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KEY EQUITY TERMS & CONCEPTS:A Glossary for Shared UnderstandingSEPTEMBER 2019WWW.CSSP.ORG

INTRODUCTIONDeveloping a shared language for thoughtful discussion about equity is critical for all of our work.This glossary of key terms includes many words and concepts that are foundational and relevant toCSSP's work.This is a living document.Just as our work has evolved over our history, so too does language and thinking on race, equity,and justice evolve over time. We will update this document as our thinking and thinking in the fieldchanges, and will note any time that we have made changes.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis glossary was compiled by a workgroup of CSSP staff, led by Maya Pendleton. Members of theworkgroup in alphabetical order: Ali Jawetz, Ann Nguyen, Charlyn Harper Brown, E Feinman, EmilyVerburg, Juanita Gallion, Miguel Amaguana, and Taysha Milagros Clark.This report is in the public domain. Permission to reproduce is not necessary provided proper citation of CSSP is made. Original publication, September 2019.SUGGESTED CITATIONCSSP (2019). “Key Equity Terms and Concepts: A Glossary for Shared Understanding.” Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Social Policy. Available at: s/.NOTE: Citation information for all terms and concepts can be foundat the conclusion of this document.2 Center for the Study of Social Policy

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONAbleismA set of beliefs or practices at the individual, community, or systemiclevel that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption thatdisabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other.AccessibilityThe extent to which a space is readily approachable and usable by people with disabilities. A space can be described as a physical or literalspace, such as a facility, website, conference room, office, or bathroom,or a figurative space, such as a conversation or activity.AffirmTo acknowledge, respect, value, and support someone’s full identity andself—including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, experiences, ideas, beliefs, etc.—and to encourage the development and exploration of who they are.Anti-Black RacismAny attitude, behavior, practice, or policy that explicitly or implicitlyreflects the belief that Black people are inferior to another racial group.Anti-Black racism is reflected in interpersonal, institutional, and systemiclevels of racism and is a function of White supremacy.Anti-RacismActive process of identifying and challenging racism, by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices, and attitudes, toredistribute power in an equitable manner.ClassismThe institutional, cultural, and individual set of practices and beliefs thatassign differential value to people according to their socioeconomicstatus. Classism also refers to the systematic oppression of poor andworking class people by those who control resources.NOTE: Citation information for all terms and concepts can be foundat the conclusion of this document.Center for the Study of Social Policy 3

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONColor-Blind RacialIdeologyThe belief that people should be regarded and treated as equally as possible, without regard to race or ethnicity. While a color-blind racial ideology may seem to be a pathway to achieve equity, in reality it invalidatesthe importance of peoples’ culture; ignores the manifestations of racistpolicies which preserves the ongoing processes that maintain racial andethnic stratification in social institutions.ColorismUsing White skin color as the standard, colorism is the allocation ofprivilege and favor to lighter skin colors and disadvantage to darkerskin colors. Colorism operates both within and across racial and ethnicgroups.Cultural CompetenceThe ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interactwith people across cultures. Grounded in the respect and appreciation ofcultural differences, cultural competence is demonstrated in the attitudes, behaviors, practices, and policies of people, organizations, andsystems.Cultural HumilityWhen one maintains an interpersonal stance that is open to individualsand communities of varying cultures, in relation to aspects of the cultural identity most important to the person. Cultural humility can include alife-long commitment to self-critique about differences in culture anda commitment to be aware of and actively mitigate power imbalancesbetween cultures.CultureThe languages, customs, beliefs, rules, arts, knowledge, and collectiveidentities and memories developed by members of all social groups thatmake their social environments meaningful.Damage ImageryPerpetuating stereotypes through the use of visuals, text/narratives, ordata (e.g. statistics) to highlight inequities without the appropriate historical and sociopolitical context. This can be remedied by leading withan explanation of historical and systemic barriers, and by focusing onstrengths and solutions within the communities that are the subject ofthe visuals, text/narratives, or data.DiscriminationThe unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race,ethnicity, gender, gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, religion, citizenship status, a combination of those identified, and/or other categories. See Racism.4 Center for the Study of Social Policy

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONDiversityA synonym for variety. A diversity focus emphasizes “how many ofthese” we have in the room, organization, etc. Diversity programs andcultural celebrations/education programs are not equivalent to racialjustice or inclusion. It is possible to name, acknowledge, and celebrate diversity without doing anything to transform the institutional or structuralsystems that produce, and maintain, racialized injustices in our communities.Dominant GroupNot necessarily the majority, but the group within a society with the power, privilege, and social status to control and define societal resourcesand social, political, and economic systems and norms.EqualityThe effort to treat everyone the same or to ensure that everyone hasaccess to the same opportunities. However, only working to achieveequality ignores historical and structural factors that benefit some socialgroups and disadvantages other social groups in ways that create differential starting points. See Racial Equity; see Justice.EquityThe effort to provide different levels of support based on an individual’sor group’s needs in order to achieve fairness in outcomes. Working toachieve equity acknowledges unequal starting places and the need tocorrect the imbalance. See Racial Equity; see Justice.EthnicityDenotes groups that share a common identity-based ancestry, language,or culture. It is often based on religion, beliefs, and customs as well asmemories of migration or colonization.Gender PronounThe term one uses to identify themselves in place of their name (i.e. ze/hir/hirs, ey/em/eirs, they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his, etc.). Theuse of the specific gender pronoun identified by each individual shouldbe respected and should not be regarded as optional.HomophobiaThe fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are attracted tomembers of the same gender. Homophobia occurs in a broader heterosexist social context that systematically disadvantages LGBTQ peopleand promotes and rewards anti-LGBTQ sentiment.Center for the Study of Social Policy 5

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONImplicit BiasA belief or attitude that affects our understanding, decision, and actions,and that exists without our conscious awareness.InclusionA state of belonging, when persons of different backgrounds and identities are valued, integrated, and welcomed equitably as decision-makersand collaborators. Inclusion involves people being given the opportunityto grow and feel/know they belong. Diversity efforts alone do not createinclusive environments. Inclusion involves a sense of coming as you areand being accepted, rather than feeling the need to assimilate.IndigenousDecolonizationThe repatriation of Indigenous land and life, as well as the ongoing theoretical and political processes used to contest and reframe narrativesabout indigenous community histories and the effects of colonial expansion, genocide, and cultural assimilation. Indigenous people engaged indecolonization work adopt a critical stance towards White, western-centric practices and discourse and seek to reposition knowledge withinIndigenous cultural practices. This is commonly referred to as decolonization.Individual/PersonalRacismAn internalized bias that takes place when a person’s beliefs, attitudes,fears, behaviors, and actions are both based on and driven by racial biases/prejudices. Individual/personal racism are the conscious and unconscious beliefs we have that Whiteness is superior.Institutional/SystemicRacismThe practices that perpetuate racial disparities, uphold White supremacy, and serve to the detriment and harm of persons of color and keepthem in negative cycles. Institutional/systemic racism also refers topolicies that generate different outcomes for persons of different race.These laws, policies, and practices are not necessarily explicit in mentioning any racial group, but work to create advantages for White persons and disadvantages for people of color.Internalized RacismThe conscious and unconscious development of ideas, beliefs, actions,and behaviors that demonstrate one’s acceptance of the dominantsociety’s racist tropes and stereotypes about their own race. Internalizedracism is the simultaneous hating of oneself and/or one’s own race andvaluing of the dominant race. Internalized racism is an individual’s system of oppression in response to any and all forms of racism.6 Center for the Study of Social Policy

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONInterpersonal RacismThe racism that occurs between individuals. It is when someone consciously or unconsciously employs or acts upon on racist thoughts, inways that perpetuate stereotypes and harms people of color. See: Individual/ Personal Racism; Implicit Bias.IntersectionalityCoined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, this term describesthe ways in which race, class, gender, and other aspects of our identity“intersect” overlap and interact with one another, informing the way inwhich individuals simultaneously experience oppression and privilege intheir daily lives interpersonally and systemically. Intersectionality promotes the idea that aspects of our identity do not work in a silo. Intersectionality, then, provides a basis for understanding how these individualidentity markers work with one another.JusticeThe process required to move us from an unfair, unequal, or inequitablestate to one which is fair, equal, or equitable, depending on the specific content. Justice is a transformative practice that relies on the entirecommunity to respond to past and current harm when it occurs in society. Through justice, we seek a proactive enforcement of policies, practices and attitudes that produce equitable access, opportunities, treatmentand outcomes for all regardless of the various identities that one holds.LGBTQ An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.” Theplus ( ) is inclusive of all other expressions of gender identity and sexualorientation.LiberationThe progression toward or the conscious or unconscious state of being in which one can freely exist, think, dream, and thrive in a way whichoperates outside of traditional systems of oppression. Liberation acknowledges history, but does not bind any person to disparate systemsor outcomes. Liberation is a culture of solidarity, respect, and dignity.MarginalizationThe process that occurs when members of a dominant group relegatea particular group to the edge of society by not allowing them an activevoice, identity, or place for the purpose of maintaining power.MisgenderTo intentionally or unintentionally refer to a person, relate to a person, oruse language to describe a person that does not align with their genderidentity. This often occurs when people make assumptions about a person’s gender.Center for the Study of Social Policy 7

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONMisogynoirCoined by Dr. Moya Bailey, this term describes contempt for or ingrainedprejudice toward Black women. The term can also be understood as theunique oppression experienced by Black women at the intersection ofrace and gender, in comparison to women of other races. Misogynoirutilizes and reinforces stereotypes of Black women. See: Stereotype;Intersectionality.OppressionA system of supremacy and discrimination for the benefit of a limiteddominant class that perpetuates itself through differential treatment,ideological domination, and institutional control. Oppression reflects theinequitable distribution of current and historical structural and institutional power, where a socially constructed binary of a “dominant group”horde power, wealth, and resources at the detriment of the many. Thiscreates a lack of access, opportunity, safety, security, and resources fornon-dominant populations.OtheringThe perception or placing of a person or a group outside and/or in opposition to what is considered to be the norm. Othering is based on a conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group posesa threat to the favored or dominant group. See: Marginalization.PatriarchyThe manifestation and institutionalization of men and/or masculinity asdominant over women and/or femininity in both the private and publicspheres, such as the home, political, religious, and social institutions,sports, etc. Patriarchy is deeply connected with cissexism and heterosexism through the perpetuation and enforcement of the gender binary.People of ColorPolitical or social (not biological) identity among and across groups ofpeople that are racialized as non-White. The term “People of color” isused to acknowledge that many races experience racism in the U.S, andthe term includes, but is not synonymous with, Black people.PowerThe ability to define, set, or change situations. Power can manifest aspersonal or collective self-determination. Power is the ability to influenceothers to believe, behave, or adopt values as those in power desire.PrejudiceA preconceived opinion or assumption about something or someonerooted in stereotypes, rather than reason or fact, leading to unfavorablebias or hostility toward another person or group of people. Literally a“pre-judgement.”8 Center for the Study of Social Policy

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONRaceA social and political construction—with no inherent genetic or biological basis—used by social institutions to arbitrarily categorize and dividegroups of individuals based on physical appearance (particularly skincolor), ancestry, cultural history, and ethnic classification. The concepthas been, and still is, used to justify the domination, exploitation, and violence against people who are racialized as non-White (see also: Racism).Racial AnxietyThe fear of being judged, based on an individual’s race, when interactingwith people of other races. White people fear assumptions of being racist, while people of color fear being the victim of discriminatory behaviorand violence.Racial DisparityAn unequal outcome one racial group experiences as compared to theoutcome for another racial group.Racial DisproportionalityThe underrepresentation or overrepresentation of a racial or ethnicgroup at a particular decision point, event, or circumstance, in comparison to the group’s percentage in the total population.Racial EquityRace is no longer a predictor of outcomes, leading to more just outcomes in policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages.Racial JusticeThe proactive process of reinforcing and establishing a set of policies,practices, attitudes, and actions that produce equitable power, access,opportunities, treatment, impacts, and outcomes for all individuals andgroups impacted by racism. The goal, however, is not only the eradication of racism, but also the presence of deliberate social systems andstructures that sustain racial equity through proactive and preventativemeasures. See: Social Justice; Anti-Racism.Racial MicroaggressionCommonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whetherintentional or unintentional, that communicate or imply hostile or derogatory racial slights and insults toward people of color (e.g. asking a person of color “How did you get your job?” to imply they are not qualified).Racially Coded LanguageLanguage that is seemingly race-neutral but is actually a disguise forracial stereotypes without the stigma of explicit racism.Center for the Study of Social Policy 9

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONRacismThe systematic subjugation of members of targeted racial groups, whohold less socio-political power and/or are racialized as non-White, asmeans to uphold White supremacy. Racism differs from prejudice, hatred, or discrimination because it requires one racial group to have systematic power and superiority over other groups in society. Often, racismis supported and maintained, both implicitly and explicitly, by institutionalstructures and policies, cultural norms and values, and individual behaviors.Social JusticeA process, not an outcome, which (1) seeks fair (re)distribution of resources, opportunities, and responsibilities; (2) challenges the roots ofoppression and injustice; (3) empowers all people to exercise self-determination and realize their full potential; (4) and builds social solidarity andcommunity capacity for collaborative action.SOGIEAn acronym that was created by the United Nations to honor the fluidityof numerous and ever expanding identities related to sexual orientation(SO), gender identity (GI), and expression (E).Sexual orientation: A term used to describe the gender or genders ofthe people to whom one is sexually attracted to. Some common examples include heterosexual or straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual,asexual, and queer.Gender identity: How one perceives themselves and what they callthemselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different fromtheir sex assigned at birth. Some examples of gender identities may include cisgender man or woman, transgender man or woman, non-binary,agender, bigender, two-spirit, and many more.Gender expression: How people express their gender in a variety ofways, such as appearance, dress, and behavior. Examples of gender expression may include our way of speaking, mannerisms, how we interactwith others, how we dress or accessorize, how we style our hair, or whatactivities we enjoy. Gender expression is most commonly categorizedas masculine, feminine, or androgynous, but there are many other termsthat someone might use to describe their gender expression.StereotypeExaggerated or distorted beliefs about the characteristics, attributes,and behaviors of individuals and communities that categorize individualsand communities into singular, pejorative terms.10 Center for the Study of Social Policy

TERM/ CONCEPTDEFINITIONStereotype ThreatThe threat of being stereotyped or the fear of doing something thatwould inadvertently confirm that stereotype. The resulting apprehensionoften causes the individual to behave in ways that reinforce that stereotype.Structural RacismHistorical, social, political, institutional, and cultural factors that contribute to, legitimize, and maintain racial inequities. Structural racism is notsomething that a few people or institutions choose to practice, it is theconfluence of racist concepts and theories that control our economic,political, and social systems.Systems of OppressionThe ways in which history, culture, ideology, public policies, institutional practices, and personal behaviors and beliefs interact to maintain ahierarchy—based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or other groupidentities—that allows the privil