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Glossary

Glossary

Accessibility

The extent to which a facility is readily approachable and usable by individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the personnel office, worksite, and public areas.

Advocate

Someone who speaks up for her/himself and members of his/her identity group; e.g., a woman who lobbies for equal pay for women.

Agent

The perpetrator or perpetuator of oppression and/or discrimination; usually a member of the dominant, non‐target identity group.

Ageism

Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in age; usually by younger people against older people.

Ally

A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically, a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a targeted group; e.g., a male arguing for equal pay for women.

Benevolent prejudice

A superficially positive type of prejudice that is expressed in terms of positive beliefs and emotional responses, which results in keeping the group members experiencing prejudice in inferior positions in society, and can help justify any hostile prejudices a person has toward a particular group. Though well-intended, this type of prejudice is widely considered to produce negative effects on those it targets.

Benevolent sexism

Evaluations of gender that may appear subjectively positive (subjective to the person who is evaluating), but are actually damaging to people and gender equality more broadly; e.g., the idea that women need to be protected by men.

Bias

Prejudice; an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment.

Categorization

The natural cognitive process of grouping and labeling people, things, etc. based on their similarities. Categorization becomes problematic when the groupings become oversimplified and rigid; e.g., stereotypes.

Cognitive dissonance

The mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

Cognitive diversity

Including individuals with differences in thought and problem-solving processes.

Color blind

The belief in treating everyone “equally” by treating everyone the same; based in the presumption that differences are by definition bad or problematic, and therefore best ignored; e.g., “I don’t see race, gender, etc.”

Culture

A social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses, and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of an experience held in common.

Demographic

A particular sector of a population; e.g., race, sex, geography, sexual orientation.

Discrimination

Actions, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, which favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services, or opportunities.

Disparity

A significant difference between groups; typically used to describe the condition of being unequal.

Diversity

The range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical value system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Dominant culture

The cultural values, beliefs, and practices that are assumed to be the most common and influential within a given society.

Explicit bias

Conscious attitudes and beliefs about a person or group. Often, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat. When people feel threatened, they are more likely to draw group boundaries to distinguish themselves from others.

Fundamental attribution error

A common cognitive action in which one attributes his/her own success and positive actions to his/her own innate characteristics (“I’m a good person”) and failure to external influences (“I lost it in the sun”), while attributing others’ success to external influences (“he had help”) and failure to others’ innate characteristics (‘they’re bad people”). This operates on the group level as well, with the in-group giving itself favorable attributions, while giving the out-group unfavorable attributions, as way of maintaining a feeling of superiority. A “double standard.”

Gender

The socially constructed concepts of masculinity and femininity; the “appropriate” qualities accompanying biological sex.

Heuristics

An approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method that is imperfect but sufficient.

Homophily

The tendency of individuals to associate and bond with people similar to themselves.

Identity

Conception, qualities, beliefs, and expressions that constitute a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group).

Implicit association test (IAT)

This measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report; e.g., you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science.

Implicit bias

A form of bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally, that nevertheless affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors (also known as nonconscious or unconscious bias).

Inclusion

Involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people is recognized. An inclusive organization promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

In‐group bias

The tendency for groups to “favor” themselves by rewarding group members economically, socially, psychologically, and emotionally in order to uplift one group over another.

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.

Intergroup conflict

Tension and conflict which exists between social groups and which may be enacted by individual members of these groups.

Marginalized

Excluded, ignored, or relegated to the outer edge of a group/society/community.

Mentorship

A relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but she or he must have a certain area of expertise.

Microaggression

A subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other nondominant group that is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype; e.g., “No, where are you really from?” or “You don’t act like a black person.”

Multiplicity

The quality of having multiple, simultaneous social identities; e.g., being male and Buddhist and working class.

Multiracial

An individual that comes from more than one race.

Multiethnic

An individual that comes from more than one ethnicity.

People of color

A collective term for men and women of Asian, African, Latin, and Native American backgrounds; as opposed to the collective "White" for those of European ancestry.

Personal identity

Our identities as individuals, including history, personality, name, and other characteristics that make us unique and different from other individuals.

Prejudice

A preconceived judgment about a person or group of people; usually indicating negative bias.

Racism

Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in race/ethnicity.

Saliency

The quality of a group identity of which an individual is more conscious and which plays a larger role in that individual's day‐to‐day life; for example, a man's awareness of his "maleness" in an elevator with only women.

Sex

Biological classification of male or female based on genetic or physiological features, as opposed to gender.

Sexism

Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in sex/gender; usually by men against women.

Sexual orientation

One's natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

Social identity

This 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.

Social identity development

The stages or phases that a person's group identity follows as it matures or develops.

Spotlighting

The practice of inequitably calling attention to particular social groups in language, while leaving others as the invisible, de facto norm; e.g., "black male suspect" versus "male suspect" (presumed white) or "WNBA" as opposed to "NBA" (presumed male).

Stereotype

Blanket beliefs and expectations about members of certain groups that present an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment. They go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information, and are highly generalized.

Stereotype threat

The psychological threat felt when a person is performing an action or is in a situation that aligns with a negative stereotype about their group.

Veteran status

Whether or not an individual has served in a nation's armed forces or other uniformed service.

Workplace climate

A set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by employees, that is assumed to be a major force influencing employee behavior.

Worldview

The perspective though which individuals view the world; comprised of their history, experiences, culture, family history, and other influences.

 

 

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