon efforts that promote diversity on the basis of demographic differences, in the field of organizational management, inclusion refers to intentional policies and practices that promote the full participation and sense of belonging of every employee, customer, or client. In schools, inclusion is commonly used to refer to the practice of mainstreaming children with disabilities in general education classrooms.
- IMPERIALISM: Refers to the political, economic, and cultural domination and exploitation by one nation of other lands and peoples through military force as well as ideological hegemony. (See Hegemony)
- INTEGRATION: Unlike desegregation, which merely abolishes policies of separation, integration usually refers to active efforts to foster the representation and participation of groups that have historically faced institutional and social exclusion. Their presence in an environment, however, is not necessarily followed by transformation of its culture, norms or values to reflect their own. Hence, integration should not be confused with empowerment or with equitable outcomes. (See Segregation)
- INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION: The process by which a member of a systematically oppressed group internalizes and acts out the negative characteristics attributed to the group.
- INTERSECTIONALITY: Refers to the analytical framework through which the relationship among systems of oppression can be understood. African American women made an early contribution to this analysis in the 19th Century. Recognizing that they experienced racism and sexism differently from both black men and white women even while they shared commonalities with both, they argued that a struggle that did not simultaneously address sexism and racism would only perpetuate both. Since then, movements against racism, sexism, heterosexism, disability, colonialism, and imperialism both within the U.S. and abroad have recognized similar correspondences, enabling more broad-based coalition-building.
- ISMS: The “isms” usually refer to systems of privilege and oppression based on race (racism), sex (sexism), class (classism), Jewish identity (anti-Semitism), age (ageism), ability (ableism), and sexual identity (heterosexism). While they turn on different axes of social identity, these systems share several conceptual similarities. All are rooted in doctrines of superiority and inferiority; find systemic expression in individual, institutional, as well as cultural forms; and function through the dynamics of power and privilege. These common elements are often expressed in the equation prejudice plus power = oppression (ism). While the ism framework is useful as a way of recognizing the theoretical similarities or intersections across systems of oppression, many social theorists caution that it can be overly reductionist. For example, joining “ism” with the prefix “sex” suggests the binary men/women, but not the power differential that structures its parts or the group for whose privilege sexism functions. Further, it is argued that the term may be misconstrued to represent a list of equivalent phenomena, despite key functional differences. Similarly, it leaves room for the inference that systems of oppression are discretely occurring phenomena, when, in fact, they are experienced in interlocking and overlapping ways. (See Intersectionality, Privilege)
- LATINA/O OR HISPANIC: For U.S. governmental purposes the terms are used interchangeably and defined as: “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.” The terms describe an ethnic group and not a race. Accordingly, on many federal forms, Hispanics/Latino/as can also express a racial identity on a separate race question. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the choice of terms is a matter of regional usage. “Hispanic is commonly used in the eastern portion of the United States, whereas Latino is commonly used in the western portion.” In addition, for many Latino is preferred as a term of self-naming, signifying identification with the empowerment movement of peoples who share a common history of colonialism and oppression.
- LESBIAN: “The term Lesbian originates from ancient Greece where the homosexual poet Sappho lived on the isle of Lesbos with other Greek women. It is from this isle that the term originates. Homosexual women sometimes prefer the term Lesbian as opposed to the generic term "Gay." This term acknowledges the fact that homosexual women have different priorities and experiences than homosexual men.”
- LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trans-Gendered, Questioning
- MARGINALIZATION:The experience of groups who are denied political, economic and social equity in society, and hence, relegated to its margins. It can also refer to an individual who is rendered voiceless or irrelevant in particular social context.
- MINORITY: In the social sciences the term minority may be applied to those groups that are considered protected classes based on historical exclusion and discrimination. For EEO official reporting purposes and for purposes of the work force analysis required in Revised Executive Order No. 4, the term "minority" refers to Blacks, Hispanics, Alaskan Natives or American Indians, and Asian or Pacific Islanders. In general usage, it is commonly used to refer to people of color as in “minority community” and minority students.” Such labels are increasingly disfavored as they naturalize the “minor” political, economic, and social status to which people of color have been subjected. (See People of Color/Women of Color)
- MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (MBE): A business that is majority owned/operated/controlled by one or more member of an officially defined racial or ethnic minority group.
- MISOGYNY: “An aggravated form of male sexism. Hatred of women.”
- MULTICULTURAL: Arising from or informed by cultural heterogeneity. As a description of pedagogical practices, it encompasses classroom strategies, content inclusion, institutional policies, as well as values that challenge some or all aspects of “monocultural” educational environments. Goals for multicultural education vary along a continuum that includes demographic inclusion, student empowerment, intergroup understanding, educational equity, and social transformation.
- NATIVE HAWAIIAN OR OTHER PACIFIC ISLANDER: “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. (The term "Native Hawaiian" does not include individuals who are native to the State of Hawaii by virtue of being born there.) In addition to Native Hawaiians, Guamanians, and Samoans, this category would include the following Pacific Islander groups reported in the 1990 census: Carolinian, Fijian, Kosraean, Melanesian, Micronesian, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Papua New Guinean, Ponapean (Pohnpelan), Polynesian, Solomon Islander, Tahitian, Tarawa Islander, Tokelauan, Tongan, Trukese (Chuukese), and Yapese.”
- NONRESIDENT ALIEN: A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely.
- OPPRESSION: A system of individual, institutional, and cultural beliefs and practices that privilege a dominant group at the expense of the subordinate groups. (See Discrimination, Isms, Privilege)
- OUT: “To disclose a person's sexual orientation to another person. To be open regarding one's sexual orientation in a given situation [as in coming out of the closet].” (See Coming Out, Closet) 
- PARITY: The proportional distribution of desirable outcomes, or equity, across groups. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes, while equality can simply mean equal treatment. Where individuals or groups are dissimilarly situated, equal treatment may be insufficient for or even detrimental to equitable outcomes. An example is individualized educational accommodations for students with disabilities, which treat some students differently in order to ensure their equitable access to education. (See Equity)
- PASSING: Passing refers to the concealment of subordinate group membership in order to access the psychological and material benefits of membership in the dominant group. Passing is not available to all members of subordinate groups, particularly those who bear easily discernable markers of their group, such as dark skin color, breasts, or physical disabilities. A popular theme in African American literature and films, passing is sometimes motivated by feelings of shame and self-loathing stemming from the internalization of subordinate status in a system of oppression. As such it can sever familial and community ties, provoking feelings of abandonment and resentment. At other times, however, it may be employed as a subterfuge for the purposes of disrupting the mechanisms of oppression. In either case, it should not be confused with cross-dressing, the performance of transgression of gender norms or with blackface minstrelsy, which seeks to reinforce the boundaries of whiteness through the exaggeration of contrasts with its inverse, blackness. (See Internalized Oppression, Whiteness)
- PEOPLE OF COLOR/WOMEN OF COLOR: The term “of color” embraces Black, Asian, Latino, and indigenous peoples both within the U.S. and transnationally, whose collective marginalization as “colored” peoples and colonial subjects informs coalition politics that cut across many issues. In contrast to the label “minority,” which carries negative connotations, “of color,” is an example of self-naming that is positively associated with a politics of empowerment. (See Minority)
- PREJUDICE: A preconceived judgment or bias. A prejudice can be positive or negative. Prejudice is commonly conflated with the larger systems of oppression, such as racism, of which it is only a part. Prejudice is not merely a phenomenon of individual bias. It can also be understood as the bias that is built into facially neutral institutional policies and procedures as well as seemingly innocuous cultural values in ways that reproduce inequity.
- PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Described as “a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. The prison industrial complex …is a confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum.”
- PRIVILEGE: Privilege is best understood as the systematic advantage that is conferred to one group at the expense of another. The function of hegemony is to rationalize privilege as natural, legitimate, and earned. Hence privilege goes unnamed while its effects, described by such euphemistic terms as “under-privilege” and “disadvantage,” are often blamed on individual misbehavior, character flaws, and cultural deficiencies. Terms such as white privilege, male privilege, and heterosexual privilege make explicit the relationship between privilege and the group for whom it is intended to function.
- PROTECTED CLASS: A protected class is a group that has been subjected to the documented past and continuing effects of illegal discrimination and whose civil rights, consequently, require legislative and legal reiteration and re-enforcement. In the U.S. protected classes include members of certain racial and ethnic groups, women, persons over 40, qualifying veterans, and persons with disabilities. The protections for which they are explicitly named are frequently misconstrued as “special” rights that are unavailable to other groups. In fact, they are merely an extension of equal protection to them of rights that are guaranteed to all citizens. (See Discrimination)
- QUEER: “In the past few years, Queer has been adopted by many Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people as a strong, all-inclusive, confrontational, and political label for sexual minorities. It underscores and celebrates the dictionary definitions of ‘Differing from what is usual and ordinary; odd; singular; strange.’ When gay people identify themselves as queer, they are attempting to defuse a hostile label and throw it back in the face of their oppressors.”
- RACE A spurious taxonomy of human beings that assigns worth and status on the basis of phenotypic and cultural characteristics. Race is not a fixed, biological essence passed on thru the genes. Rather, according to Omi and Winant, who speak in terms of racial formation, it is “an unstable and ‘decentered’ complex of social meanings constantly being transformed by political struggle.”:
- RACIALIZE: To assign human worth and value and structure benefits on the basis of a racial taxonomy.
- RACISM: A system of oppression based on the social construction of a racial hierarchy, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions for the benefit of the dominant race at the expense of the others. (See Race)
- RACIST: A member of the group for which racism is structured. (See Isms, Privilege, Race, Racism)
- REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: “A) making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and (B) job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.”
- RETALIATION: An employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise "retaliate" against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination. The same laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability, as well as wage differences between men and women performing substantially equal work, also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination or participate in an employment discrimination proceeding.
- SAFE ZONE A safe zone refers to the programmatic efforts of an organization to ease the effects of heterosexism on its climate as well as to promote a sense of inclusion among all of its constituents. Elements may include educational programming as well as explicit symbols and other measures identifying persons with whom and places where those who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered or who are questioning their sexual identity can feel welcome.
- SEGREGATION: Segregation commonly refers to the system of racial exclusion created for the purpose of upholding a system of racial privilege for whites. Though de jure segregation is illegal, de facto segregation, particularly in housing and education, contributes to the perpetuation of racial disparities across many spheres. (See Integration)
- SEX: The division of a species on the basis of reproductive organs. Sex is not interchangeable with gender, which connotes social definitions of sex role assignments. (See Gender)
- SEXISM: A system of oppression based on social constructions of gender superiority and inferiority, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions for the benefit of the dominant sex at the expense of others. (See Isms)
- SEXIST: A member of the group for which systematic sex-based oppression is structured. (See Isms, Privilege, Racism)
- SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A form of illegal sex discrimination, sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
- SEXUAL IDENTITY: “Sexual Identity is the consistent and enduring sense of one's own sexuality and repeated sexual thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors. Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of whom one is sexually and romantically attracted to. The process of sexual identity is on-going.”
- SEXUAL ORIENTATION: “Sexual Orientation is defined as a predominant erotic attraction for the same or other sex, or for both sexes in varying degrees. Few, if any, obvious identifiable mannerism exists that distinguish between individuals of different sexual orientations. Sexual Orientation is not a choice, lifestyle or behavior, it is an inner sense of identity. Sexual Orientation is only one small aspect of a person's being.”
- TITLE IV (OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT): Provides for nondiscrimination in education on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. (See Civil Rights, Discrimination, Protected Class)
- TITLE VI (OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT): Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in the provision of benefits or services under federally assisted programs and activities including educational institutions. Employment is a factor under Title VI only where it is a primary objective of the federal assistance.
- TITLE VII (OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT): Federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. Federal financial assistance is not a factor.
- TITLE IX (OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972, AS AMENDED): Federal law prohibiting sex discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Covers both employees and students, as well as athletics, physical education, and counseling. Does not cover curriculum materials. Requires institutional self-evaluation and appointment of Title IX coordinators.
- TRANSGENDER: “A person whose core gender identity is different from their biological gender identity. A transgender person is someone who switches gender roles, whether it is once or many times.”
- TRIO: Under the US Department of Education guidelines, a person who is of the first generation in their family to attain a baccalaureate degree is eligible for a group of federally-funded fee grant programs, including Student Support Services (SSS), Upward Bound, and Talent Search.
- WHITE: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
- WHITENESS: Critical social theorists distinguish white as a racial category from the concept of whiteness as a locus of privilege that accrues to members of that category. In that sense, it describes an identity, an ideology, and a set of practices that perpetuate white racial dominance.
- WOMAN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (WBE): A business that is 51% or more woman-owned/operated/controlled.
- WOMANIST: A term coined by Alice Walker to describe the experiences and perspectives of black women, in contrast to those of white middle-class women on which feminism has been centered. Walker defined the term accordingly: “ 1. From womanish. (opp. of "girlish," i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color... Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered "good" for one... Responsible. In charge. Serious. 2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women's culture, women's emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women's strength... Committed to the survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not separatist, except periodically, for health." 
- WOMEN OF COLOR/PEOPLE OF COLOR: The term “of color” embraces Black, Asian, Latino, and Native peoples both within and outside the U.S., whose collective marginalization as “non-whites” informs coalition politics that cut across many issues. In contrast to the label “minority,” which carries negative connotations, “of color,” is an example of self-naming that is positively associated with a politics of empowerment. (See Minority)
Questions and suggestions about the terminology and definitions appearing in this Glossary may be referred to Cheryl Nunez, Vice Provost for Diversity at 513-745-3539 or via email.
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Adams, M, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, eds. “Classism Curriculum Design.” Felice Yeskel and Betsy Leondar-Wright. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. New York: Routledge, 1997, 233.
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Adams, Maurianne, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, eds. “Pedagogical Frameworks for Social Justice Education,” Maurianne Adams. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. New York: Routledge, 1997, 35-37.
 McCarthy, T. (1991). Ideals and Illusions: On Reconstruction and Deconstruction in Contemporary Critical Theory. Cambridge: The MIT Press as cited in Rage and Hope: Critical Theory at http://www.perfectfit.org/CT/ct1.html
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Adapted from http://www.crr.ca/divers-files/englossary-feb2005.pdf
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 “Coalition Building Among People of Color: A discussion with Angela Y. Davis and Elizabeth Martínez” in Enunciating Our Terms: Women of Color in Collaboration and Conflict Inscriptions 7 Editors: María Ochoa and Teresia Teaiwa © 1994, Center for Cultural Studies at
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Omi, Michael and Howard, Winant. Racial Formations. Aguirre, Jr., Adalberto and David V. Baker. Sources: Notable Selections in Race and Ethnicity. Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., 1995.
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Xavier University SafeZone Manual
 Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003.