Below you will find the ODEI approved definitions of common words used with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Civility: Civility is the act of showing respect, even when we disagree.

Disability: Physical or mental impairment that affects a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Diversity: Diversity refers to differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, education, political beliefs, abilities, country of origin, life experiences, age, and socio-economic status—that inform how we identify and experience the world. 

Discrimination: The unequal treatment of members of various groups, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, which favor one group over others on differences of race, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, language, age, national identity, religion, and other categories.

Equity: The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist in the provision of adequate opportunities to all groups.

Freedom of Expression: Freedom of expression is a constitutional right that guarantees all persons, outside of certain restrictions, are free to express ideas or opinions without censorship or restraint.  Free expression can take the form of words (oral or written), silence, gesture, art or other media. Restrictions on freedom of expression include libel, slander, obscenity, child pornography, fraud, speech that incites illegal or violent action.

Gender Identity: Distinct from the term “sexual orientation,” refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.

Gender Non-conforming: An individual whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.

Harassment: The use of comments or actions that can be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, and unwelcome.

Implicit Bias: Negative associations expressed automatically that people unknowingly hold and that hat affect our understanding, actions, and decisions; also known as unconscious or hidden bias.

Inclusion: Inclusion means actively acknowledging and intentionally engaging with the differences that make all persons unique, valuable, and deserving of dignity. Inclusion informs academic study, co-curricular activities, personal and professional relationships, and all levels of community involvement.

Intersectionality: A social construct that recognized the fluid diversity of identities that a person can hold such as gender, race, class, religion, professional status, marital status, socioeconomic status, etc.

“Isms”: A way of describing any attitude, action or institutional structure that subordinates (oppresses) a person or group because of their target group. For example, color (racism), gender (sexism), economic status (classism), older age (ageism), religion (e.g., anti-Semitism), sexual orientation (heterosexism), language/immigrant status (xenophobism), etc.

LGBTQIA: An inclusive term for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.

Microaggression: The verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, insults, or belittlement, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon discriminatory belief systems.

Multicultural Competency: A process of embracing diversity and learning about people from other cultural backgrounds. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world, and an openness to learn from them.

Oppression: The systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry, and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures.

Patriarchy: Actions and beliefs that prioritizes masculinity. Patriarchy is practiced systemically in the ways and methods through which power is distributed in society (jobs and positions of power given to men in government, policy, criminal justice, etc.) while also influencing how we interact with one another interpersonally (gender expectations, sexual dynamics, space-taking, etc.).

People of Color: A collective term for men and women of Asian, African, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds; as opposed to the collective “White”.

Prejudice: an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment and can be rooted in stereotypes that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.

Privilege: Exclusive access or availability to material and immaterial resources based on the membership to a dominant social group.

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.”

Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic, and political needs of a society at a given period of time

Safe Space: Refers to an environment in which everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves and participating fully, without fear of attack, ridicule, or denial of experience.
Sexual orientation: An individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Social Justice: Social justice constitutes a form of activism, based on principles of equity and inclusion that encompasses a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and society as a whole.

Stereotype: A form of generalization rooted in blanket beliefs and false assumptions, a product of processes of categorization that can result in a prejudiced attitude, uncritical judgment, and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Stereotypes are typically negative, based on little information that does not recognize individualism and personal agency.

Structural inequality: Systemic disadvantage(s) of one social group compared to other groups, rooted and perpetuated through discriminatory practices (conscious or unconscious) that are reinforced through institutions, ideologies, representations, policies/laws, and practices. When this kind of inequalities is related to racial/ethnic discrimination is referred to as systemic or structural racism.

System of Oppression: Conscious and unconscious, non-random, and organized harassment, discrimination, exploitation, discrimination, prejudice, and other forms of unequal treatment that impact different groups. Sometimes is used to refer to systemic racism.

Tokenism: Presence without meaningful participation. For example, a superficial invitation for the participation of members of a certain socially oppressed group, who are expected to speak for the whole group without giving this person a real opportunity to speak for her/himself.

Contact Us

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Kenneth Hall, Director
214A Ulmer Hall 
(570) 484-2598

 

Tammy Kramer, Secretary
 214B Ulmer Hall
(570) 484-2953

 

Office Hours

8:00am to 4:00pm Monday-Friday

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