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CMC Resources Center Guide: Vocabulary

Vocabulary, Language and Terminology

 

 

Glossary of Terms

 

**The vocabulary list provided is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every word and term used relating to diversity and inclusion. Words and terminology continually evolves. This list is meant to serve primarily as a reference point to provides basic working definitions to further enhance dialogs.

 

From John Lenssen and Associates

 

Acculturation – Those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups” (Berry, 2003)  Cultural learning and the adoption of the most observable, external aspects of the dominant culture - the ability to “fit in” or negotiate the new sociocultural reality

 

Adaptation - The evolutionary process whereby a population becomes better suited to its habitat.  In the context of service delivery:  (a) Modifying behavior to address the needs of customers, clients, community, (b) Code switching, (c)Requires cultural awareness and cultural knowledge - cultural competency

 

Assimilation – from Latin: “to render similar”.  The process whereby a minority group gradually adapts to the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture and customs.  To bring or come into harmony; adjust or become adjusted.  Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New customs and attitudes are acquired through contact and communication.

 

Affirmative Action - "Affirmative action" refers to positive steps taken to increase the representation of minorities (racial, ethnic minorities and women in general) in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.

 

Culture - The integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group.

 

Visible Culture – concrete expressions including food, arts, social events, social roles, rituals, language, clothing, food, architecture, etc.

 

Invisible Culture – deeply held implicit beliefs, values, biases, thoughts and reactions to issues including time, space, meaning.

 

Cultural Norms - are behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups, which have distinct identities, based on culture, language, ethnicity or race separating them from other groups. Such behaviors are learned early in life from parents, teachers, peers and other human interaction. Norms are the unwritten rules that govern individual behavior. Norms assume importance especially when broken or when an individual finds him/herself in a foreign environment dealing with an unfamiliar culture where the norms are different.

 

Individual Culture – personal thoughts, communications, actions, values, beliefs, and customs that make us who we are - ways of doing things.  How individuals operate and interact in everyday life.  The choices individuals make each day and the way individuals purposely live.

 

Interpersonal Culture – shared thoughts, communications, actions, values, beliefs and customs between and among people.  Interpersonal level of culture is that of a team, group, work unit, and even two people who are working together.  It is the way in which we interact with one another.  Interpersonal communication, either face-to-face or online, is shaped by the technologically savvy world in which we live as well as by the interaction of our cultural identities: age, race/ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class, and other dimensions of diversity.

 

Institutional Culture – communication patterns, common ideas, values, traditions and standards that permeate the everyday lives of members, and that are perpetuated by institutional policies, procedures, actions, and leadership. The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization or institution.  Institutional culture is the sum total of an organization's past and current assumptions, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, express or implied contracts, and the written and unwritten rules that the organization develops over time and that have worked well enough to be considered valid.  It involves communication patterns, hierarchy and decision-making, who is rewarded and for what behavior.

 

Intercultural Communication or Cross-Cultural Communication - (also referred to as Intercultural Communication) is a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds try to communicate. As a science, cross-cultural communication brings together such seemingly unrelated disciplines as communication, information theory, learning theories and cultural anthropology. The aim is to produce increased understanding and guidelines, which would help people from different cultures to better communicate with each other.

 

Discrimination - is the selection for unfavorable treatment of an individual or individuals on the basis of: gender, race, color or ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, social class, age (subject to the usual conventions on retirement), marital status or family responsibilities, or as a result of any conditions or requirements that do not accord with the principles of fairness and natural justice. It can take a variety of forms and may include the following:

 

Diversity - includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term "diversity" is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.

 

Gender:

 

Gender Identity - Perception of one's self as male or female - developing in toddlerhood or early childhood, and reinforced by social experience and pubertal changes - how a person feels about whether they are male, female, or neither

 

Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. "Trans" is shorthand for "transgender." (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus "transgender people" is appropriate but "transgenders" is often viewed as disrespectful.)

 

Cisgender:   denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender;  an adjective for some whose gender corresponds to their assigned sex.

 

Harassment - Harassment includes any physical or verbal conduct demonstrating hostility toward a person because of his or her age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or other “legally protected status.”

 

Learning Environment – are systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to:  1) set their own learning goals, 2) manage their learning; managing both content and process, and 3) communicate with others in the process of learning; and thereby achieve learning goals.

 

Prejudice - over-generalized, oversimplified or exaggerated beliefs associated with a category or group of people.  These beliefs are not easily changed, even in the fact of contrary evidence. Example: A French woman is in an elevator alone. She grabs her purse tight when an African young man enters. Prejudice can also be devaluing (looking down on) a group because of its assumed behavior, values, capabilities, attitudes, or other attributes.

 

Privilege - involves unearned advantage that accompanies a person’s perceived status and/or perceived membership in identified groups. A right that only some people have access or availability to because of their social group memberships (dominants). Because hierarchies of privilege exist, even within the same group, people who are part of the group in power (white/Caucasian people with respect to people of color, men with respect to women, heterosexual with respect to homosexuals, adults with respect to children, and rich people with respect to poor people) often deny they have privilege even when evidence of differential benefit is obvious.

 

Sexual Orientation - is a social construct used to describe a pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, both genders, neither gender, or another gender - the word used to describe which sex someone is attracted to.

 

Social Power - Access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs or influencing others in order to lead a safe, productive, fulfilling life.

 

Stereotypes - (or "characterizations") are generalizations or assumptions that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on an inaccurate image about what people in that group are like. For example, Americans are generally friendly, generous, and tolerant, but also arrogant, impatient, and domineering. Asians are humble, shrewd and alert, but reserved. Stereotyping is common and causes most of the problems in cross-cultural conflicts.

 

Unwritten Rules – usually concerning social behavior, which are known by all but spoken by none – the rules are neither official nor written down – they just are.

 

 

 

From Gresham-Barlow School District Equity Policy

 

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching provides instruction that acknowledges that culture is central to learning. It encourages students to learn by building on the experiences, knowledge, and skills they bring to the classroom. It also infuses family customs, community culture, and expectations throughout the learning environment. Culturally responsive teaching is student centered, has the power to transform, is connected and integrated, fosters critical thinking, incorporates assessment and reflection, and builds relationships and community.  (Oregon Leadership Network)

Cultural Competence

 

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.  (National Center for Cultural Competence)

 

Race

 

Sociologists define race as a concept that is used to signify different types of human bodies. While there is no biological basis for racial classification, sociologists recognize a long history of attempts to organize groups of people based on similar skin color and physical appearance. The absence of any biological foundation makes race often difficult to define and classify, and as such, sociologists view racial categories and the significance of race in society as unstable, ever shifting, and intimately connected to other social forces and structures.  Sociologists emphasize though, that while race is not a concrete, fixed thing that is essential to human bodies, it is much more than simply an illusion. While it is socially constructed through human interaction, and through relationships between people and institutions, as a social force, race is very real in its consequences. (Nicki Lisa Cole, About Education)

The term race refers to groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of them.  (Cliffs Notes)

 

A group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognize race as a biologically valid classification (The Free Dictionary)

 

Racism

 

Racism is race-based prejudice plus power; it is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others. It is also the abusive, dominant, or aggressive behavior toward members of another race on the basis of such a belief.

Institutional racism comprises policies, procedures, operations, and culture of public or private institutions that covertly or overtly reinforce prejudices and are reinforced by them in turn. While individual racism is the expression of personal prejudice, institutional racism is the expression of a whole organization’s racist practice and culture.

Internalized racism exists when groups targeted by oppression “internalize” or give credence to mistreatment and misinformation about themselves. The targeted group thus “misbelieves” the same misinformation that pervades the social system and uses it to characterize behavior and interactions among individual members of their group. Internalized oppression is an involuntary reaction to the experience of oppression on the part of the targeted group. 

(Oregon Leadership Network)

 

Ethnicity

 

Of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

 

Ethnicity is a concept referring to a shared culture and way of life. This can be reflected in language, religion, material culture such as clothing and food, and cultural products such as music and art.  Ethnicity is often a major source of social cohesion and social conflict.  (Sociology Dictionary)

 

 

Socio-economic Status

 

Socioeconomic status is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation.

Examinations of socioeconomic status often reveal inequities in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control.  (American Psychological Association)

 

Equity

 

“Equity in education is the notion that EACH and EVERY learner will received the necessary resources they need individually to thrive in Oregon’s schools no matter what their national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, differently abled, first language, or other distinguishing characteristic.”  (Oregon Education Investment Board)

 

“All students achieve high levels of academic success, regardless of any student’s race, ethnicity, culture, neighborhood, income of parents, or home language.” (Scheurich & Skrla (2003))

 

In education, the term equity refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs, and strategies that may be considered fair, but not necessarily equal. It is has been said that “equity is the process; equality is the outcome,” given that equity—what is fair and just—may not, in the process of educating students, reflect strict equality—what is applied, allocated, or distributed equally. (The Glossary of Education Reform)

 

Equity Lens

An equity lens is a tool for analysis, planning, decision making, and evaluation.  It can be used to diagnose or analyze the impact of the design and implementation of policies or programs on underserved, marginalized, and diverse individuals and groups and to identify appropriate accommodation to eliminate barriers.  It can be used to measure whether policies and programs distribute resources and benefits equitably among diverse and underserved individuals and groups. (Oregon Leadership Network)

Achievement Gap and Opportunity Gap

 

Achievement gap refers to any significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, such as white students and minorities, for example, or students from higher-income and lower-income households.

Generally speaking, opportunity gap refers to inputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities—while achievement gap refers to outputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits. Learning gap refers to relative performance of individual students—i.e., the disparity between what a student has actually learned and what students are expected to learn at a particular age or grade level.  (Glossary of Education Reform)

 

Opportunity and achievement, while inextricably connected, are very different concerns (or issues).  In communities across the United States, children lack the crucial resources and opportunities,—inside and outside of schools—that they need if they are to reach their potential in college, career, and citizenship .   (Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education)

 

 

From OLN LEAD Tool   (Oregon Leadership Network at Education Northwest)

Collaboration:  An interactive process that enables teachers, school leaders, families, and communities with diverse expertise to work together as equals and engage in shared decision making toward mutually defined goals. ↑

Collective Responsibility:  Collective responsibility means each participant (teachers, administrators, educators, families, other stakeholders) has shared responsibility for decisions, consequences, and outcomes and fully supports and abides by group decisions.

Cultural capital ↑

Cultural Capital:  This refers to nonfinancial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. Examples include education, intellect, style of speech, dress, and even physical appearance. Cultural capital is the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers power and status. Cultural capital is the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers power and status

 teaching ↑

Culturally responsive teaching:  Culturally responsive teaching provides instruction that acknowledges that culture is central to learning. It encourages students to learn by building on the experiences, knowledge, and skills they bring to the classroom. It also infuses family customs, community culture, and expectations throughout the learning environment.

Culturally responsive teaching is student centered, has the power to transform, is connected and integrated, fosters critical thinking, incorporates assessment and reflection, and builds relationships and community

 inquiry ↑

Culture of inquiry:  In a culture of inquiry, the group makes sense of things through questioning, debate, dialogue, and confirming understanding collaboratively.

A culture of inquiry is reflective and collaborative. It is characterized by constructing and deconstructing knowledge and meaning. It provides and cultivates a formal learning structure and community.

 

Distributed leadership:  Distributed leadership refers to full participation and empowerment of teachers, educators, and stakeholders to create democratic schools.

Leadership practice is constructed in the interactions among leaders, followers, and their situations.

Under distributed leadership, everyone is responsible and accountable for leadership within his or her area. Good ideas come from throughout the school community, and many people cooperate in creating change. Distributed leadership is an environment where everyone feels free to develop and share new ideas.

 

Emerging bilingual students:  This is a strength-based term focusing on dual language as an asset. The term is synonymous with the terms English language learners (ELLs) and limited English proficient (LEP) students.

 of fiscal and material resources ↑

Equitable allocation of fiscal and material resources:  Involves needs-based distribution, including equitable distribution of high-quality teachers across all schools.

Requires that decisions be made collaboratively by those closest to the learners.

Meets the unique needs of all students.

Does not mean equal allocation.

Equity lens:  An equity lens is a tool for analysis, planning, decision making, and evaluation.

It can be used to diagnose or analyze the impact of the design and implementation of policies or programs on underserved, marginalized, and diverse individuals and groups and to identify appropriate accommodation to eliminate barriers.

It can be used to measure whether policies and programs distribute resources and benefits equitably among diverse and underserved individuals and groups.

 subgroups ↑

Federally defined subgroups:  Under NCLB requirements for schools receiving Title I funds with the goal of all students reaching the proficient level, states must define minimum levels of improvement as measured by standardized tests chosen by the state. Adequate yearly progress (AYP) targets must be set for overall achievement and for subgroups of students, including major ethnic/racial groups, economically disadvantaged students, limited English proficient (LEP) students, and students with disabilities.

Inclusive process ↑

Inclusive process:  Inclusive education is an approach that seeks to address the learning needs of all children, youth, and adults with a specific focus on those who are vulnerable to being marginalized and excluded.

Inclusive education means that schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic, or other conditions. This includes disabled and gifted children; homeless and working children; children from remote or migrant populations; children from linguistic, ethnic, or cultural minorities; and children from other disadvantaged or marginalized areas or groups.

Inclusion is the process of addressing and responding to the diverse needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures, and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures, and strategies, with a common vision that covers all children. It is a conviction that the regular system is responsible for educating all children.

Language-appropriate communication ↑

Language-appropriate communication:  Communication is two-way and involves finding a means to communicate effectively while respecting and accepting language and cultural differences.

 

Non-dominant groups:  Non-dominant groups hold a lower position in a social hierarchy, lack access to resources, and do not control the value system or the rewards in a society.

Dominant groups exercise the most control. A dominant group is a social group that has the highest position in a social hierarchy, the greatest access to resources, and control of the value system and rewards in a particular society.

 

Oppression:  External oppression is the unjust exercise of authority and power by one group over another. It includes imposing one group’s belief system, values, and life ways over another group. External oppression becomes internalized oppression when we come to believe and act as if the oppressor’s beliefs system, values, and life way are reality. The result is often shame and the disowning of individual and cultural identity and reality.

Institutionalized oppression is the systematic mistreatment of people with a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership or perceived membership in the social identity group.

Pipeline ↑

Pipeline:  A pipeline for hiring and placing personnel in an equitable manner assures a diverse applicant pool, establishes a clear identification of career pathways, provides a system of communication and ongoing supports and mentoring, and typically includes collaboration with higher education,

Positional authority ↑

Positional authority:  Positional authority is based on one’s position and responsibility in the workplace. Personal authority is the standing an individual has with others because of his or her behavior, values, treatment of others, and morality.

Privilege ↑

Privilege:  Privilege refers to an unearned advantage that accompanies a person’s perceived status and/or perceived membership in identified groups. A right that only some people have access or availability to because of their social group memberships (dominants). Because hierarchies of privilege exist, even within the same group, people who are part of the group in power (white/Caucasian people with respect to people of color, men with respect to women, heterosexuals with respect to homosexuals, adults with respect to children, and rich people with respect to poor people) often deny they have privilege even when evidence of differential benefit is obvious.

Racism:  Racism is race-based prejudice plus power; it is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others. It is also the abusive, dominant, or aggressive behavior toward members of another race on the basis of such a belief.

Institutional racism comprises policies, procedures, operations, and culture of public or private institutions that covertly or overtly reinforce prejudices and are reinforced by them in turn. While individual racism is the expression of personal prejudice, institutional racism is the expression of a whole organization’s racist practice and culture.

Internalized racism exists when groups targeted by oppression “internalize” or give credence to mistreatment and misinformation about themselves. The targeted group thus “misbelieves” the same misinformation that pervades the social system and uses it to characterize behavior and interactions among individual members of their group. Internalized oppression is an involuntary reaction to the experience of oppression on the part of the targeted group.

 

Redress systemic inequities:  Redressing systemic inequities means to remedy, set right, or compensate for a wrong or grievance that is the outcome of status quo institutions, policies, and practices.

 

Restoration-focused inclusive practices:  These practices provide opportunities for wrongdoers to be accountable to those they have harmed and enable them to repair the harm they caused to the extent possible.

These practices recognize the need to keep the community safe through strategies that build relationships and empower the community to take responsibility for the well-being of its members. They increase the positive social skills of those who have harmed others and build on strengths in each young person.

 ↑

Social justice:  Social justice is about fairness among human beings. Social justice is equivalent to social fairness. It is a phrase that refers to giving what is rightly due to an individual or group, team, or community.

Teaching for social justice is an educational philosophy designed to promote socioeconomic equality in the learning environment and instill values supporting equality in students.

 

 

Systemic nature of educational disparities ↑

Systemic nature of educational disparities:  The perspective that disparities (based in race, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, national origin, and other social groupings) in achievement, discipline, leadership, participation, engagement, attendance, and other school opportunities are the expected and predictable outcomes given the current organization, structure, and power dynamics in schools.

 

Traditionally marginalized:  Traditionally marginalized populations are those that are excluded, devalued, and relegated to an unimportant or powerless position; the marginalization is predictable, historical, and systemic.

o-way culturally responsive communication ↑

Two-way culturally responsive communication:  Communication that is reciprocal and requires: awareness of one’s own culture, cultural knowledge and understanding, adaptation and code switching, appropriate language, and mutual respect.