Glossary

Common Language enables us to understand each other and have constructive conversations about social justice. Many of us are learning a new vocabulary as we learn to name and talk about unspoken dynamics and topics like racism, patriarchy, and homophobia.

Oppression: Results from the use of institutional power and privilege where one person or group benefits at the expense of another. Oppression is the use of power and the effects of domination.

Target Group: Those people sharing a common identity that is systematically disenfranchised.

Privilege: A system of unearned advantages resulting from the systematic prioritization of one group or identity over another. See “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege” for examples.

Privilege Group: Those people sharing a common identity that is systematically normalized and given advantage. Privilege group members may not identify their own unearned advantages as these are generally part of everyday life and often seen as “just the way the world works”.

Prejudice: An attitude, opinion, or feeling formed without adequate prior knowledge, thought, or reason. Prejudice can be pre-judgment for or against any individual, group, or object. Any individual or group can hold prejudice(s) towards another individual, group, or object.

Internalized Superiority: The internalized belief that one’s gender, culture, physical ability level, relationship structure, etc. is superior to others.

Internalized Inferiority: The internalized belief that one’s gender, culture, physical ability level, relationship structure, etc. is inferior to others.

Calling out/Calling in: A process of pointing out biases and prejudices to those that hold them and explaining why they are harmful.

To Ally: (VERB) The actions taken by members of the privilege group that advocate for the rights and dignity of the target group, with the goal of eliminating the privilege they themselves benefit from.

Micro-aggression: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults towards people.

Patriarchy: A set of social, cultural, and legal practices that privilege and empower men over women and genderqueer individuals.

Sexism: The combination of stereotypes about women and the power to make decisions and control circumstances based on these stereotyped beliefs. Is only enacted by members of the power group, in this case men, as socially instituted sex-based privilege is necessary for these negative stereotypes to have wide reaching negative consequences for the target group.

Mansplaining: A phenomenon whereby men with little or no subject knowledge/expertise explain things to women that the women themselves are experts on, without first inquiring as to their familiarity with the subject. For example, “That guy just mansplained menstruation to me”.

Gender: A set of social expectations of behavior, interests, and abilities based on one’s biological sex.

Sex: Biological classification of male or female (based on genetic or physiological features); as opposed to gender.

Heternormativity: The belief that everybody is, as a default or until proven otherwise, heterosexual.

Heterosexism: The combination of stereotypes about LGBTQ individuals and the power to make decisions and control circumstances based on these stereotyped beliefs. Is only enacted by members of the power group, in this case straight people, as socially instituted sexual orientation-based privilege is necessary for these negative stereotypes to have wide reaching negative consequences for the target group, in this case LGBTQ people.

Homophobia: A fear of LGBTQ individuals

LGBTQ: Acronym meaning lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transpeople, and queers.

Queer: An umbrella term that can refer to anyone who transgresses society’s view of gender or sexuality. The definitional indeterminacy of the word ‘queer’, its elasticity, is one of its constituent characteristics: “A zone of possibilities.”

Transphobia: The fear or hatred of trans individuals.

Transman: A person born as a biological woman who identifies and lives as a man.

Transwoman: A person born as a biological man who identifies and lives as a woman.

Cisgender: A term used to describe individuals whose biological sex aligns with the gender role society expects of them.

Genderqueer: A person who does not identify with any particular gender. They may prefer to be referred to with “they”, “Ze”, “Zir” or other gender neutral personal pronouns.

Preferred Gender pronoun: The pronouns an individual prefers to be used in reference to them. For example: she/her, he/his, they/them, ze/zir.

Classism: The combination of stereotypes about poor and working class people and the power to make decisions and control circumstances based on these stereotyped beliefs. Is only enacted by members of the power group, in this case elite and upper-class people, as socially instituted class privilege is necessary for these stereotypes to have wide reaching negative consequences for the target group, in this case poor and working class people.

Racism: The combination of stereotypes about people of color and the power to make decisions and control circumstances based on these stereotyped beliefs. Is only enacted by members of the power group, in this case white people, as socially instituted racial privilege is necessary for these negative stereotypes to have wide reaching negative consequences for the target group, in this case people of color.

White Supremacy: The belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society. White supremacy is evident when neighborhoods and schools with high black populations are seen as undesirable, when black culture, art, and music is seen as inferior or “folk” art compared to “fine” art produced by those of European descent.

Cultural Appropriation: The taking of cultural symbols, practices, or beliefs from a target group and by a privilege group who then names, re-defines, dilutes, fetishes, or capitalizes on said culture.

Cultural Appreciation: The voluntary sharing of cultural practices and beliefs, without members of a privilege group taking ownership of said practices.

Colorblind Racism: The belief that race is not a factor in our everyday lives and society. Is hurtful because it ignores the lived experiences of racism experienced by people of color and the unique cultural traditions of various race and cultural groups.

Neocolonization: The exertion of power,whether economic, cultural, or military, of one people over another. Differs from colonization in that direct control of the subjugated people is not held by the imposing power. May manifest as unequal trade agreements, military occupation, cultural exportation of the imposing power to the colonized, and the extraction of natural resources from the colonized people’s land to the colonizer culture.

Xenophobia: The fear or hatred of people outside one’s own cultural group.

Ablism: The combination of stereotypes of differently-abled individuals and the power to make decisions and control circumstances based on these stereotyped beliefs.

Ageism: The combination of stereotypes about both the elderly and the young with the ability to make decisions and control circumstances based on those beliefs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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