Glossary of Terms

Successfully addressing and implementing antiracism in our community depends on a shared understanding of terms and language. To support our antiracism commitment, we will be continually adding to a glossary of terms. We understand that the list is by no means exhaustive nor are definitions of terms going to be the most agreed upon. We hope that the glossary will aid in self-learning as well as in having substantive conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.

If you have questions or comments about the glossary, or wish to see terms added, please reach out to the Office of Communications and the DEI leadership team.



Antiracism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes so that power is redistributed and shared equitably. Antiracism is an approach to understanding race, racism, and the evolution of racial ideology that helps us understand the many ways that racism is embedded in the structures of U.S. society, including schools, health care, governments, and banks. Antiracism also helps us better understand how race, racial ideology, and racism shape our understanding of ourselves and others.


Bias is a constellation of human cognitive and emotional processes that involve attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, judgments, expectations, and preferences. These processes direct how we behave toward people we perceive as different from us, and are often automatic; they can either be implicit (outside our awareness) or explicit (within our awareness).

Compositional Diversity

Compositional diversity refers to the degree to which people vary in their racial, social, and cultural identities in an organization or institution. This variation inevitably means that different life experiences and perspectives are also represented.


Equality refers to the degree to which people are treated the same to accomplish fair treatment.


Equity is a strategy for achieving equality through policies, practices, and processes that involves consideration of the varying needs people have to thrive and succeed.  


Inclusion refers to the degree to which an organization or institution welcomes all its members, encourages everyone to voice their perspectives, does things to make all members feel heard, empowers all members to influence the organization or institution, and fosters a sense of belonging among everyone. 


Microaggressions are behavioral forms of bias that are expressed mostly during interpersonal interactions and are based on stereotypes and prejudice. They are derogatory insults and invalidations that are directed at persons from oppressed groups.  


Oppression is the social act of placing severe restrictions on an individual group, or institution. Typically, a government or political organization in power places restrictions formally or covertly on oppressed groups so they may be exploited and less able to compete with other social groups. The oppressed individual or group is devalued, exploited, and deprived of privileges by the individual or group who has more power. 


Race is a socially constructed classification that groups or sorts human beings into various categories based on perceived shared physical and social characteristics.


Racism in the U.S. is a form of bias, based on prejudice, power, and white supremacy, that includes attitudes, behaviors, and systems that oppress Asian/Asian American, Black/African American, Latino/a/x, Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and multiracial people and privilege White/European American people. More generally, human beings create systems and organizational structures that reinforce racism. Individual and interpersonal racism is a result of the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of people that support or perpetuate racism.  It happens at both an unconscious and conscious level and can be both passive and active.

Report an issue - Last updated: 08/26/2021