Race Discussion Glossary – compiled by Bill DeTally – hope helpful to all who browse these pages:
RACE DISCUSSION GLOSSARY
Ally – A person committed to dismantling racial injustice and racism. This commitment is shown by the person’s willingness to learn about racism and racial justice; challenge his or her own racial prejudices; learn and practice anti-racism; and interrupt statements, behaviors, and institutional practices of racial prejudice.
Antiracism – Actions and attitudes which challenge all forms of racism. With an understanding of the systemic nature of racism, an anti-racist works actively to counter racist practices and attitudes in herself/himself and others, and dismantles racist institutional structures and policies.
Anti-racism is more than tolerating or even celebrating diversity. A diverse organization is not necessarily anti-racist. An anti-racist, multicultural organization or institution is one that includes people from diverse cultural backgrounds as “stakeholders” in the work, benefits, responsibilities and key decisions of the organization (adapted from Bailey Jackson)
Racism has been historically institutionalized into every organization and system of the United States. It is now time to institutionalize anti-racism in all those same places.
Culture-The vast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals, ceremonies and practices peculiar to a particular group of people, and that provides them with a general design for living and with patterns for interpreting reality.” (Wade Nobles)
Cultural Diversity-Differences in age, color, gender, ethnic heritage, language, national origin, spiritual belief or tradition, sexual orientation, physical, mental or emotional nature, and economic circumstance. Each of these differences brings a diverse perspective, reflection and insight to every life experience.
Cultural Racism-This form of racism undermines the history and culture of certain groups by ignoring, devaluing, laughing at or misrepresenting their experiences. The dominant group sets the standards of beauty, art, music, and other cultural norms. This leads to a lack of knowledge and appreciation of diversity for the dominant group, and to a lack of pride and self-esteem for excluded groups. All of society loses the awareness of important contributions of all groups in our global society.
Cultural racism occurs when attempts are made to debase or assimilate a group of people, thus ignoring their individual and collective contributions to the mobility of humankind. Stereotyping is one of the self-perpetuating features of this form of racism.
Discrimination-An Act. A failure to treat all persons equally where no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those not favored. (Blacks Law Dictionary) A showing of partiality or prejudice in treatment; specific policies or actions directed against the welfare of a group. Discrimination is a tool of oppression.
Environmental Racism-A form of racism that manifests itself by locating trash dumps, toxic waste sites and other objectionable material/discards in storage areas in proximity to neighborhoods of people of color.
Ethnic (Group)-Grouping of people with some similar set of religious, linguistic, ancestral, tribal, or physical characteristics.
Institutionalized Racism-Occurs when institutional power is added to or combined with racial prejudice. When the institutions of society – the economic system, the legal system, the health care system, the education system, the media, the civil system, etc., are controlled by one group and operate on the basis of racial prejudice.
Many members of societal institutions assume their dominant race is superior, more valued and more worthy of inclusion or benefit. Participants in these systems, whether decision makers or beneficiaries, may be unaware of the institution’s biases, or may be deliberately discriminatory.
Internalized Racism-The belief by people of color that the stereotypes and lies about them are true. Results of this are: self-doubt, loss of self-esteem, self-hatred, and lowered expectations and motivation.
This tragic form of racism occurs when the victims of racism believe the stereotypes and misinformation, then turn society’s negative evaluations about their group inward. They take out the anger, hurt and frustration on themselves and members of their own group.
Justice-Fair and just treatment to all and in all actions and attitudes.
Kinship-This is the recognition of family not necessarily limited to blood relatives. We seek to reclaim this recognition through love, respect and concern for all humankind.
Oneness- The oneness of humanity is a spiritual truth abundantly confirmed by science. To paraphrase a definition by Albert Einstein: a human being is part of the universe. He or she can experience himself/herself, and their personal thoughts or feelings, as something separated from the rest of the universe, which is a delusion of his or her consciousness. This delusion can be a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all its beauty.
Oppression- A system of dis-equality where the goods, services, and benefits of society are available to people based on their membership in social groups. This system is supported by the power structure. The root of the word “oppression” is “press.” Presses are used to mold things, flatten, or reduce them. The experience of oppressed people is that one’s life is confined and shaped by forces that are not accidental. It is the experience of being caged in or blocked.
Power-One group having control over the major institutions (economic, political, social, etc.) of the country.
Prejudice-an emotional commitment to ignorance; a preconceived notion; a negative evaluation based on insufficient or erroneous knowledge; irrational hostility toward a group or individual based upon supposed characteristics; a negative attitude about a person or group based on comparison, in which the person’s own group is used as a positive reference point.
Race-Ethnic grouping by skin color shades, with the realization that there is only one race, the human race.
Race Unity-the process of bringing together as one family all ethnic groupings.
Racial-relating to ethnicity.
Racial Equity-Treating all ethnicities impartially.
Racial Justice-Treating all ethnicities just and fairly.
Racial Prejudice-An emotional commitment to ignorance about ethnic groups other than your own group. Usually negative and usually formed without personal experience.
Racial Stereotype-A generalization imposed on an entire ethnic group or an individual of that ethnic group based on a real or perceived characteristic of some individual belonging to that group; or based on a cultural norm which has been distorted; or based on myth or total misunderstanding of the group/ethnicity/culture.
Racial Supremacism-The most vile form of racism. “Ethnic cleansing” and genocide are its watchword and horrible legacy.
Racial Unity-A commitment to interconnectedness of individuals in an ethnicity which leads to harmony of thought and purpose.
Racism-A system of manifestations of oppression and advantage. Racial prejudice as practiced by a person from the power ethnic group. An emotional commitment to ignorance relating to ethnicity by a person belonging to the power ethnic group. This group then assumes they have the right to dominate, exclude, discriminate against, abuse, hate, kill…Racism is racial prejudice that’s practiced by a person from the power ethnic group.
Racist-A person practicing racism. That person is not a racist unless they are a member of the power ethnic group and are practicing racial prejudice.
Reverse Racism-This is a misnomer. There is no such thing. There is only one power ethnic group in our country and that is the “white-skinned” ethnic group.” “People of color skinned” do not have the systemic social power to oppress “white skinned” people as a group. The people of color ethnic groups can practice racial prejudice, but they don’t have the power to practice racism.
Separate But Equal-Extreme separatism, nationalism. The U.S. Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) established the practice of ‘separate but equal’ facilities for differering races, and this practice continued until the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). Some examples of this concept still voiced today are, “I don’t mind such and such a group, but not in my neighborhood, not with my kids, not with my daughter,etc.”
Spatial Racism-The practice of constructing space that is prejudiced against people of color.
Stereotype-From a printing term for the metal plates from which copies are made. In this sense, racial stereotypes are conventional notions about people based upon oversimplified ideas, opinions or beliefs. They can also be manifested when groups are thought to conform to a standard pattern or manner, lacking individuality.
Stereotyping-The act of generalizing that is believed about an entire group of people (all Puerto Ricans, or all Italians…) It is based on a real or perceived characteristic of some person that belongs to that group; or based on a cultural norm which is being distorted or based on a total misunderstanding of the group that is being practiced.
Structural Racism-The term refers to a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial (group) inequity. The term identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time, (from “Structural Racism and Community Building” by Aspen Institute Round Table on Community Change).
Unaware Racism-Participants in this difficult type of racism are not conscious of or sensitive to how their behavior perpetuates ideas that are false and damaging. Everyone in American society is affected by unaware racism, as we have been exposed to misinformation from the media, movies, literature and curriculum on all levels. Most people remain with people of their own group, so first-hand knowledge about members of other groups is not obtained. We can acknowledge unaware racism and strive to be sensitive to it in all aspects of our daily lives.
Unity-this is the recognition of interconnectedness of individuals and groups which leads to harmony of purpose, thought, ideas, or aims, goals, etc.
White Privilege-Choices, advantages, benefits, assumptions and expectations granted to “whites” by the society as well as the assumptions and expectations internalized by white people. Privilege group membership is usually determined at birth (“white” child, male child, child born into economic security, etc.) White privilege group has a powerful tool for dismantling racial injustice when this privilege is used with integrity. Likewise, when members of the white privilege group adopt a passion for justice and thereby challenge unjust structures, attitudes and institutions, they further the dismantling of racism.