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DEI Glossary of Terms

This is the Foster School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Glossary of Terms. See something missing? Would you like to suggest an edit to one of these definitions? If so, kindly fill out THIS FORM to provide comments and suggested edits, and we will update the list periodically.

Title Definition
ALLY An individual who takes action to support social justice and works to eliminate oppression.
BIAS Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared to another; usually in a way considered unfair. Implicit bias is unconscious, explicit bias is conscious.
BIPOC An acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-bipoc.html

CISGENDER Adj: A term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Often abbreviated to cis.

Source: https://www.catalyst.org/2019/05/30/12-diversity-inclusion-terms-you-need-to-know/

CLASS Refers to people’s socio-economic status, based on factors such as wealth, occupation, education, income etc.
CULTURE Learned and shared values, beliefs, languages, and customs of a social group.
DEI DEI is an acronym for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
DIVERSITY Efforts to increase representation of different types of identities within communities (e.g., demographics, sexuality, religion, etc.)
DISCRIMINATION Acting on/from bias or prejudice.
EMOTIONAL TAX Noun: The combination of being on guard to protect against bias, feeling different at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity, and the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work.

Source: https://www.catalyst.org/2019/05/30/12-diversity-inclusion-terms-you-need-to-know/

EQUITY Critically examining systems to identify biases that prevent equal access and opportunity to individuals.
ETHNICITY A socially or politically constructed group based on cultural criteria, such as language, customs, and shared history.
FEMINISM The belief that all genders have equal rights and opportunities.

Source: https://iwda.org.au/learn/what-is-feminism/

GENDER Social constructed categories of masculinity/manhood and femininity and womanhood.
I-200 Initiative 200, passed by the citizens of Washington State in 1998 and now incorporated into the Washington State Law Against Discrimination prohibits preferential treatment on the basis of race, color, national origin, and sex but does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal programs, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

Source: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i200.pdf

INTERSECTIONALITY 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.

Source: https://aapf.org/kimberle-crenshaw

INCLUSION valuing differences as a source of strength, innovation, and performance; creating belonging
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM A pattern of social institutions—such as governmental organizations, schools, banks, and courts of law—giving negative treatment to a group of people based on their race.
LGBTQIA+ Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual, queer/questioning, intersex, and allied/asexual/aromantic/agender.

Source: https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary

MICROAGGRESSION The everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that people of color, women, LGBT populations or those who are marginalized experience in their day-to-day interactions with people.

Source: https://www.vox.com/2015/2/16/8031073/what-are-microaggressions

NON-BINARY (aka Genderqueer) Adj: A category for a fluid constellation of gender identities beyond the woman/man gender binary.

Source: https://www.catalyst.org/2019/05/30/12-diversity-inclusion-terms-you-need-to-know/

NEURODIVERSITY Noun: The concept that there is great diversity in how people’s brains are wired and work, and that neurological differences should be valued in the same way we value any other human variation.

Source: https://www.catalyst.org/2019/05/30/12-diversity-inclusion-terms-you-need-to-know/

OMAD Acronym referring to UW’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.

Source: https://www.washington.edu/omad/

OPPRESSION Systemic devaluing, undermining, marginalizing and disadvantaging of certain social identities in contrast to the privileged norm; when some people are denied something of value, while others have ready access.
POC Acronym referring to a Person of Color.
PREJUDICE ‘Pre-judgement’ Personal bias for or against anything, all humans have bias and prejudice.
PRIVILEGE Systemic favoring, enriching, valuing, validating and including of certain social identities over others. Individuals cannot ‘opt out’ of systems of privilege; rather these systems are inherent to the society in which we live.
RACE A socially or politically constructed group based on perceived differences in physical characteristics.
RACISM Belief that some races of people are better than others.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/us/merriam-webster-racism-definition.html

SEXUAL ORIENTATION A concept referring to sexual desire and preference for emotional and sexual relationships with others based on their sex/gender; often implies that sexual object choice is an essential in-born characteristic, so may be problematic to some.
SOCIAL JUSTICE Active engagement toward equity and inclusion that addresses issues of institutional, structural, and environmental inequity, power, and privilege.
SYSTEMIC RACISM (AKA structural racism or institutional racism) Systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans, Indigenous people, Latinx people, and people of color.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/15/systemic-racism-what-does-mean/5343549002/

UDS Acronym referring to Foster Undergraduate Diversity Services
WORKPLACE INCLUSION Noun: An atmosphere where all employees belong, contribute, and can thrive. Requires deliberate and intentional action.

Source: https://www.catalyst.org/2019/05/30/12-diversity-inclusion-terms-you-need-to-know/

YEOC Acronym for Foster’s High School Outreach program, Young Executives of Color.

Source: https://foster.uw.edu/academics/degree-programs/undergraduate-programs/diversity-services/young-executives-of-color-yeoc/

More Resources

https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary/

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/us/racism-words-phrases-slavery-trnd/index.html