Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusivity (DEAI) Glossary

Accessibility | is giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings. (American Alliance of Museums, https://www.aam-us.org/programs/diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/facing-change-definitions/)

Ally | A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically member of dominant group standing beside member(s) of targeted group; e.g., a man arguing for equal pay for women. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

BIPOC | Black, Indigenous, People of Color

Black Lives Matter | A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” Source: Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019). 

CisgenderA term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.  (Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms) 

Discrimination | 1). The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories 2). [In the United States] the law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. SOURCE: 1. Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative, A Community Builder's Tool Kit, Appendix I (2000). 2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Laws Enforced by EEOC (accessed 28 June 2013)

DEAI | The proliferation of diversity and inclusion initiatives across sectors virtually guarantees that there will be debate about the terms of engagement. Clear definitions keep us on the same page and allow us to move forward. Although there are many definitions of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, an American Alliance of Museums working group agreed upon a set that best captures our beliefs. Download the AAM DEAI Definitions Infographic here. (https://www.aam-us.org/programs/diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/facing-change-definitions/)

Diversity | all the ways that people are different and the same at the individual and group levels. Even when people appear the same, they are different. Organizational diversity requires examining and questioning the makeup of a group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented. (American Alliance of Museums, https://www.aam-us.org/programs/diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/facing-change-definitions/)

Equality | is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, or because of other characteristics. Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. those of certain races, disabled people, women and gays and lesbians, have experienced discrimination. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Equity | the fair and just treatment of all members of a community. Equity requires a commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.¹ (American Alliance of Museums, https://www.aam-us.org/programs/diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/facing-change-definitions/)

Harassment | Unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It may also involve unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or be related to gender reassignment or sex. The conduct can either be a serious one-off event or be a ‘course of conduct’, i.e. it happens on a number of occasions. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Identity | The characteristics and qualities of a person, considered collectively, and regarded as essential to that person’s self-awareness. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Implicit Bias | Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics. SOURCE:  Cheryl Staats, State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2013, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University. See also RacialEquityTools.org, “ACT / Communicating / Implicit Bias

Inclusion | refers to the intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organization and/or community. (American Alliance of Museums, https://www.aam-us.org/programs/diversity-equity-accessibility-and-inclusion/facing-change-definitions/)

Gender identity | One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.  (Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms) 

Non-binary | An adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While many also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people do. Non-binary can also be used as an umbrella term encompassing identities such as agender, bigender, genderqueer or gender-fluid. (Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms) 

People of Color | Often the preferred collective term for referring to non-White racial groups. Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, e.g., “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through their own racial/ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate. SOURCE:  Race Forward, “Race Reporting Guide” (2015).

Prejudice | Judging someone without knowing them, on the basis of what they look like or what group they belong to, e.g. all black people are good dancers. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Race | Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Racism | Treating someone unfairly because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/glossary-terms) 

Racial and Ethnic Identity | An individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization, and personal experience. SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, Routledge, 1997.

ReparationsStates have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress. SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice. See also RacialEquityTools.org, “PLAN / Issues / Reparations

Transgender | An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. (Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms)