Forever Green
Campaign for Northwest
A-Z Index

Diversity and Inclusion Glossary


The terms and definitions below are always evolving and changing and often mean different things to different people in different parts of the country.  They are provided below as a starting point for discussion and understanding.   

Allosexism: The system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses asexual people.

Allosexual: A sexual orientation generally characterized by feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality.

Allyship: The action of working to end oppression through support of, and as an advocate with and for, a group other than one’s own.

Androgyne: A person with masculine and feminine physical traits.

Aromantic: A romantic orientation generally characterized by not feeling romantic attraction or a desire for romance. Aromantic people can be satisfied by friendship and other non-romantic relationships.

Asexual: A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality. Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. Some asexual people do have sex. There are many diverse ways of being asexual.

BDSM: Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. BDSM refers to a wide spectrum of activities and forms of interpersonal relationships. While not always overtly sexual in nature, the activities and relationships within a BDSM context are almost always eroticized by the participants in some fashion. Many of these practices fall outside of commonly held social norms regarding sexuality and human relationships.

Bear Community: a part of the queer community composed of queer men similar in looks and interests, most of them big, hairy, friendly and affectionate.  The community aims to provide spaces where one feels wanted, desired, and liked.  It nourishes and values an individual’s process of making friends, of learning self-care and self-love through the unity and support of the community.  Bears, Cubs, Otters, Wolves, Chasers, Admirers and other wildlife comprise what has come to be known as the Brotherhood of Bears and/or the Bear community.  See also: Ursula

Bigender: Having two genders, exhibiting cultural characteristics of masculine and feminine roles

Biphobia: See Monosexism below.  Note: As a staff, we’ve been intentionally moving away from using words like "transphobic,” “homophobic,” and "biphobic" because (1) they inaccurately describe systems of oppression as irrational fears, and (2) for some people, phobias are a very distressing part of their lived experience and co-opting this language is disrespectful to their experiences and perpetuates ableism.  

Bisexual: A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and other genders, or towards people regardless of their gender.

BlaQ/BlaQueer: Folks of Black/African descent and/or from the African diaspora who recognize their queerness/LGBTQIA+ identity as a salient identity attached to their Blackness and vice versa. (T. Porter)   

Body Image: refers to how a person feels, acts, and thinks about their body. Attitudes about our own body and bodies in general are shaped by our communities, families, cultures, media, and our own perceptions. 

Body Policing: any behavior which (indirectly or directly, intentionally or unintentionally) attempts to correct or control a person's actions regarding their own physical body, frequently with regards to gender expression or size. (ASC Queer Theory)

Butch: A gender expression that fits societal definitions of masculinity. Usually used by queer women and trans people, particularly by lesbians. Some consider “butch” to be its own gender identity.

Cisgender: a gender identity, or performance in a gender role, that society deems to match the person’s assigned sex at birth.  The prefix cis- means "on this side of" or "not across." A term used to call attention to the privilege of people who are not transgender.

Cissexism/Genderism: The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people whose gender and/or gender expression falls outside of cis-normative constructs.  This system is founded on the belief that there are, and should be, only two genders & that one’s gender or most aspects of it, are inevitably tied to assigned sex. Within cissexism cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans*/ gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group.

Coming Out:  “Coming out" describes voluntarily making public one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It has also been broadened to include other pieces of potentially stigmatized personal information. Terms also used that correlate with this action are: "Being out" which means not concealing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, and "Outing, " a term used for making public the sexual orientation or gender identity of another who would prefer to keep this information secret.

Demisexual: Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity. Demisexuals are considered to be on the asexual spectrum, meaning they are closely aligned with asexuality

Drag King:  A person (often a woman) who appears as a man. Generally in reference to an act or performance.  This has no implications regarding gender identity.

Drag Queen:  A person (often a man) who appears as a woman. Generally in reference to an act or performance. This has no implications regarding gender identity.


Femme: Historically used in the lesbian community, it is being increasingly used by other LGBTQIA people to describe gender expressions that reclaim/claim and/or disrupt traditional constructs of femininity.

Gay:  A sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender.

Gender: A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.

Gender Expansive: An umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender expansive individuals include those who identify as transgender, as well as anyone else whose gender in some way is seen to be stretching the surrounding society’s notion of gender.

Gender Expression: How one expresses oneself, in terms of dress and/or behaviors.  Society, and people that make up society characterize these expressions as "masculine,” “feminine,” or “androgynous.”  Individuals may embody their gender in a multitude of ways and have terms beyond these to name their gender expression(s).

Gender Fluid: A person whose gender identification and presentation shifts, whether within or outside of societal, gender-based expectations. Being fluid in motion between two or more genders.

Gender Identity: A sense of one’s self as trans*, genderqueer, woman, man, or some other identity, which may or may not correspond with the sex and gender one is assigned at birth.

Genderism/Cissexism: The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people whose gender and/or gender expression falls outside of cis-normative constructs.  This system is founded on the belief that there are, and should be, only two genders & that one’s gender or most aspects of it, are inevitably tied to assigned sex. Within cissexism cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans*/ gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group.

Gender Non conforming (GNC):  people who do not subscribe to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society.

Gender Queer: A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant societal norm for their assigned sex, is beyond genders, or is some combination of them.

Gender Variant: A person who varies from the expected characteristics of the assigned gender.

Heteronormativity: A set of lifestyle norms, practices, and institutions that promote binary alignment of biological sex, gender identity, and gender roles; assume heterosexuality as a fundamental and natural norm; and privilege monogamous, committed relationships and reproductive sex above all other sexual practices.

Heterosexism:  The assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual.  Heterosexism excludes the needs, concerns, and life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people while it gives advantages to heterosexual people.  It is often a subtle form of oppression, which reinforces realities of silence and erasure.  

Heterosexuality: A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.

Homophobia:  See Heterosexism above. Note: As a staff, we’ve been intentionally moving away from using words like "transphobic,” “homophobic,” and "biphobic" because (1) they inaccurately describe systems of oppression as irrational fears, and (2) for some people, phobias are a very distressing part of their lived experience and co-opting this language is disrespectful to their experiences and perpetuates ableism.  

Homosexual/Homosexuality: An outdated term to describe a sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender.  Historically, it was a term used to pathologize gay and lesbian people.

Internalized oppression: The fear and self-hate of one’s own target/subordinate identity/ies, that occurs for many individuals who have learned negative ideas about their target/subordinate identity/ies throughout childhood.  One form of internalized oppression is the acceptance of the myths and stereotypes applied to the oppressed group.

Intersectionality: A term coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s to describe the way that multiple systems of oppression interact in the lives of those with multiple marginalized identities.  Intersectionality looks at the relationships between multiple marginalized identities and allows us to analyze social problems more fully, shape more effective interventions, and promote more inclusive advocacy amongst communities.

Intersex: Adjective used describe the experience of naturally (that is, without any medical intervention) developing primary or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society's definitions of male or female. Intersex is an umbrella term and there are around 20 variations of intersex that are included in this umbrella term.  Many visibly Intersex people are mutilated in infancy and early childhood by doctors to make the individual’s sex characteristics conform to society’s idea of what normal bodies should look like. Intersex people are relatively common, although society's denial of their existence has allowed very little room for intersex issues to be discussed publicly. Hermaphrodite is an outdated and inaccurate term that has been used to describe intersex people in the past.

Kink: (Kinky, Kinkiness) Most commonly referred to as unconventional sexual practices, from which people derive varying forms of pleasure and consensually play-out various forms of desire, fantasies and scenes.

Latinx: pronounced “La-TEEN-ex”, is a non-gender specific way of referring to people of Latin American descent. Other commonly known ways of referring to people of Latin American descent are Latinos, Latina, Latin@, Latino. The “x” at the end replaces “o” and “a” which have been gendered suffixes, it moves beyond terms like Latino/a & Latin@, which still reinforce a gender binary.  

Leather community: A community, which encompasses those who are into leather, sado-masochism, bondage and domination, uniform, cowboys, rubber, and other fetishes. Although the leather community is often associated with the queer community, it is not a "gay-only" community.

Lesbian: A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.

LGBT:  Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.  An umbrella term that is often used to refer to the community as a whole.  Our center uses LGBTQIA+ to intentionally include and raise awareness of Queer, Intersex and Asexual as well as myriad other communities under our umbrella.

LGBTQIA+ Allyship:  The practice of confronting heterosexism, sexism, genderism, allosexism, and monosexism in oneself and others out of self-interest and a concern for the well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people.  Is founded on the belief and believes that dismantling heterosexism, monosexism, trans oppression/transmisogyny/cissexism and allosexism is a social justice issue.

Microaggressions: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults about one’s marginalized  identity/identities.

Misgendering: Attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect/does not align with their gender identity.  Can occur when using pronouns, gendered language (i.e. “Hello ladies!”Hey guys”), or assigning genders to people without knowing how they identify (i.e. “Well, since we’re all women in this room, we understand…”).

MOGAI: An acronym that stands for “marginalized orientations, gender alignments, and intersex.” Is used by some in a similar way to the umbrella acronym: LGBTQIA.

Monogamy: Having only one intimate partner at any one time.

Monosexism: The belief in and systematic privileging of monosexuality as superior, and the systematic oppression of non-monosexuality.

Monosexual: People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for one gender only. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are the most well-known forms of monosexuality.

MSM: an abbreviation for men who have sex with men; they may or may not identify as gay.

Neutrois: A non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer or transgender umbrellas. There is no one definition of Neutrois, since each person that self-identifies as such experiences their gender differently. The most common ones are: Neutral-gender, Null-gender, Neither male nor female, Genderless and/or Agender.

Non-binary: A gender identity and experience that embraces a full universe of expressions and ways of being that resonate for an individual. It may be an active resistance to binary gender expectations and/or an intentional creation of new unbounded ideas of self within the world. For some people who identify as non-binary there may be overlap with other concepts and identities like gender expansive and gender non-conforming.

Nonmonosexual: people who are attracted to more than one gender.

Omnigender: Possessing all genders. The term is used specifically to refute the concept of only two genders.

Orientation: Orientation is one’s attraction or non-attraction to other people.  An individual’s orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their orientation.  Some, but not all, types of attraction or orientation include: romantic, sexual, sensual, aesthetic, intellectual and platonic.

Pansexual, Omnisexual: Terms used to describe people who have romantic, sexual or affectional desire for people of all genders and sexes.  

Phobia: In terms of mental/emotional wellness - a phobia is a Marked and persistent fear “out of proportion” to the actual threat or danger the situation poses, after taking into account all the factors of the environment and situation.  Historically this term has been used to inaccurately refer to systems oppression (i.e. homophobia has been used to refer to heterosexism.) As a staff, we’ve been intentionally moving away from using words like "transphobic,” “homophobic,” and "biphobic" because (1) they inaccurately describe systems of oppression as irrational fears, and (2) for some people, phobias are a very distressing part of their lived experience and co-opting this language is disrespectful to their experiences and perpetuates ableism.  

Polyamory/Polyam: Denotes consensually being in/open to multiple loving relationships at the same time. Some polyamorists (polyamorous people) consider “polyam” to be a relationship orientation. Sometimes used as an umbrella term for all forms of ethical, consensual, and loving non-monogamy.

Polygender, Pangender: Exhibiting characteristics of multiple genders, deliberately refuting the concept of only two genders.

Privilege: a set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific social group.  The concept has roots in WEB DuBois’ work on “psychological wage” and white people’s feelings of superiority over Black people.  Peggy McIntosh wrote about privilege as a white woman and developed an inventory of unearned privileges that she experienced in daily life because of her whiteness.

Pronouns: Linguistic tools used to refer to someone in the third person.  Examples are they/them/theirs, ze/hir/hirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his.  In English and some other languages, pronouns have been tied to gender and are a common site of misgendering (attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect.)

Queer:  One definition of queer is abnormal or strange. Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self identify as such. For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into norms/being “abnormal.” Manifestations of oppression within gay and lesbian movements such as racism, sizeism, ableism, cissexism, transmisogyny as well as assimilation politics, resulted in many people being marginalized, thus, for some, queer is a radical and anti-assimilationist stance that captures multiple aspects of identities.  

Questioning: The process of exploring one’s own gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. Some people may also use this term to name their identity within the LGBTQIA community.

Romantic Orientation: Romantic Orientation is attraction or non-attraction to other people characterized by the expression or non-expression of love.  Romantic orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their romantic orientation.  See also Orientation.

Same Gender Loving: a term used by some African American people who love, date, have attraction to people of the same gender.

Sex: a medically constructed categorization. Sex is often assigned based on the appearance of the genitalia, either in ultrasound or at birth.

Sexism: The cultural, institutional, and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and devalue ways of being that are associated with women.

Sexuality:  The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, etc.

Sexual Orientation: Sexual Orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction or non-attraction to other people.  Sexual orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation.  See also Orientation.

Social Identities: Social identity groups are based on the physical, social, and mental characteristics of individuals.  They are sometimes obvious and clear, sometimes not obvious and unclear, often self-claimed and frequently ascribed by others.

Spirituality: Having to do with deep feelings and convictions, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and understanding of the meaning and value of life; may or may not be associated with a particular set of beliefs or practices.

Stereotype: A generalization applied to every person in a cultural group; a fixed conception of a group without allowing for individuality. When we believe our stereotypes, we tend to ignore characteristics that don’t conform to our stereotype, rationalize what we see to fit our stereotype, see those who do not conform as “exceptions,” and find ways to create the expected characteristics.

Trans*: The asterisk placed after Trans has been used in many different ways. Some folks think of it as being more inclusive towards gender non-conforming and non-binary folks. But others have offered critique that it feels exclusionary towards GNC and non-binary folks for enforcing a binary expectation to “fill in the blank" for trans man or trans woman.  There have also been discussions/critique regarding the origin of the asterisk.

Trans man: A person may choose to identify this way to capture their gender identity as well as their lived experience as a transgender person.  Some trans men may also use the term FTM or F2M to describe their identity.

Transphobia:  See Cissexsim above. Note: As a staff, we’ve been intentionally moving away from using words like "transphobic,” “homophobic,” and "biphobic" because (1) they inaccurately describe systems of oppression as irrational fears, and (2) for some people, phobias are a very distressing part of their lived experience and co-opting this language is disrespectful to their experiences and perpetuates ableism.  

Trans woman: A person may choose to identify this way to capture their gender identity as well as their lived experience as a transgender person.  Some transwomen may also use MTF or M2F to describe their identity.

Transgender: Adjective used most often as an umbrella term, and frequently abbreviated to “trans.” This adjective describes a wide range of identities and experiences of people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from conventional expectations based on their assigned sex at birth. Not all trans people undergo medical transition (surgery or hormones).  Some commonly held definitions:

1. Someone whose determination of their sex and/or gender is not universally considered valid; someone whose behavior or expression does not “match” their assigned sex according to society.

2. A gender outside of the man/woman binary.

3. Having no gender or multiple genders.

Transition: An individualized process by which transsexual and transgender people “switch” from one gender presentation to another. There are three general aspects to transitioning: social (i.e. name, pronouns, interactions, etc.), medical (i.e. hormones, surgery, etc.), and legal (i.e. gender marker and name change, etc.). A trans* individual may transition in any combination, or none, of these aspects.

Two Spirit: “[This] term stems from the Ojibwe phrase niizh manidoowag and replaces the outdated, oversimplified term berdache, which appeared frequently in research and anthropological studies that aimed to describe the place of gay men in Native society in the 18th and early 19th centuries […] The phrase “two spirit” began to gain traction across Native America after 1990, when 13 men, women and transgender people from various tribes met in Winnipeg, Canada, with the task of finding a term that could unite the LGBTQ Native community. […]For me, the term ‘two spirit’ resists a Western definition of who we are and what we should be. Two spirit [people] are integral to the struggle of undoing the impacts of historical trauma, because our roles in tribes historically were part of the traditions taken away from us with Westernization.” - Zachary Pullin (Chippewa Cree), May/June 2014 Issues of Native Peoples. There are a variety of definitions and feelings about the term “two spirit” – and this term does not resonate for everyone.  

Ursula: Some lesbians, particularly butch dykes, also participate in Bear culture referring to themselves with the distinct label Ursula.

Womyn/Womxn: some womyn spell the word with a “y” or an “x” as a form of empowerment to move away from the “men” in the “traditional” spelling of women.

Racial and Ethnic Identity

African American – Black

North American people of African ancestry (some prefer Black and others prefer African American).

Note: Negro and Afro-American have become dated – “inappropriate” (per APA 6th). Also, “language that essentializes or reifies race is STONGLY DISCOURAGED as it portrays human groups monolithically” (APA, p. 75). Ex. Black race and White race are essentialist.


Often used as a proxy for non-White racial and ethnic groups. 

Note: This usage may be viewed pejoratively because minority is usually equated with being less than, oppressed, and deficient in comparison with the majority (i.e., Whites). Use a modifier, such as ethnic or racial when using the word minority. When possible, use the actual name of the group or groups to which you are referring (APA, p. 75).

Black and White

Racial and ethnic groups are designated by proper nouns and are capitalized. Therefore, use Black and White instead of black and white. THE USE OF COLORS TO REFER  TO OTHER HUMAN GROUPS CURRENTLY IS CONSIDERED PEJORATIVE AND  SHOULD NOT BE USED (per APA 6th).

Hispanic, Latino, Chicano

Depending on where a person is from, individuals may prefer to be called Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, or some other designation; Hispanic is not necessarily an all-encompassing term.  In general, naming a nation or region of origin is helpful; e.g., Cuban, Salvadoran, or Guatemalan is more specific than Central American or Hispanic (APA, p. 75).

Indigenous Peoples

American Indian, Native American, and Native North American are all accepted for referring to indigenous peoples of North America.  When referring to groups including and Samoans, the broader designation Native Americans may be used.

Asian or Asian American

The term Asian or Asian American is preferred to the older term Oriental.

It is generally useful to specify the name of the Asian subgroup: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Pakistani, and so on.  People of Middle Eastern descent may also be identified by nation of origin: Iraqi, Lebanese, and so forth (APA, p. 76).


  • Use language that focuses on the person, not the disability
  • Always put the person before the disability
  • Use language that emphasizes abilities rather than limitations
  • Avoid negative or value-laden terms that overextend the severity of a disability
  • Do not label people by their disability
Use Don't Use
Person with a disability the disabled
Employees with disabilities
A person with cerebral palsy
Barbara uses a wheelchair for mobility Robert is confined to a wheelchair
Marcy is living with epilepsy Marcy is afflicted with epilepsy
Individuals with schizophrenia Schizophrenics

Concepts and Terms


A cluster of particular related beliefs, values, and opinions.
Avoidance rationalization
A response to a social problem – such as injustice toward a minority group – that acknowledges the existence of a problem but avoids confronting the problem by offering partial or false solutions or by using arguments that do not address the situation as in “Yes, but you should have seen how bad it was last year.


Inferences a person makes about reality that take one of three forms: descriptive, evaluative, or prescriptive.
A preference or inclination, favorable or unfavorable, that inhibits impartial judgment.
Extreme negative attitudes leading to hatred of a group and persons regarded as members of the group.
Binary thinking
An either/or way of thinking about concepts or realities that divides them into two mutually exclusive categories (white/black, man/woman, reason/emotion, heterosexual/homosexual.


A body of knowledge and/or scholarly works meant to represent the traditions of a particular academic discipline or area of inquiry.
Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)
An educational leader designated to address diversity initiatives in colleges and universities (Metzler, 2008). CDO professionals serve as change agents, advocating for equity in all areas of minoritized populations.
The act of assigning economic values to land, products, services, and ideas that are bought and sold in marketplaces as commodities (in capitalist political economies).
Confirmation bias
Believing information that reinforces beliefs already held and ignoring information that contradicts these beliefs.
Exercises designed to help individuals or groups become more aware of the workings of political, social, economic, and/or cultural issues in their everyday lives.
Containment strategies
Strategies that aim to silence those who speak out against or in other ways resist oppression (ex. racial segregation and surveillance).


The unseating of those who occupy centers of power, as well as the knowledge that defends their power. Typically applied to elite White male power, the concept of decentering can apply to any type of group-based power.
Derisive labels
Names that reflect attitudes of contempt or ridicule for individuals in the group being named.
Actions or practices carried out by a member or members of dominant groups or their representatives that have a differential and negative impact on a member or members of subordinate groups.
Diversity Learning Environment (DLE)
A theoretical framework that examines the intersection of the individual, organizational, and institutional levels in relation to campus climate for diversity. DLE is the current adopted model for diversity learning at Northwest because of its potential to connect with three major levels that relate to campus climate. Further, the model aligns with the NW Strategic Plan, especially SO3.
The presence of human beings with perceived or actual differences based on a variety of human characteristics (Koppelman, 2014, p. 15).
Concept of Diversity
Includes minority groups as well as groups identified according to differences based on age, marital status, parental status, educational status, geographic location, physical characteristics, and other factors that influence individual personality and behavior (Koppelman, 2014, p. 15).
To accept beliefs one has been taught without questioning them.


Identification of an individual according to his or her national origin and/or distinctive cultural patterns.
Exceptionalistic perspective
Views social problems as private, local, unique, exclusive, and unpredictable, a consequence of individual defect, accident, or unfortunate circumstance, which requires that all proposed remedies be tailored to fit each individual case.
Everyday racism
Practices of everyday lived experience that discriminate against people of color but that, because they are so routine, typically go unnoticed or remain unidentified as racism.


The deliberate and systematic extermination of a particular nationality, or racial, ethnic, or minority group.


Identity politics
A form of political resistance in which an oppressed group rejects its devalued status and claims its difference as positive. Also, a way of knowing that sees concrete, lived experiences as important to creating knowledge and crafting political strategies.
Instruction whose purpose is to force the learner to accept a set of values or beliefs, to adopt a particular ideology or perspective.
Institutionalized racism
The combination of practices whereby people of color as a group or class receive differential treatment within schools, housing, employment, health care, and other social institutions. Unlike bias and prejudice, which are characteristics of individuals, institutionalized racism operates through the everyday rules and customs of social institutions.
Interest theory
People engaging or acquiescing in discriminatory actions based on a desire to protect their power or privilege.
An analysis claiming that systems of race, economic class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation, and age form mutually constructing features of social organization.


Minority group
A subordinate group whose members have significantly less power to control their own lives than do members of a dominant, or majority, group.


Refers to the nation in which an individual has citizenship status.
Organic intellectual
A thinker who emerges from an oppressed group and reflects its concerns and interests.


Outsider-within locations
Social locations or border spaces marking the boundaries between groups of unequal power. Individuals acquire identities as “outsiders within” by their placement in these social locations.
Non-minority Ally (NMA)
An individual who allies and advocates for an oppressed or minoritized group for which s/he is not a member.


A negative attitude toward a group and persons perceived to be members of that group; being predisposed to behave negatively toward members of a group.


A social concept with no scientific basis that categorizes people according to obvious physical differences such as skin color.
Racially coded language
Language without an explicit reference to race but embedded with racial meaning nonetheless.
Racial profiling
People in authority taking actions against members of racial or ethnic groups based on assumptions that these groups are more likely to engage in criminal activity.
Racial solidarity
The belief that members of a racial group have common interests and should support those interest above the interests of members of other racial groups.
A system of unequal power and privilege in which human beings are divided into group or races, with social rewards being unevenly distributed to groups based on their racial classification. Variations of racism include institutionalized racism, scientific racism, and everyday racism. In the United States, racial segregation constitutes a fundamental organizing principle of racism.
Rhetoric of color blindness
A view of the world that resists talking of race because to do so is believed to perpetuate racism. This rhetoric is necessary for tolerance to emerge as the way people should treat one another across differences.


Scientific racism
A specific body of knowledge about Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Whites, ad Latinos produced within biology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other academic disciplines. Designed to prove the inferiority of people of color.
The power to name one’s own reality.
Social Justice
“The degree to which a society maintains social institutions necessary to oppose oppression and domination (Young, 1990, p. 37).
Standpoint theory
A social theory arguing that group locations in hierarchical power relations produces shared experiences for individuals in those groups, and that these common experiences can foster similar angles of vision leading to a group knowledge or standpoint deemed essential for informed political action.
A positive or negative trait or traits ascribed to a certain group and to most members of that group.
Stereotype threat
The apprehension experienced by members of a minority group that they might behave in a manner that confirms an existing cultural stereotype.
Subjugated knowledge
The secret knowledge generated by oppressed groups. Such knowledge typically remains “hidden” because revealing it weakens its purpose of assisting oppressed groups in dealing with oppression. Subjugated knowledges that resist oppression become oppositional knowledge.
Oppositional knowledge
A type of knowledge developed by, for, and/or in defense of an oppressed group’s interests. Ideally, it fosters the group’s self-definition and self-determination.

Surveillance:A strategy of control whereby people’s words and actions are constantly watched or recorded.


Testimonial discourse (familial, public, or competitive discourses)
The affirmation and/or challenge of values and expectations of listeners/readers/viewers. Similar to narrative and counter-narrative (competitive discourse) story sharing. In DLE instructions, this area falls into the PATHOS area. Visual testimonial discourses might include tattoos (tell me your story – I’ll tell you mine); videos such protest performances by Kendrick Lamar or Beyonce’s Police Protest, while resistance to these performances serve as competitive discourses.


Universalistic perspective
Views social problems as public, national, general, inclusive, and predictable; a consequence of imperfect and inequitable social arrangements that require research to identify their patterns and causes so that remedial institutional action can be taken to eliminate these problems and prevent them from reoccurring.


Combinations of attitudes that generate action or the deliberate choice to avoid action.
Victim-blaming rationalization
A response to a social problem – such as injustice toward a minority group – that identifies the problem as a deficiency in the minority group and not a society