The racial equity glossary

You can’t have a discussion without a common language. To facilitate discussion, here is a glossary of “racial equity” terms, drawn from a variety of sources. The definitions are shaped more by progressive politics than by linguistics. The language is sometimes turgid because it is rooted in academia, not known for brevity nor clarity.

I will withhold my comments. You can add your own comments at home. And I’m sure most of you will want to. 

Ally: A member of a privileged social group (race, gender, class, citizenship) who works for justice and equity with members of social groups with less privilege. The social group you work with can call you an ally, but it is bad form for you to claim it for yourself.

Anti-racism: Actively opposing institutional or structural racism by advancing changes in political, economic, and social policies.

Cultural competence: Used most often in the context of healthcare and education, it is defined as organizational practices that are responsive to the cultural beliefs, language, interpersonal styles, etc., of those receiving services as well as those providing them.

Diversity: A multiplicity of races, ages, countries of origin, educational status, religious, physical or cognitive abilities, documentation status, etc., within a community, organization or grouping of some kind. 

Equity: Fairness and justice in policy, practices and opportunity consciously designed to address the distinct challenges of less privileged social groups, with an eye toward equitable outcomes.

Gatekeeper: Anyone in a position of power who can grant or deny access to institutional resources or information.

Implicit bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, it is unconsciously held negative associations about any given social group. Implicit bias undercuts conscious commitments to inclusion and fairness, particularly in organizations where they may be collectivized and institutionalized in hiring practices and as barriers to advancement.

Inclusion: Being included within a grouping or structure with an authentic sense of belonging. Organizationally, inclusion is expressed through policies and practices that empower employees across the board.

Institutional power: Social, political, and economic access to resources and decision makers, and the ability to influence others via this access. 

Institutional racism: Organizational policies and practices, based on explicit and/or implicit biases, that produce outcomes consistently advantaging or disadvantaging one racial group. 

Intersectionality: A term invented by Black lawyer Kimberle Williams Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity intersect and inform social inequities, and are experienced by individuals or groups of people.

Microaggressions: Common verbal, behavioral, or situational actions, intentional or not, that reveal hostility, or insulting and/or derogatory toward people with less privilege.

Privilege: Advantages and benefits systemically accorded, often by default, to a person or a group. Privilege is best understood intersectionally because colorism, documentation status, economic class and education, for example, can all accord distinct privilege within racial and ethnic groups. 

Racial equity: Fairness and justice in policy, practice, and opportunity consciously designed to address the impacts of historic racial discrimination and inequity, with an eye to equitable outcomes.

Racial justice: The work of eliminating racial disparities born of individual, institutional, and structural racism.

 Structural racism: Public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and societal conventions that individually and collectively reinforce racial inequity and codify the advantage of “whiteness.”

White privilege: Historical and contemporary unearned advantages that enable white people to collectively have easier and better access to quality healthcare and education, wealth-building opportunities, political power, etc.

Everything clear now?

27 thoughts on “The racial equity glossary”

  1. I’m reminded what my wife often says, “I’m so glad we don’t have children today.” ‘Turgid,’ after looking up its definition, reminds me why I don’t read George Will.

  2. I would add some tangential phrases and their definitions, as used by the Left:
    Living Wage: enough money (never defined) to allow someone to live at an undefined level of comfort.
    Affordable Housing: an undefined housing price in an undefined neighborhood
    Smaller Classrooms: how small is never stated
    Better Schools: nicer buildings? But never mention enforcing standards for teachers
    There are more…many more…but to clean up an old naval phrase: never urinate into the wind.

  3. Thanks for the dictionary/translations. The normal ppl I associate with don’t speak in the Marxist lingo of academia, so when someone starts with those terms, I automatically tune out bc I recognize its source.

      1. Mike, please do not hold your breath waiting for a legitimate answer because you will never get one.

  4. Why can’t we include all the above listed words into a book, and label it “Modern Expressionism Used By Academia Idiots and Other Kinds of HandJobs in 2020”?

    Thanks for the dictionary. I suppose that our parents were scratching their heads when we used those famous “hip” words, like “jive” and ” scratch” . Of course, we were only trying to educate the world…….

      1. Try thinking about it this way: as a statement may be ‘Orwellian’ without George Orwell ever having uttered it, so some words are Marxist without Herr Marx having uttered them.

        1. Orwell was not pushing a political philosophy with it’s own lexicon. “Marxist” is becoming a generic term for things people don’t like.

        2. Vince, I guess you feel you and your ilk should be the ones to choose which words are Marxist.

          1. As usual Vince, you do not answer questions you do not like or, if answered honestly, would put you in a bad light.

            BTW Vince, you say “There is no wall as impenetrable as a closed mind.” quite often. You should send that to the lying SOB, Trump.

          2. H Bogart

            I would like to apologize for Vince so rudely offending this site’s premier libturd snowflake.

  6. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    I wonder where you got these definitions. Definitions in dictionaries are based on collections of examples of actual usage. But your listing does not seem to be a matter of dictionary definitions? Generally, your definitions seem much clearer than the actual usage on the left. I’ve often wondered who makes up such terms. Often what you get is a kind of “package deal” in which the idea slides from something genuinely awful to something quite innocuous.

    Websters’ says,
    “privilege” (noun)
    Definition of privilege (Entry 1 of 2)
    : a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : PREROGATIVE
    especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office
    —End quotation

    Now compare your definition of “white privilege” on offer:
    White privilege: Historical and contemporary unearned advantages that enable white people to collectively have easier and better access to quality healthcare and education, wealth-building opportunities, political power, etc.

    What is missing in this notion of “white privilege” as a kind of “privilege”: is the idea that this “privilege” is a “right or immunity granted,” “as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.” Who exactly is supposed to be “granting” this “right or immunity” of “white privilege”? The suggestion is almost as though “white privilege” came by an act of Congress. Historically, of course, there was official, legal white privilege (and not only in the South), but no more. So on what is the contemporary charge suppose to hang?

    Its hard to say. Often the evidence evoked is simply the factual differences in “access to quality healthcare and education, wealth-building opportunities, and political power.” In effect intentions and the “granting” of privilege are judged by actual differences of outcomes? In this way, factual, demographic differences are attributed to an “evil intention,” almost as though it were a conspiracy. That seems to belong to the rhetorical charge of the term as it is typically used; yet this is misleading and inflammatory.

    Part of what is actually involved, I suspect, is something like “birds of a feather flock together”? Some people more easily integrate to mutual benefit than do others? But we would not generally attach to these facts anything like the same rhetorical charge and or moral condemnation –though the advantage and disadvantages fall unevenly.

    I think you could do a somewhat similar analysis on most of the phrases in your list–they all tend to involve a kind of “package deal” blending the genuinely awful and the ordinary. This explains their rhetorical punch.

    H.G. Callaway

    1. As indicated, definitions came from a variety of sources… from those who use them. Some ate ridiculous, but I decided not to comment. This time.

  7. Stu Bykofsky says:
    July 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm
    Having the “privilege” of loving, education-directed parents is the best of all.

    This one sentence of yours sums up everything PERFECTLY.

    Most liberals are clueless to the fact most poorer white people have had to struggle for everything they have.They don’t want to hear my dad had to drop out of school after b3rd grade to make a few pennies for his family.But he insited since I was in 3rd grade that I was going to college.

    Get the book the Jews of South Philly.It was a low to poor middle class neighborhood that had children who thrived due to hard work and education.I don’t think they suffered from white priviledge,

    I was a young substitute teacher at Penn Center academy in the Y.All black students. They wanted to know why blacks and whites did very little socializing.I convinced them black and white meant a lot to poor people. To rich people the color that mattered was GREEN !!!!!!!!!!

    1. Tom, I find it interesting, and very reveling, that the people you chose are both White, Republican,Conservative men.

    1. Charles, I have no problem in admitting to making an error. I did not mean to include the word White in my description. I started out to show the 2 people individually but put them together for brevity. In doing so I neglected to remove the word White.

      I guess you are perfect and never make errors.

      One more thing Charles, I have been refraining from responding to your name calling in this thread, other than the keyboard warrior remark. I suggest you might want to do the same.

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