DEI+B Glossary


A I B I C I D I E I G I H I I I L I M I O I P I R I S I T 


AAPI — An acronym used in the US that refers to people of Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander ancestry.

Ableism — Oppression through discriminatory actions by able-bodied, able-minded people against people with illness, disabilities or less developed skills.
Accessibility — Features that make spaces readily approachable and usable by individuals with physical or mental disabilities and limitations. 
Examples include self-opening doors, elevators for upper levels, ramps and raised lettering on signs.
Anti-racism — Taking proactive measures to identify and challenge the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate any form of racism.
Antisemitism — Hatred, discrimination, hostility or oppression of or against Jewish people as a group or individuals.
Forced Assimilation — A person or group of people that are forced or pressured to adapt their behavior and identity to blend in with the larger/dominant group. The minority group often will give up part of their own culture or identity to the extent that they become indistinguishable of the larger group.

Acculturation — A process in which members of one cultural group willingly adopt the beliefs, patterns and behaviors of another group. It includes the process of learning and incorporating the language, values, beliefs and behaviors that make up a distinct culture. 
Unlike assimilation, acculturation does not necessarily imply a complete adoption of the host cultures values and behaviors. Instead, it can involve a blending of cultural elements allowing for the co-existence of both the original and the adopted cultural features.
Example of acculturation: A family moves from Europe to the US, never celebrated Thanksgiving before but now enjoys this American holiday as an add on to their own culture. 


Bias — An inclination or preference for or against a thing, person or group; especially in a way that interferes with impartial judgement.
Confirmation Bias — Refers to a tendency to seek out information that supports your beliefs.
Cultural Bias — Refers to a tendency to perceive other cultures as odd/lesser-than their own.
Unconscious/Implicit Bias — Refers to unconscious stereotyping and discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality etc. 

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) — An acronym that is meant to be inclusive of all people of color while acknowledging that not all people of color have the same background.


Cisgender — People that identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Classism — A form of discrimination and oppression based on perceived socio-economic status or class background.
Color blindness (definition specific to DEI+B) — The ideology that ignoring a person’s race and/or ethnicity will result in equal treatment in society. Disregarding race and ethnicity fails to take into account people’s lived experiences and history. 

Communities of Color — a collective term used primarily in the US which refers to individuals who are not white but are of Asian, African, Latine, Native American or other backgrounds.
Also referred to as Person of Color, POC or BIPOC for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 

Cultural Appropriation — Refers to the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture, often with little regard for the significance or meaning of those elements.
Example of cultural appropriation: Using a traditional dress from a culture as a caricature or costume for something unrelated to the culture it originated from or the meaning it carries.



Disability — An umbrella term used to describe an individual with any significant physical, cognitive, mental health, learning, hearing, seeing or developmental impairment. 

Discrimination — Treating a person or group differently, especially in an unequal or unjust way, based on perceived differences including race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, national origin, age, intellectual, mental abilities and other characteristics. 

Diversity — Describes a heterogeneous population of people with diverse race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, physical ability and domestic status.



Equality — The state of being equal in social, legal and business contexts.

Equity — Equity means providing everyone with equal access to opportunity. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances. Equity means allocating resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

Ethnicity/Ethnic Group — A group made up of people who share a common cultural background.



Gender — The culturally or socially constructed concepts of women, men, girls and boys. Although in many cultures gender is related to sex organs, they are not inherently connected. 

Gender Identity — A person’s innate sense of their own gender



Hispanic — A person from or descendant from a Spanish-speaking country. 



Inclusion — A practice where all people are treated with dignity and respect and given the opportunity to participate. 

Indigenous —The first inhabitants of a land or territory and their descendants. Including but not limited to:

Inuit — Indigenous people of the Arctic region including northern Canada and parts of Greenland and Alaska
First Nation — Indigenous peoples of Canada who are neither Inuit nor Metis. 
Aboriginal — The indigenous people of Australia.
Native American — The indigenous peoples of Central, North and South America. This terms most frequently refers to those indigenous to what is now the continental US.



Latine — A person of Latin American origin or decent.  This term is sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably with the word Hispanic.  
Latina is the feminine form of the word, Latino is masculine, Lantine is gender neutral.

LGBTQIA+ — An acronym which refers to communities or individuals who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. 
Lesbian — A woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women.
Gay — A man who is sexually or romantically attracted to other men.
Bisexual — Sexual or romantic attraction to more than one sex or gender (see also Pansexual)
Transgender — A person whose gender identity does not correspond with the sex registered to them at birth (see also Nonbinary).
Queer — An umbrella term related to a sexual orientation or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of heterosexual norms.
Intersex —A person born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit into the typical male or female definitions.
Asexual — Experiencing no sexual feelings or desires. The lack of sexual attraction is not a choice. However, the person still has emotional needs and can experience emotional or romantic attraction.  
+ — Represents other identities not encompassed in the acronym, some of which are:
Pansexual — A sexual, romantic or emotional attraction toward people of all genders or regardless of their sex or gender identity. 
Nonbinary — Gender binary is the societal or cultural belief that there are only two categories of gender: male and female. A non-binary person does not identify with any gender binary. 


Marginalized — A person or group that is being treated insignificantly, pushed to the edges of society and rendered powerless. Examples of marginalized populations include groups that are excluded due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, language or other perceived differences.

Microaggression — An insult or demeaning comment or action by a member of a majority group directed toward a person from a historically marginalized group.  Microaggressions may be intentional or unintentional.

Multicultural — Involving multiple cultures and/or ethnicities.

Multiracial — An individual whose physical, cultural and/or ethnic background includes two or more races.



Oppression — A condition where a marginalized group is put at a systematic disadvantage compared with a majority group.  Oppression may occur in social, business, political, and/or legal contexts.



Prejudice — A negative bias toward a particular group of people.  Prejudice is often based on stereotypes of the target group, without regard for the qualities of individuals.
Privilege — When a majority group benefits from certain unearned advantages compared with a marginalized group.  Privilege may occur in social, business, political, and/or legal contexts.



Race — A socially constructed way of grouping people based on cultural heritage and physical characteristics including skin color and facial structure.
Racism — Discrimination against certain groups of people based on their race.
Institutional Racism — Institutional policies that create advantage, privilege and opportunities for people of certain races and disadvantage for people of other races.  
Structural Racism — A system of laws, policies and rules of conduct that create advantages for certain races and disadvantages for historically marginalized races.
Subtle/Indirect Racism — Language and/or actions that covertly support and reflect racist beliefs without being explicitly racist. 
Systematic Racism — Social, business, legal, educational and political norms that create advantage for people of certain races and disadvantage for people of other races.
Racial/Ethnic Identity — An individual’s perception of the racial and ethnic groups that they feel affiliated with.  Examples include “white Italian American” and “East Boston Irish Catholic”.
Racial Justice — The idea that business, political, legal and social policies should strive to provide equitable access and opportunity for all people.

Reverse Racism — The belief that policies are in place that provide advantage to a marginalized group over a dominant group based on race.



Safe Space — An environment where people can be their authentic selves without fear of being marginalized due to their race, religion, cultural heritage, age, degree of mobility, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation.
Sex Assigned at Birth — Classification of an individual as male or female based on their biological characteristics.  An individual’s sex may be the same or it may be different from their gender identity.
Sexual Orientation — Describes an individual’s sexual and romantic attraction toward people with sex and/or gender identity similar to or different from their own.
Stereotype — A unjustified generalization about a group of people.



Transition — A process where an individual with a gender identity different from their assigned sex at birth chooses to make changes so they present in a way more consistent with their gender identity.  This may or may not involve surgery or hormone therapy.