MCW Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Glossary

A commitment to inclusion ensures that MCW’s diversity is a source of strength in achieving excellence in our missions and fostering the health of the local and global communities we serve. But to benefit from our diversity, we need a shared language that helps us integrate our differences and thrive through the energy and innovation that we co-create. This glossary provides a set of shared definitions and concepts aligned with MCW institutional and school strategies, our formal codes for our treatment of each other, and our policies that codify our practices.
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Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Glossary

Prejudice toward or unfair treatment of people with disabilities

Ally ship
The lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people; a person who supports the LGBTQ+ community

Displaying physical and social characteristics identified in this culture as both feminine and masculine

Anti-Racist Institution
An institution that has committed to identifying and changing its role in the systemic accumulation of disadvantages for one group(s) to the advantage of another group(s), based on persisting racist beliefs, with a sustained focus on racism that impacts BIPOC

Hostility to or prejudice against Jews

A person who does not experience sexual attraction towards others, or who has limited sexual interest or desire for others. Asexual people often refer to themselves as “Ace.”

Assigned Sex
The sex recorded on a person’s birth certificate. A person’s assigned sex is determined by a cursory visual inspection of an infant’s external genitalia and may or may not be congruent with the person’s gender identity or with other biological markers of sex such as chromosomes and internal reproductive structures.

Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Unconscious or implicit bias refers to biases that we carry without awareness. To learn more about implicit bias and to take an implicit association test online, visit the Project Implicit website.

Bisexual Individual
A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree

Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)
See People of Color. “Two letters, for Black and Indigenous, were included in the acronym to account for the erasure of Black people with darker skin and Native American people,” according to Cynthia Frisby, a professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Its use is still evolving and contested by some activists. View The New York Times article "Where Did BIPOC Come From"

Cisgender Individual (Cis)
A term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth

Coercion occurs when a person is persuaded to do something by force or use of threats or intimidation

Cultural Competence
The capacity to function effectively with various cultures and successfully navigate a multicultural, global society. On an organizational level, it assumes the capacity to creatively utilize a diverse workforce for meeting business goals, achieving the mission and enhancing performance.

Cultural Humility
The “ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the person.” Cultural humility is different from other culturally based training ideals because it focuses on self-humility rather than achieving a state of knowledge or awareness.

Cultural Sensitivity
Basic and obvious respect for human differences. Demonstration of respect and appreciation among individuals and groups with cultural differences from our own.

Shared attitudes, values, beliefs, practices, goals, aesthetic standards, linguistic expression, patterns of thinking, behavioral norms and styles of communication which a group of people has developed to assure its survival in a particular environment and characterize a group

An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

Discrimination may occur when employment or academic decisions are threatened or made, implicitly or explicitly, based upon race, sex, age, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis prohibited by law or regulation. All decisions are made with a legitimate business or educational purpose and rationale. Also see Prejudice.

The dimensions of human physiological, psychological and social differences that make us who we are and influence the nature of social relations. Fully engaging and benefiting from human diversity requires equitable conditions and a culture of inclusion.

A state of unease or dissatisfaction. “Gender dysphoria” is a term used to describe the distress and discomfort that occurs when one’s emotional and psychological gender identity does not align with the gender they were assigned at birth and are sometimes continually assigned socially. “Body dysphoria” (different from dysmorphia) is when this discomfort applies to one’s body. A person does not have to experience body dysphoria to be trans, and body dysphoria is not experienced in the same way for every trans person.

Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.

The assurance of conditions for optimal access and opportunity for all people, with particular focus on promoting policies, practices and cultural messages that eliminate differential negative outcomes for people from historically subordinated groups

A group of people who share a common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic or cultural origin or background

A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender

A term used to define either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.

Gender Expression
How a person expresses their gender through clothing and accessories, grooming, speech, body language, social interactions and other behaviors

Gender Fluid
See definition for Non-Binary/Gender Fluid.

Gender Identity
An individual’s inner sense of their own gender, of being male, female, something in between or any other gender

Gender Neutral
Words or expressions that cannot be taken to refer to a specific gender and include terms like they, them and theirs

Gender Neutral/Inclusive Pronouns
Gender neutral pronouns, such as zie, zim, zieself, that are used to show respect to individuals and groups whose gender identity is non-binary, non-conforming or fluid

Harassment may occur whenever unwelcome verbal or nonverbal conduct, comments, touching, teasing, joking or intimidation is occurring and based on any of the behaviors, interferes with work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Health Equity
Health equity occurs when everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged in achieving their potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstances.

A technical term for a person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender

A myriad of behaviors, beliefs and attitudes ranging from hatred, discomfort, fear, erasure, violence against/toward people who identify or are perceived as gay, lesbian or queer that manifest interpersonally, institutionally and systemically

A term that is no longer used; refers to a person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender

Inclusion (Organizational Inclusion)
The co-creation and continual nurturing of a culture in which all people experience respect, belonging, access to opportunity, and influence through the integration of many cultural backgrounds, ideas, perspectives and approaches to the work. An inclusive culture can produce learning, innovation, excellence and mutual benefit throughout the missions of MCW and the communities we serve.

Inclusive leadership
Leadership that assures that all community members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued and sense that they belong, and are confident and inspired

An umbrella term used to describe a wide range of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. In some cases, these traits are visible at birth, and in others, they are not apparent until puberty. In most cases, these individuals have historically been assigned a binary sex identity (male or female).

Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force

Destructive attitudes or beliefs, such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism and other forms of oppression based in power and prejudice about human differences

Two of the many acronyms used to refer to the community of individuals who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. The first stands for "Lesbian, Gay/Genderqueer/Genderfluid, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, and ansexual/Panromantic/Pangender."

A woman who is primarily (perhaps exclusively) attracted to other women, emotionally, romantically or sexually

A term coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he regularly witnessed non-Black Americans inflict on African Americans. In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe extended the term to include similar aggressions directed at women, and those of different abilities, religions, disabled and other social identity groups. Psychologist Derald Wing Sue, who has done considerable research on the phenomenon, defines microaggressions as "brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership." This process is often unconscious and may be unintentional.

Proactively affirming the efforts and achievements of others. Actions include affirming the achievements of others, appreciative inquiry, recognition and validation of experiences and feelings, reinforcing and rewarding positive behaviors, intentional inclusion, ameliorating damage, meeting a core emotional concern, evoking reciprocal affirmation, creating a role-modeling effect, and rectifying our own unconscious bias.

In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe used this term to distinguish microaggressions from injurious behavior that did not seem "aggressive," but possibly stemming from (what we now call) unconscious bias, and from negligence and even "innocent ignorance." Currently, microinequities are understood to be subtle, often unconscious, messages that devalue, discourage and impair workplace performance. They are conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, choice of words, nuance and syntax. Microinequities, micro-affirmations and micro-advantages all fall within the broader category of what is termed micro-messaging.

A type of gender-based oppression founded in the belief that women are inferior to and must remain subordinate to men; "misogyny" literally means "hatred of women." It is predicated upon the binary gender system. Misogyny, and societal acceptance of it, can be blamed for men's violence against women and girls (including trans women); discrimination against women in employment, education, and politics; lack of appropriate health care for women; and continuing unequal divisions of labor in the home, among many other social inequities.

A descriptive term to characterize the fact of diversity in a society that is often used prescriptively to characterize the moral and political claims of a wide range of marginalized groups, including African Americans, women, LGBT people and people with disabilities (Glazer 1997, Hollinger 1995, Taylor 1992)

The country of a person’s citizenship or country in which the person is deemed a national

Non-Binary/Gender Fluid
An umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine; i.e., a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories.

A system of structured inequality where goods, services, rewards and benefits are available to individuals based on their social identity group

Someone who experiences emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree

People of Color (POC)
A phrase used to identify people who are Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous peoples – not to be confused with “colored” (a pejorative because of its historical context); the phase now frequently is used instead of “minority”. View NPR article "The Journey From 'Colored' To 'Minorities'

People with a Disability (PWD)
Dictionary of Terms Relating to People with a Disability (PDF); note this resource is from 2003 and language evolves

Macmillan Dictionary terms related to disability and people with a disability

Favorable or unfavorable prejudgment of people based on their group identity, often using one’s own or one’s own group standards as the “right” and “only” way

A social process that enables one to receive unearned rights, rewards, benefits, access, opportunities and advantages conferred because of a dominant social group status and without regard to achievement. Privilege is often experienced unconsciously. For example, a physically able individual would be able to manage his or her day without concern for accessibility. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly regarding age, disability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and/or social class. Substantial research exists examining this construct with noted limitations in the use of the term, such as its tendency to conflate disparate groups.

The ability or authority to make decisions regarding access to goods or services, how resources are allocated, and the quality of life for others based on one’s identity or position in a social structure

An umbrella term to describe one who expresses fluid sexual/gender identities and orientations; often used interchangeably with "LGBTQ." Individuals from this community are typically the only ones to use this term.

A group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group

Racial Equity
Full participation and access to the benefits and institutions of society free from discrimination for all people; these include health care, education, safe and affordable neighborhoods, sustainable employment and the right to vote.

Racial Justice
Analyzing the norms, policies and structures that perpetuate racism to strengthen practices and attitudes that produce equitable opportunities and treatment for all

Racial Socialization
The developmental processes by which children acquire the behaviors, perceptions, values and attitudes of an ethnic group, and come to see themselves and others as members of the group. This term has is interchangeably with ethnic or cultural socialization.

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another which results in discrimination and prejudice towards people because of their race or ethnicity combined with the power to discriminate against those thought to be inferior through systemic means.

Racism – Institutional
These are discriminatory treatments, unfair policies or biased practices based on race that result in inequitable outcomes for whites over people of color and extend beyond prejudice. These institutional policies often never mention any racial group, but the intent is to create advantages. Sometimes used synonymously with systemic, structural or organizational racism.

Racism – Structural
Structural racism refers to a system of social structures that produces cumulative, durable, race-based inequalities. It is also a method of analysis used to examine how historical legacies, individuals, structures and institutions work interactively to distribute material and symbolic advantages and disadvantages along racial lines.

Racism – Systematic
Systematic racism is a set of practices that discriminate based on race.

Racism – Systemic
Systemic racism is a system that has racism inherent in how it operates.

Sexual Orientation
Describes an interpersonal perspective regarding to whom a person is physically, emotionally or sexually attracted

Social Justice
Elimination of oppression and the “isms” to create a full and equal participation of all groups in a society where the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and emotionally safe and secure

A cognitive bias that assumes individuals’ traits to apply to a larger social group. It can be positive or negative and is formulaic and oversimplified notion to predict certain aspects of an individual’s skills or behaviors.

Stereotype Threat
A situational predicament in which individuals are at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their group. It is the resulting sense that one might be judged in terms of negative stereotypes about one’s group instead of on personal merit. Research over the past 15 years has shown that stereotype threat contributes to low performance among African Americans, Latinos, the economically disadvantaged and among women in math and science.

A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender

A term used to describe people who identify with the physical characteristics, roles, behaviors and/or desires of a gender different from the one associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation.

Unconscious Bias (Implicit Bias)
A bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes that often operates at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control. Measurement of this construct has largely been the work of social psychology researchers Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji who asserted that the idea of implicit and explicit memory can apply to social constructs such as race and gender. The widely used Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory. View Harvard University's Project Implicit website

Underrepresented Groups
Groups who have traditionally not had equal access to economic opportunities because of discrimination or other societal barriers. This may vary by context and geography but can include race, gender, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, disability or low-income status.

White Supremacy
“… A political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.” (Gillborn, D., 2006)

The way that white people, their customs, culture and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups of are compared. Whiteness is also at the core of understanding race globally. Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout history has created a culture where people who are not identified as white, or like whites are seen as inferior or abnormal. Persons who identify as white rarely think about their racial identity because they live within a culture where whiteness has been normalized.

The fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners

References and Resources

Community Organizations Offering Events,  Support, Resources, and Engagement