Conversations surrounding race often go awry simply because one or both parties have an incorrect or incomplete understanding of words and their meanings.

Here are introductory definitions of key words for further learning on that topic.

Stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. This is a term very specific to the US.

Colorblind Racism
A belief system that holds tightly to the idea that ignoring race (as individuals, institutions, and governing bodies) is the way to solve issues surrounding race; denying the lived experience of BIPOC, the reality of collective group identity, and the ways race still influences the everyday lives of BIPOC.

Diversity encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender, but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves differing ideas, perspectives, and values. As a philosophy, diversity is all-inclusive and recognizes that everyone and every group should be valued.

A form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. People experiencing gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves.

Implicit Bias
Also​ known as​ ​unconscious or h​idden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves.

Individual Racism
Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.

Institutional Racism
Som​etimes called s​tructural or systemic racism––refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for white people, and oppression and disadvantage for people of color.

Lived Experience
A term used as a way to reinforce and remind people that BIPOC know what they are talking about when it comes to racism because we have lived it.

Macroaggression (racialized)
An act of racism towards everyone of that race. Big, systemic forms of oppression rather than interpersonal forms of bias or discrimination.

Microaggression (racialized)
A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group. Basically it attempts to lessen the harm and impact toward marginalized people.

Prejudgment about a person based on group membership and the characteristics, positive or negative, associated with that group. These judgments are usually based on incorrect, insufficient, or the absence of knowledge about the group.

Privilege refers to an unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on a group of people, relative to another group of people, solely because of their identification with a social identity (race, gender, disability, class, education, etc.).

Reconciliation is the restoration of a broken relationship between two people or groups of people. Reconciliation happens when an agreement is reached about a former dispute; then restitution is made, forgiveness is granted, and true communion begins to develop between the formerly divided people or groups.

Systemic Racism
Racism that is embedded into our systems and structures via laws, norms, and policies. It does not require any individually hateful or overtly racist beliefs of actions to continue to inflict oppression on marginalized groups.

White Racialized Response
When BIPOC or even white people say whiteness, white people tend to assume we are talking about all white people are racist. It is discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice

White Supremacy
White supremacy is a historically-based, institutionally-perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.

White or White people
Any non-brown/Black skinned person/people.

Not to be confused with white people! When whiteness is talked about, we are talking about a dominant white cultural space that usually keeps BIPOC on the margin. We may even see BIPOC display or support whiteness, even when they themselves are the one being marginalized. BIPOC will uphold whiteness in order to fit in and not face issues.

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