The resources below, drawn from a variety of external sources, provide an entrée into many diversity, equity, and inclusion topics to help you on your own educational journey. These resources are intended to help you, through text, video, and more, who wish to elevate their own personal understanding of issues of race, class, religion, sexism, homophobia, disability, and much more.
Academic and Department Resources
Academic and Departmental Resources
The mission of Center Austria is to direct international student and faculty mobility between the University of New Orleans and universities in Austria. Center Austria promotes the communication and extension of Austrian and Central European culture through scholarly and artistic activities and academic partnerships.
The Undergraduate Research Program serves to engage freshmen and sophomores in the College of Sciences in cutting-edge research, providing funding for laboratory supplies and student wages.
The Intensive English Language Program at the University of New Orleans offers one of the most effective and diverse language programs in the United States. The IELP is designed especially for non-native English speakers who plan to study at an American university or who wish to improve their English for personal or professional reasons.
The Division of International Education provides international educational opportunities to the students, faculty, and staff of the University of New Orleans as well as to the public.
The Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies promotes understanding of New Orleans history, politics, culture and public policy issues, particularly civil rights, sponsoring and participating in events that bring together scholars on special topics relating to New Orleans.
The mission of the Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) is to provide national leadership to help ensure that English learners and immigrant students attain English proficiency and achieve academically.
Diversity and Inclusion Partners
MoMENtum provides students who identify as African-American males and first-generation students added supports to promote retention and graduation. The initiative includes workshops on leadership and life skills, and pairs current students with a faculty or staff mentor who will provide support and guidance for the students.
The University of New Orleans (UNO) is committed to providing for the needs of enrolled or admitted students who have disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
The University of New Orleans is a Military-Friendly Institution. Your military experience contributes significantly to this diversity, making you a valuable member of our student community.
The University of New Orleans' StudentSupport Services (SSS) program is a federally funded program offering FREE academic and non-academic support services to eligible UNO students who apply and are accepted to the SSS program.
In the Spring of 1984, a group of UNO faculty and staff met to plan UNO’s first Women’s History Week program. The success of this event led to a revival of the UNO Association for Women, an organization for students, faculty, and staff. As its first project, the Association sought to establish a campus women’s center. The Women’s Center serves the women students, faculty, and staff of UNO and women throughout the University.
Student Handbook and Policies
Self-Care when facing incidents of bias and campus climate concerns
Self-Care for student activists and advocates
When faced with social injustices, bias incidents, and controversial speakers, it is extremely difficult to cope and know what to do. Feeling overwhelmed with the current socio-political state, experiencing discrimination, or being impacted by contentious people or policies increases stress which remains correlated to negative mental health outcomes. During these times, it remains imperative that we take care of ourselves, take care of loved ones, and take care of our campus community.
It is essential for us to take action, engage in intentional self-care– to an extent and at the level you are ready to do so. By doing so, we support our personal and community holistic health. By reflecting, engaging, and taking action, we are making positive contributions to our mental and emotional health. Please remember that speaking up and acting in ways that are aligned with your values can take many different forms. And each step counts; small acts of self-care, and community-care make a big difference. Below are some suggestions and resources for actively coping with social injustices and hatred.
By educating ourselves and staying committed to building a community of care, we can make strides in creating a more connected and inclusive campus.
Reflect on who you are. We all have biased thoughts and beliefs. Look into your own biases and stereotypes. Explore your intersecting identities. Recognize where your privilege lies. Read about allyship and even better how to be an accomplice. Take BAM! Best Allyship Movement, an online training from the University of Florida that walks you through these steps. See the appendix for further educational tools.
Educate yourself about social injustices and speech that marginalizes communities that you are unfamiliar with or want to revisit. Be clear about what is unacceptable to you in their rhetoric. Sign-up for workshops, seminars, and discussions through the Diversity Engagement Center or wherever you can find them.
See the impact. Recognize when a bias incident or hate crime happens, understand how it hurts us all, leaving the community unsafe and on-guard. If you do not understand how communities or individuals have been harmed go back to the educate yourself step. Don’t rely on those in the community to educate you as they may be emotionally taxed and unable to give you the best they have to offer.
SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT against injustice. Do not merely be a bystander. Understand when and how to use your voice to be an activist or ally for yourself and others. Consider using the methods and strategies outlined here. Consider the 4 D’s of Bystander Intervention: Direct, Distract, Delegate, and Delay.
Allow your emotions to be. It is normal to have a wide range of emotions and reactions. Own your feelings. Recognize that they are normal and valid. Find a safe outlet to express your emotions. When others approach you remember that they do not know your emotional state and while it may be the 75th time someone has asked you the same question it is the first time that person has asked. On the flip side When approaching others remember they may be in a fragile or sensitive state and while it is your first time asking them a question it may be the 75th time someone asked them a question.
Set boundaries. Stay away from people and places that make you uncomfortable. Take breaks away from media and social media. Engage in and disengage from conversations as you need. Assert your needs and own your readiness especially if you feel judged for not being or acting a certain way. Listen to your instincts and remember that cultural mistrust -lack of trust in the mainstream culture due to experienced and historical oppression- has been a survival strategy for marginalized groups.
Tap into your resources. Connect with others who “affirm your humanity.” Join a student club/organization whose mission connects with your values and ideals. Get support from allies, accomplices, groups, and experts on campus including the Diversity Engagement Center and the International Center. When ready, make new connections by reaching out to people outside your own comfort zone.
Engage in conversations. Dialogue with others about uncomfortable topics such as issues of race, class, gender identity, religion and so forth. Educate others -- when you have the emotional capacity to do so -- about the negative impact of hate, bias, and discrimination. Share stories of acceptance, respect and unity. If comfortable, share your own personal experiences. Promote taking action.
Support your community. Engage in volunteering work. Show those who are targeted by biased messages that you are with them in solidarity. If you know about a bias incident or hate crime, show the target that you care by checking-in with, being an active bystander, and reporting the incident (if the target wishes).
Work to enhance the connection/unity within your community whether it is your hall, your student club/organization, or your department. Collaborate with a diverse set of student clubs/organizations and campus departments. Organize events that celebrate and educate about cultural differences, heritages, and lived experiences.
Work with leaders including deans, presidents, student leaders, residential advisors, campus police, faculty, university officials, and politicians. Encourage them to publicly address causes of hate and the wide-spread negative effect on the campus community.
Work with media. Ask for nuanced and thoughtful news coverage. Invite journalists to share stories that communicate the impact of hate at individual and community levels.
Find ways to speak up. Demonstrate, protest and show your opposition through diverse and positive means. Consider finding creative ways to be heard without giving controversial speakers the attention they seek.
Recommended TED Talks
Recommended TED talks
Culturally Competent Terminology
Culturally Competent Terminology Sheet
Ableism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in physical, mental and/or emotional ability; usually that of able‐bodied/minded persons against people with illness, disabilities or less developed skills.
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’s really about what happens after it is done wrong.
Acculturation: Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture; a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact. It should be noted that individuals from culturally diverse groups may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant culture.
African - A term people use to describe heritage for individuals who are from African countries but living in the Americas. Individuals are from various countries in Africa or usually second or third generation Americans in their families.
African American: Relating to the culture of African Americans. Refers to Black Americans born in the United States during and after slavery. It is not customarily an appropriate term for Africans living within the United States.
Age: Often defined by groups within decades or by age categories - children, adolescents, young adults, adults, older adults, elder adults.
Agent: Members of dominant social groups privileged by birth or acquisition who knowingly or unknowingly exploit and reap unfair advantage over members of the target groups.
American Indian: This is a designation assigned to Indigenous Peoples of the United States. This term originally came from Columbus' correspondence in the 15th Century mistaking the inhabitants of the Caribbean as Indians from India.
Anti-black: 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. The second form of anti-Blackness is the unethical disregard for anti-Black institutions and policies. This disregard is the product of class, race, and/or gender privilege certain individuals experience due to anti-Black institutions and policies. This form of anti-Blackness is protected by the first form of overt racism.
Anti-Racism: Defined as the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.
Anti‐Semitism: the fear or hatred of Jews, Judaism and related symbols.
Asexual: A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality.
Assigned sex: is a label that individuals are given at birth based on medical factors, including hormones, chromosomes, and genitals. When individuals’ sexual and reproductive anatomy doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male, they may be described as intersex.
Assimilation: To assume the cultural traditions of a given people or group; the cultural absorption of a minority group into the main cultural body
Bias Incident: a discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim to be motivated all or in part by race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation. To be considered an incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes.
Biracial: A term that describes people whose ancestry comes from multiple races, in this case two races.
Bisexual: A term used to identify someone who has romantic and/or sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with men and women, not necessarily at equal levels of attraction, and not necessarily simultaneously (a common stereotype). A bisexual person can also be defined as someone who has romantic and/or sexual feelings, attractions and/or relationships with people of any gender (rather than saying both genders).
Black: A term that is often used to describe U.S. citizens of African descent who have lived in North America for several generations. The term is also sometimes used to refer to people who belong to a racial group having dark skin especially of sub-Saharan African and or Caribbean origin residing in countries other than the U.S.
Caribbean: A native or inhabitant of a Caribbean country.
Caucasian: In North America, the term is commonly used to define a person of primarily European ancestry.
Central American: A native or inhabitant of a Central American country. Chicano - An American of Mexican descent.
Chicano: Mexican Americans have used the word “Chicano” to describe people of Mexican origin living in the United States since the early twentieth century. Originally wealthier Mexican-Americans used the term as a pejorative, a way to describe Mexican-Americans of lower social standing (likely with some racial overtones). But it wasn’t until the outbreak of the civil rights movement in the 1960s that the term “Chicano” became popular. Students walked out in protest at public schools from Crystal City, Texas, to East Los Angeles. The United Farm Workers under the leadership of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta held marches and led the Delano grape strike.
Cisgender: A person whose gender identity and expression is aligned with their biological sex/sex assigned at birth.
Color Blind: the belief in treating everyone “equally” by treating everyone the same; based on the presumption that differences are, by definition, bad or problematic and therefore best ignored (i.e., “I don’t see race, gender, etc.”).
Culture: An integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting, roles, relationships and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations; culture is always changing.
Culturally Appropriate: Exhibiting sensitivity to cultural differences and similarities, and demonstrating effectiveness in translating that sensitivity to action through organizational mission statements, communication strategies, and services to diverse cultures.
Cultural Appropriation: Theft of cultural elements for one’s own use, commodification, or profit — including symbols, art, language, customs, etc. — often without understanding, acknowledgement, or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant culture’s right to take other cultural elements
Cultural Competence: The ability of individuals to use academic, experiential, and interpersonal skills to increase their understanding and appreciation of cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between groups. Cultural competency implies a state of mastery that can be achieved when it comes to understanding culture. Encompasses individuals' desire, willingness, and ability to improve systems by drawing on diverse values, traditions, and customs, and working closely with knowledgeable persons from the community to develop interventions and services that affirm and reflect the value of different cultures.
Cultural Humility: A lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique. Cultural humility does not require mastery of lists of “different” or peculiar beliefs and behaviors supposedly pertaining to different cultures, rather it encourages to develop a respectful attitude toward diverse points of view.
Cultural Misappropriation: Cultural misappropriation distinguishes itself from the neutrality of cultural exchange, appreciation, and appropriation because of the instance of colonialism and capitalism; cultural misappropriation occurs when a cultural fixture of a marginalized culture/community is copied, mimicked, or recreated by the dominant culture against the will of the original community and, above all else, commodified. One can understand the use of “misappropriation” as a distinguishing tool because it assumes that there are 1) instances of neutral appropriation, 2) the specifically referenced instance is non-neutral and problematic, even if benevolent in intention, 3) some act of theft or dishonest attribution has taken place, and 4) moral judgement of the act of appropriation is subjective to the specific culture from which is being engaged.
Cultural sensitivity: Understanding the needs and emotions of your own culture and the culture of others.
Decolonization: Decolonization may be defined as the active resistance against colonial powers, and a shifting of power towards political, economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power that originate from a colonized nations’ own indigenous culture. This process occurs politically and also applies to personal and societal psychic, cultural, political, agricultural, and educational deconstruction of colonial oppression.
Disability: A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; the individual has a record of such an impairment; and the individual is being regarded as having such an impairment.
Diaspora: Diaspora is "the voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions...a common element in all forms of diaspora; these are people who live outside their natal (or imagined natal) territories and recognize that their traditional homelands are reflected deeply in the languages they speak, religions they adopt, and the cultures they produce.
Discrimination: 1) The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories. 2) [In the United States] the law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants' and employees' sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
East Asian: A term used to refer to an individual whose ancestry is Asian but more specifically from one of the nations of People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Mongolia.
Euro American - Relating to the culture of European Americans. An individual living in the United States with European ancestry.
Ethnic: Of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background.
Ethnicity: how one sees oneself and how one is “seen by others as part of a group on the basis of presumed ancestry and sharing a common destiny …” Ethnicity is the ethnic identity of a person which is ascertained by descent-based characteristics. Descent-based characteristics connote the traits which are connected to descent, i.e. genetically acquired traits and cultural or historical inheritance. Common threads that may tie one to an ethnic group include skin color, religion, language, customs, ancestry, and occupational or regional features. In addition, People belonging to this group share common traditions, history, language or dialect, culture, behavior, religion, physical appearance and similar other factors like geographical affiliation to a particular place, dressing style, food, beliefs, etc. Usually a combination of these features identifies an ethnic group. For example, physical appearance alone does not consistently identify one as belonging to a particular ethnic group.
Faith: The term is employed in a religious or theological context to refer to a confident belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a supreme being.
First Nations People: Individuals who identify as those who were the first people to live on the Western Hemisphere continent; people also identified as Native Americans.
Gay: A term that signifies same sex attraction, predominantly pertaining to men, though sometimes used by women-loving-women, and sometimes used as an umbrella term for a community identity that includes, gay, lesbian and bisexual persons.
Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, both, neither, or something else.
Gender Non-confirming: Gender expression or identity that is outside or beyond a specific culture or society’s gender expectations.
Hispanic: Direct ancestry from Hispanic, or Spanish-speaking countries. See also, Chicano, Latino/Latinx
Identity: Identity is whatever a person identifies with more, whether it be a particular country, ethnicity, religion, etc.
Immigrant: A person who resides in a nation, country, or region other than that of his/her origin. Also known as nonnative, outlander, outsider, alien, etc.
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. 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.
Indigenous: Originating from a culture with ancient ties to the land in which a group resides.
Intercultural: Term describing intergroup relations across cultural, social and personal identities. The term also refers to global citizenship in that multiple cultural, social and personal identities co-exist in most communities across the globe.
Interfaith: A term that refers to cooperative and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., "faiths") and spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional level with the aim of deriving a common ground in belief through a concentration on similarities between faiths, understanding of values, and commitment to the world.
Internalized racism: Internalized racism is the situation that occurs in a racist system when a racial group oppressed by racism supports the supremacy and dominance of the dominating group by maintaining or participating in the set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures and ideologies that undergird the dominating group's power. It involves four essential and interconnected elements: Decision-making - Due to racism, people of color do not have the ultimate decision-making power over the decisions that control our lives and resources. As a result, on a personal level, we may think white people know more about what needs to be done for us than we do. On an interpersonal level, we may not support each other's authority and power - especially if it is in opposition to the dominating racial group. Structurally, there is a system in place that rewards people of color who support white supremacy and power and coerces or punishes those who do not.
International: A term used in higher education to refer to students who are enrolled at institutions in the U.S. who are not citizens of the U.S., immigrants or refugees.
Intersectionality: A term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw that describes the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Intersex: One who is born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, and/or internal reproductive system that is not considered “standard” or normative for either the male or female sex.
Islamophobia: the fear or hatred of Muslims, Islam and related symbols.
Latin American: Person or persons from all of the Americas South of the United States (Central and South America).
Latino/a: Individual living in the United States originating from, or having a heritage relating to Latin America.
Latinx: A contested version of Latino/a in order to provide a gender neutral/inclusive option to describe people originating from, or having a heritage relating to Latin America.
Lesbian: A term that signifies same sex attraction, pertaining to women. A woman who has romantic and sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with other women.
Men: People who are not women or girls. Biological (male) or self-defined male members of the human species. Some female-to-male transgender or gender non-conforming individuals also identify as men.
Microaggression: A term used to describe 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.
Middle Eastern: A generally Euro American term used to refer to an individual whose ancestry is Western Asian and North African from the nations of Turkey, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates Bahrain, Qatar, and Yemen.
Minoritized populations: Groups that are different in race, religious creed, nation of origin, sexuality, and gender and as a result of social constructs thus creating systems of inequity or representation compared to other members or groups in society should be considered minoritized. A shift in language from minority which is described as a relatively small group of people, especially one commonly discriminated against in a community, society, or nation, differing from others in race, religion, language, or political persuasion: representatives of ethnic minorities”.
Model Minority: A term created by sociologist William Peterson to describe the Japanese community, whom he saw as being able to overcome oppression because of their cultural values. While individuals employing the Model Minority trope may think they are being complimentary, in fact the term is related to colorism and its root, anti-Blackness. The model minority myth creates an understanding of ethnic groups, including Asian Americans, as a monolith, or as a mass whose parts cannot be distinguished from each other. The model minority myth can be understood as a tool that white supremacy uses to pit people of color against each other in order to protect its status.
Multiracial: A term that describes people whose ancestry comes from multiple races, in this case more than two races.
Native American: Refers to the descendants of the various indigenous populations that occupied the land now designated America.
Nation of Origin: System of classification based on nation from which a person originates, regardless of the nation in which he/she currently resides.
Nationality: nationality means the identity of a large group of people having a legal connection and personal allegiance to a specific place, because of being born there. It indicates the country, where the individual is from and is the legal citizen.
Non-binary: People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, and more. None of these terms mean exactly the same thing – but all speak to an experience of gender that is not simply male or female.
Oppression: The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:
- the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,
- the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),
- genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and,
- members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct. Oppression = Power + Prejudice
Pansexual: A term referring to being attracted to persons without regard for sexual or gender identity. The term reflects notions of gender and sexual identities beyond binaries such as male or female, straight or gay and is used mainly by those who wish to express acceptance of all gender and sexual identity possibilities. Additional terms include omnisexual or pomosexual (postmodern sexuality).
People of color (POC): Often the collective term for referring to non-White racial groups. Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, e.g., “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through their own racial/ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate.
People of the Global Majority: Some critique the term POC because it centers whiteness as the norm, with all others “of color.” It can also fail to acknowledge the wide range of experiences felt by various communities, notably that Black and Indigenous folks are marginalized in unique ways. It may also imply that white folks are devoid of race, which is part of the ideology we are trying to overcome. Importantly, in an increasingly globalized movement and world, many people may not identify as POC as it’s a U.S. social and cultural construct that does not translate universally. There are still instances in which the term POC is appropriate and we will continue to use it in specific U.S. contexts. However, because of the reasons listed above, we are choosing to harness the globally inclusive spirit of a new term: People of the Global Majority.
The term People of the Global Majority has been adopted by many people to describe the majority of the world who consider themselves non-white. It highlights that despite the fact that POC are still sometimes called “minorities” in the U.S., they are actually the majority of the global population. Many people who live in countries outside the U.S. have a hard time accepting and identifying with the binary options we in the U.S. have set forth: you are either white or POC. It reinforces an imperialist tendency to say that one needs to be born in the U.S. in order to be considered white, despite the fact that many white folks from other countries face cultural- and race-based prejudice, e.g. white Latinx folks living in the U.S.
Persons with a disability: Many advocate for “people-first” language which emphasizes putting the person first and the disability second: for example, saying person with a spinal cord injury, or a person with a history of depression. Some disabled people, however, say the disability is not inside of them: they are not a “person with a disability.” Rather they are a “disabled person” – someone who is disabled by a world that is not equipped to allow them to participate and flourish. But they are a person either way. Avoid objectifying people referring to them as “the disabled”.
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, heterosexual 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.
Power: Power is unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualized as power over other individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change. Power may also be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one’s beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware.
Queer: An umbrella term that can refer to anyone who transgresses society's views of gender or sexuality. The definitional indeterminacy of the word Queer, its elasticity, is one of its constituent characteristics: "A zone of possibilities."
Questioning: The process of considering or exploring one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. A term used to refer to an individual who is uncertain of her/his sexual orientation or identity.
Race: There is an array of different beliefs about the definition of race and what race means within social, political and biological contexts. The following definitions are representative of these perspectives:
- A tribe, people or nation belonging to the same stock; a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinctive human type;
- Race is a social construct used to separate the world’s peoples. There is only one race, the human race, comprised of individuals with characteristics that are more or less similar to others;
- Evidence from the Human Genome project indicates that the genetic code for all human beings is 99.9% identical; there are more differences within groups (or races) than across groups.
- The IOM (Haynes & Smedley, eds., 1999) states that in all instances race is a social and cultural construct. Specifically a “construct of human variability based on perceived differences in biology, physical appearance, and behavior”. The IOM states that the traditional conception of race rests on the false premise that natural distinctions grounded in significant biological and behavioral differences can be drawn between groups.
Religion: 1. An organized belief system based on certain tenets of faith. 2. A belief in a supreme supernatural force or god(s).
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.
Sexual preference: The phrase, “sexual preference,” is generally used to suggest that being lesbian or gay is a choice and therefore curable. The term sexual orientation is the accurate description of an individual‘s enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex and is inclusive of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and heterosexual men and women. Use sexual orientation or affectional orientation instead.
Silencing: The conscious or unconscious processes by which the voice or participation of particular social identities is excluded or inhibited.
Special rights: Individuals frequently characterize civil rights and equal protection of the law for marginalized Americans as special rights in an attempt to energize opposition to anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws. Use equal rights or equal protection instead.
Socioeconomic status: The social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation. Examinations of socioeconomic status often reveal inequities in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control.
Social Identity: involves the ways in which one characterizes oneself, the affinities one has with other people, the ways one has learned to behave in stereotyped social settings, the things one values in oneself and in the world, and the norms that one recognizes or accepts governing everyday behavior.
South American: A native or inhabitant of a South American country.
South Asian: A term used to refer to an individual whose ancestry is Asian but more specifically from one of the nations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Southeast Asian: A term used to refer to an individual whose ancestry is Asian but more specifically with heritage from one of the nations of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Timor-Leste.
Spirituality: A term that can refer to an ultimate or immaterial reality; enabling a person to discover the essence of their being and of life/existence overall; or the deepest values and meanings by which people live; a term that has many meanings depending on who you ask.
Straight: Slang for heterosexual - a person who has romantic and sexual feelings, attractions and/or relationships with someone considered to be - the opposite gender
Target: Members of social identity groups who are discriminated against, marginalized, disenfranchised, oppressed, exploited by an oppressor and oppressor’s system of institutions without identity apart from the target group, and compartmentalized in defined roles.
Transgender: In the past, used as an umbrella term to describe a broad range of people who experience and express their genders differently from cultural norms. Increasingly, this adjective is used specifically to describe people whose gender identities do not match their sex designation at birth, such as people designated male at birth who identify as women. Some people no longer consider this an umbrella term. Many trans advocates avoid this adjective because it encourages usage of transgender as a noun, which many people consider offensive.
Veteran: Used, when regarding the military, to describe a former member of the armed forces.
White: An individual, generally not of Hispanic origin, with origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East. American use typically refers to people with European ancestry.
White Supremacy: White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.
Whiteness: 1. The term white, referring to people, was created by Virginia slave owners and colonial rules in the 17th century. It replaced terms like Christian and Englishman to distinguish European colonists from Africans and indigenous peoples. European colonial powers established whiteness as a legal concept after Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, during which indentured servants of European and African descent had united against the colonial elite. The legal distinction of white separated the servant class on the basis of skin color and continental origin. The creation of ‘whiteness’ meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of biological and social inferiority. 2. Whiteness itself refers to the specific dimensions of racism that serve to elevate white people over people of color. This definition counters the dominant representation of racism in mainstream education as isolated in discrete behaviors that some individuals may or may not demonstrate, and goes beyond naming specific privileges (McIntosh, 1988). Whites are theorized as actively shaped, affected, defined, and elevated through their racialization and the individual and collective consciousness’ formed with it (Whiteness is thus conceptualized as a constellation of processes and practices rather than as a discrete entity (i.e. skin color alone). Whiteness is dynamic, relational, and operating at all times and my myriad levels. These processes and practices include basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives and experiences purported to be commonly shared by all, but which are actually only consistently afforded to white people.
Women: People who are not men or boys. Biological (female) or self-defined female members of the human species. Some male-to-female transgender or gender non-conforming individuals also identify as women.
Xenophobia: the fear or hatred of foreigners.
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