Definition of Equity and Inclusion Terms
Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that leads to racial equity and is substantiated by antiracists ideas.
- Antiracist ideas suggest that the racial groups are equal in all their apparent differences and recognize the historical and current impact of racism in our society and systems.
- An antiracist policy is a measure that produces or sustains racial equity among racial groups.
- Racial equity is when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing.
Belonging is an individual sense of worthiness, acceptance, and value one feels in a community, and it means feeling seen, heard, included, valued, respected, connected, and empowered to thrive.
Biases are people’s personal preference for, or against, an individual or group, which can interfere with our judgment and influence our behaviors. They can be implicit or unconscious.
Cultural competency is the process by which individuals attain awareness, knowledge, and skills to confront bias, reflect on their actions and privileges, and intentionally promote positive social change in their daily lives.
Discrimination is the unjust treatment of people based on their social identities due to people’s conscious and unconscious biases that favor one group over another with their thoughts and actions.
Diversity is a state of being relevant to everyone and inclusive of all the different aspects of identity and thought that impact social experiences.
- Diversity of thought means the different ways people look at, think about, and interpret the world. This may include a variety of beliefs, creeds, styles of communication, political persuasions, and learning abilities.
- Diversity of identity means the characteristics by which we self-identify or by which others may define us. These characteristics may include age, country of birth, ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender expression, physical ability, physical appearance, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and socio-economic circumstances.
Equity is a set of policies and practices that offer access, acknowledge diversity, equalize the ability to thrive, and address institutional biases and discrimination.
Ethnicity is a person’s cultural heritage, including language, traditions, and ancestral history. It is not the same as their race.
Global citizens are people who possess the awareness, knowledge, and skills to take action to promote positive social change locally and globally.
Inclusion is a sense of belonging, worthiness, and value one feels in an organization so all members of the community can thrive.
Institutional racism refers to the unfair policies and discriminatory practices within and across institutions that routinely produce racially inequitable outcomes for people of color and advantages for white people.
Oppression is the systemic suppression and discrimination of a group or groups, by a group in power.
Prejudice is an attitude toward an individual or group of people based on the social group they belong to. It influences thoughts and actions.
Privileges are benefits, advantages, and power given due to the social identities shared with the dominant culture. Privileges are granted and favored by institutions and social norms that were created by those in the dominant culture.
Race is a socially constructed term that divides people based on their skin color and physical characteristics. It is not based on scientific fact or grounded in genetics.
Racism is personal prejudice, bias, and discrimination against someone based on race.
Stereotype is an exaggerated belief, image, or distorted truth about a person or group. It is a generalization that allows for little or no individual differences or social variation.
Systemic racism is institutionalized laws and policies that give advantages and disadvantages to people based on race. It involves one group having the power to implement those policies and practices and to shape cultural beliefs and values that support them.
White supremacy is the assumption or theory that whites are superior to all other races and should be in power and control. It is a structural system built into the founding of our nation and still in place today.
Gender Identity Key Definitions
Assigned sex at birth: The sex a person was given at birth, usually based on anatomy or chromosomes (e.g., male, female, intersex, etc.).
Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behaviors that are compatible with cultural expectations are referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.
Cisgender: A term used to describe people whose assigned sex matches their gender identity and/or gender expression (e.g., someone who was assigned female at birth and whose gender identity and/or gender expression is also female).
Gender expansive: A wider, more flexible range of gender identities or expressions than those typically associated with the binary gender system.
Gender expression is how a person expresses their gender, often through their behavior, emotional expression, mannerisms, dress, grooming, interests, and activities.
Gender identity: A person’s internal and deeply-felt sense of being female, male, both, non-binary, gender expansive or other—regardless of the gender assigned at birth.
Transgender: A term often used to describe a person whose gender identity or expression, or both, are different from those traditionally associated with their sex assigned at birth.
Transitioning: The process in which a person goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another.
Please view further information about Meridian’s Equity and Inclusion terminology.