A printed glossary is available in the book, published July 2018:  Rise, Shine, Be Woke (available on Amazon and iBooks). There is also a glossary in the 2022 ALA/ACRL/ARL/PLA Cultural Competencies for Racial Justice Equity: A Framework. (Link is to 27 page pdf)

Ideas matter. Language matters. Human unity matters. The goal of the Anti-racism Digital Library and Thesaurus (ADL) is to describe anti-racism in all its fullness in order to increase human unity. We seek to fuel the scorching of continuing racialization (the morphing of racism into newer forms of discrimination, subordination, and oppression) and ignite cooperation for justice and peace. We cannot use the language of race alone to dismantle and end racism. We need to discover, create, craft, and make available a rich vocabulary for describing complex humanity that harms no one and releases all human beings to live in harmony and flourish. This is the goal of The International Anti-racism Dictionary-Thesaurus. The Library and Thesaurus can be used in everyday language and for assigning subject headings in library catalogs and indexing databases. The Glossary is a first step towards developing a Dictionary-Thesaurus. Terms and phrases, when completed, will describe people and anti-racism actions, behaviors, values, policies, strategies, and movements in the global arena.

The work of anti-racism scholars, trainers, and activists, inclusive style guides by anti-racist organizations, along with Critical Race Theory (CRT) by Ricardo and Stefancic (2001) are major sources of this Glossary along with other published tools. The Glossary is a work in progress. Initially, the Scriptures of diverse faith traditions, selective texts from Christian liberation theologies, scholarship about anti-racism, comparative religion, human rights, anti-racism education, and positive peace, were included. The ideas about categorization (frames, idealized cognitive models, metaphors, bias, etc.) are influenced by George Lakoff’s Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. 1987. Many disciplines and domains are being investigated - notably religion, theology, psychology, sociology, linguistics, anthropology, ethnic studies, indigenous studies, and peace studies - but the terms may not yet be fully defined here.

Some Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) based on Coleman’s study of The Representation and Treatment of “Anti-Racism” in Bibliographic Information Systems and Knowledge Structures are also listed. They are based on findings which were reported at the Annual Conference of the American Theological Librarians Association (ATLA), June 2016.

It is not my intention to create a thesaurus when vocabularies already exist. Rather, it is my intention to find the appearances, emergences and expressions of the practices, actions, and behaviors besides issues and movements of anti-racism and make them fully visible. This is also an attempt to add and transform language that limits a complex people’s identity to skin color tones (Whites, Blacks, People of Color). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prayed, I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Library (formal) vocabularies used when possible are: Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (2015) for people group names (LCGDT); Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH);ATLA Thesaurus of Religious Occupational Terms (TROT); ERIC descriptors; and style guides from communications/journalism. 

Other sources of terms and definitions include the work of anti-racism organizations. These are found as resources in the library. E.g. Calgary Anti-racism Education (CARED), which includes an extensive glossary and training tools, as well as links to websites and blogs and Racial Equity Tools.

Feedback is invited and very welcome. If you would you like to contribute terms, help in completing the definitions, or participate in any other way in the development of the vocabulary and the library, please contact us. 

A 2018 pdf copy of this glossary can be downloaded from the library http://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/218

Alphabetical List of Terms 

Accessibility: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). sets out the human rights of persons with disabilities and the obligations on States to promote, protect and ensure those rights as well as mechanisms to support implementation and monitoring. Accessibility is the 6th of 8 general principles set out in the CRPD Article 4 and Article 9 lists the full description of Accessibility.

Institutional definition: Accessibility refers to the extent to which physical and virtual resources and services are available to all individuals. Adapted from the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the University Library, Vision Statement. DEIA Task Force, University of Illinois Library. Available online. 18 December 2021.

Acculturation: the process of learning to live successfully in a different culture; the process of helping somebody to do this. (source: Oxford English Language Dictionaries). Acculturation is often contrasted with assimilation where the immigrant gives up the minority culture, for example, giving up the traditional Indian sari to wear American dresses, giving up vegetarianism and eating meat. See also Transcultural.

Advocacy: To publicly support a policy or cause and to advocate for its legal adoption and use. Christian political advocacy is a specific anti-racism behavior and a key part of Christian discipleship and anti-racist identity (as advocate). Anti-racism advocacy is not limited to those who profess the Christian faith although they have a centuries long legacy through Christian institutions and organization, missions, and social justice as it may also be called, in abolition, civil rights, prisoner rehabilitation, immigration issues, healthcare, education and more. Mission, Solidarity, Reparation and Witness-bearing are also related forms of Christian anti-racism.

Affirmative action: Policy that strives for increased minority enrollment, activity, or membership, often with the intention of diversifying a certain environment such as a school or workplace.

Algorithmic discrimination: "The term “algorithmic discrimination” refers to instances when automated systems contribute to unjustified different treatment or impacts disfavoring people based on their actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, sex (including based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions; gender identity; intersex status; and sexual orientation), religion, age, national origin, limited English proficiency, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law." Source: Section 10(f) of Executive Order 14091 of February 16, 2023. (USA - Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government)

Allophilia:  A term used “to describe an individual’s feelings of affection, engagement, kinship, comfort and enthusiasm towards members of a group seen as ‘different’ and ‘other’” (Pittinsky 2009 p.213). Available online here.

Ally is a member of an oppressor group who works to end a form of oppression which gives him or her privilege. Allyship is a process and everyone has a lot to learn. Allyship involves a lot of listening … Sometimes, people say ‘doing ally work’ or ‘acting in solidarity’ with reference to the fact that ‘ally’ is not an identity but an ongoing and lifelong process that involves a lot of work. Optical Allyship (May 2020) is performative allyship!

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Abbreviated as ADR.  Any method of resolving disputes without going through the public court system. Arbitration and mediation are the two major forms of ADR.

Ambiguity: emerging quality of visible identity characteristics favored by some.

Angelification (Christian): "One who enters the sphere of Jesus' activity through conversion experiences death and immediate resurrection to the angelic life." Example: Rosa Parks.  p. 223 -229, Susan Garrett.  No Ordinary Angel, 2005.

Angelic Community: United by common vision and common grief, and reflecting divine glory, transient, ephemeral, emerging whenever and wherever love and mutual care, rather than enmity and egoism, govern the way the members of a body or people relate to one another."  Example: "Timothy Tyson tells of the ugly accounts that transpired in Oxford, North Carolina in 1970: a black man was murdered in cold blood and his white murderers, known to many, were acquitted... For Tyson who is white, there was personal damage ... father was forced out of his pastorate for siding with the victim, and Tyson himself, a ten-year old boy at the   time, suffered debilitating anger that lasted for years ... But he completes the story with a vision of community restored: an account of a trip taken with an interracial group of college students to see the sites where racism had been so viciously enacted, to lament what had been lost, and to find healing balm along the way." p. 229, Susan Garrett.  No Ordinary Angel, 2005. 

Antiessentialism: see Essentialism, also Intersectionality

Anti-oppression: Anti-oppression is an interdisciplinary theory that the unjust exercise of power, privilege or authority, in other words, oppression, is something everybody in society does. Structural oppression continues to be perpetuated despite our intentions to be anti-oppressive. Some key tenets are: Power, privilege, and oppression, continue to play out even among anti-racist groups engaged in fighting oppression and so we must be committed to understanding how various systems of oppression affect us all; For the good of all words and language that dehumanize, marginalize or exclude must be challenged and changed; Anti-oppressive practice is lifelong and requires commitment by the organization/group to anti-oppression goals.   

Anti Anti-racism: A conservative anti-racism stance, a belief that anti-racism is not needed, and it is often expressed in the form of rhetorical strategies.

Anti-racialism is the silencing of racism and is opposed to anti-racism.

Anti-racism: The policy of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. From The Oxford English Dictionary (online). From the LCSHAnti-racism (May Subd Geog) – Here are entered works on beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism.

Anti-racism is some form of focused and sustained action, that involves a mix of peoples and groups (i.e. they come from different cultures, faiths, speak diverse languages, etc. in short, intercultural, interfaith, multi-lingual, inter-class, and inter-abled) with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has oppressive effects on those historically under-represented. Coleman (2016a, 2016b).

Anti-racism is the active process of identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate individual and systemic racism. It does so by examining the power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized or differently racialized peoples.

Anti-racism is a critical part of Christian discipleship, and includes the continual practice of behaviors such as advocacy, cultural humility, empathy, hospitality, interfaith, dialog reconciliation, solidarity, witness-bearing, and more.

Anti-racist identity =Share Power, Eliminate/Uncover Prejudice, Examine Privilege. Anti-racist identity respects difference, shares power, strives to eliminate prejudice, examines privilege, uncovers thoughts, changes language, build community, and restores harmony and equity, and increases justice for all.

Asian whiteness is when whiteness is equated to success and white = ideal in Asian American communities, including new immigrants from Asia. Knowingly or unwittingly, they practice anti-blackness and anti-otherness. This is Asian whiteness.

Belonging: In Maslow's hierarchy of human needs, belonging is a psychological need. Belonging sits in the middle, above basic needs (safety and physiological), and below self-fulfillment needs (esteem and self-actualization). Belonging is the opposite of 'othering.'

Beloved Community is a global and concrete vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. Poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Agape love, the moral order of the universe that sustains and supports relationships between humans and the holy to be one of harmony and integration, and non-violence as a living force are key aspects.

Beloved Community: The biblical notion of creating a community in which people are accepted, loved, and treated as they need to be treated.  Used by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Source:  When Howard Thurman met Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolence and the Civil Rights Movement. (2014) https://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2014/10/when-howard-thurman-met-mahatma-gandhi-nonviolence-and-the-civil-rights-movement.html

Recent source: Catherine Meeks, A Beloved Community: Christian churches can address racism through spiritual formation.

Bias: A strong tendency to prefer one thing or person.Bias has become synonymous with prejudice, which is unfair liking or disliking and may be based on skin color, sex, religion, etc. Implicit bias, an innate bias against anything that is different from us, is built into the amygdala, a part of our brain.

Bicultural education: Pedagogical approach that encourages retention of a child’s original or family culture


Binary paradigm of race: Pattern of framing race issues in terms of two categories, such as black and white, white people vs. people of color.

Bio race (Biological view of race): The biological view of race was a once popular view that humanity is divided into four or five major groups, corresponding to objective and real physical differences. It is now making a comeback as bio-race in the light of new genetic findings about diseases such as Osteopenia, Sickle cell anemia, etc.. Related to genetic race. For more information read: Templeton A.R. (2013) Biological Race in Humans. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23684745

Black has been accepted or claimed as group identity. A distinction must be made between Black as identity and Blackness. Both are socially constructed.

Black Community. In recent years “black love” has emerged as the moral heart of racial justice movements. “The project that we are building,” writes Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, “is a love note to our folks.” She defines “black love” as “building community and solidarity,” overcoming the legacy of slavery and racial injustice to cultivate affection across intra-racial differences, including class, gender, sexuality, religion, and age. This justice-oriented account of black love has been percolating among black intellectuals, developing beyond the apparent opposition between King's liberal love and black power's radical rejection of it, in rage. Over the past two decades, the feminist, bell hooks, has argued that the radical self-assertion of black power must be coupled with the vision of harmonious community put forward by King in an expansive conception of self-love in, and as, black community.

Black Love. See Black Community. 

Blaxican - a person of mixed heritage that includes Africa, United States of America and Mexico.  "Walter Thompson-Hernandez often sees a reflection of himself in the stories his camera captures. Boldly staring into the lens of his camera, Black Mexican, or Blaxican, men and women slowly unveil a bit of themselves to him.... As the child of an African-American father and a non-black Mexican mother, the stories resonate with Thompson-Hernandez who started the Instagram page as an academic research project for the University of South Carolina, but found himself personally drawn to the project to understand the complexities of race and ethnicity in a country that often sees both as one and the same thing." This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Blaxican-The-Revolutionary-Identity-of-Black-Mexicans-20150724-0001.html".

Bridging. An important part of anti-racism work / anti-racist identity to counter exclusion  and othering.

Call to context/Context: Belief that social relations and truth require close attention to history, particularity, and experience.

Class: "the system of ordering a society in which people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status." Oxford Dictionaries. Also known as social class, social differentiation, class distinction in Sociology. "social class, also called class, a group of people within a society who possess the same socioeconomic status.Besides being important in social theory, the concept of class as a collection of individuals sharing similar economic circumstances has been widely used in censuses and in studies of social mobility." The Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/social-class

Three classes are generally agreed upon by scholars: upper (also known as owning for they own property and capital), middle (those engaged in technical and professional occupations), and lower (manual workers who are characterized by a lack of property and dependence on wages as well as manual work in the extractive and manufacturing industries).

Color Imagery: Words, texts, and television images that associate skin color with traits such as innocence, criminality, or physical beauty

Color Labels are skin colors used to categorize humans. Skin color matters in our society as it is a signifier loaded with identity and value. People are judged on the basis of their skin color and we think nothing of describing others by using skin color labels. E.g. Blacks, People of Color, Whites. Blackness, color, whiteness are all constructed and they are not monoliths. It is a part of lived experience that people are from specific places, geographies, languages, and other factors, there are expressions of diversities within them such as Jamaican not African American, and statements like “But I’m not white… black … woman of color, etc.” 

Colorblindness is the idea of “I don’t see color, I treat all people alike.” Colorblindness is the refusal to see racism as anything other than simple bias or individual prejudice; colorblindness is an imprecise term because in the United States of America and similar racialized societies, people choose to see race in a particular, hierarchical way and avoid using race, racism or racialization as an explanatory framework for social policy or transactions. An anti-racism stance acknowledges the existence of different skin colors and color differences but does not value or place them on a hierarchy (see also property of whiteness). All skin colors are of equal value.

Colorism refers to the universal preference for lighter colored skin across the world, in a world where dark skin is demonized and white skin prized. Combined with color imagery, we begin to see how much of the symbolism and metaphors in the Christian faith, English literature, and other social traditions contribute to myths such as: Light skin must be shielded from the sun; dark bodies flourish under the sun. Two questions (among many) that need to be further investigated are: What, if any, are the human evolutionary advantages of pale, light, white? What are the mythologies associated with color that have impacted human equity?  


Communications Justice

Compassion – An observable behavior towards different others. Sympathy, pity, expression in concern for the suffering of others is a hall-mark of anti-racism identity as well as Christian discipleship.

Countermajoritarianism: View that the court system is free to strike down laws enacted by the majority that are unfair to minority groups

Counter-storytelling: Writing that aims to cast doubt on the validity of accepted premises or myths, especially ones held by the majority.

Critical legal studies: Legal movement that challenged liberalism from the Left, denying that law was neutral, that every case had a single correct answer, and that rights were of vital importance

Critical race theory is a movement, theory and a book, the classic Ricardo Delgado and Jean Stefancic. 2001. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York University Press.

Critique of rights: Critical legal studies position that rights are alienating, ephemeral, and much less useful than most people think


Culture - Sociologists define culture as the values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that constitute a people's way of life. In Macionis, John. Sociology. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1997. page 62.

Cultural appropriation

Cultural competence 

Cultural diversity: Cultural diversity has more to do with our capacity to feel our way into alien sensibilities, modes of thoughts we do not possess, and are not likely to, than whether we can escape preferring our own preferences ... It is not that we must love one another or die (if that is the case Blacks and Afrikaners, Arabs and Jews, Tamils and Sinhalese we are, I think, doomed). It is that we must know one another, and live with that knowledge, or end marooned in a Beckett-world of colliding soliloquy. - Geertz C (1986) The uses of diversity.Michigan Quarterly Review25(1): 10523.

Cultural Humility (LCSH)

Cultural identity see Identity.

Cultural proficiency

Cultural racism

Decolonization - See the University of British Columbia LibGuide on Decolonization and Anti-racism - https://guides.library.ubc.ca/antiracism/decolonization_anti-racism

Deconstructionism: Intellectual approach that targets traditional interpretations of terms, concepts, and practices, showing that they contain unsuspected meanings or internal contradictions

Determinism: View that individuals and culture are products of particular forces, such as economics, biology, or the search for high status

Difference:  Not the same.  "Growing up, I learned difference is the norm. No two people are alike and that is very good." Anita Coleman

Differential racialization: process by which racial and ethnic groups are viewed and treated differently by, mainstream society

Diaspora and related terms such as Asian Diasporas

Dignity see Human Rights, Human Dignity

Digital justice see Detroit Digital Justice Coalition

Direct action: Is non-violence a form of direct action? asked Howard Thurman; Gandhi replied, It is the only form of direct action. Source: https://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2014/10/when-howard-thurman-met-mahatma-gandhi-nonviolence-and-the-civil-rights-movement.html

Discourse: Formal, extensive, oral or written treatment of a subject; the way we speak about something

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.

We must be careful not to separate diversity from EDI. Race, ethnicity, and gender are often the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used in EDI — but global inclusion requires attention to discrimination by age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance, and intellectual (indigenous knowledge, for example, has not always been valued).

Diversity refers to the recognition, celebration, and appreciation of the various internal and external characteristics and attributes of those within our institution. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the University Library, Vision Statement. DEIA Task Force, University of Illinois Library. Available online. 18 December 2021.

Double consciousness (W.E.B. DuBois)

Emotional labour is the suppression of feelings between worker and customer or client.  It is the neutral or friendly mask one wears in spite of the discomfort, displeasure, or even distress one may feel during an interaction.  It is the deployment of mental resources to keep smiling when one is internally suffering. Source: A.D.A. France-Williams. Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England.  London, UK: SCM Press, 2020. Page 5-6. 

Empathy is at the heart of anti-racism and the struggles for justice

Empathetic fallacy: Mistaken belief that sweeping social form can be accomplished through speech and incremental victories within the system.

Empathic joy: See Pittincky, T and Montoya, M. Available online here.

Endemic racism - one of the tenets of Critical Race Theory

Environmental racism: the burdening of economically and socially disadvantaged communities with a disproportionate share of environmental hazards. Related to NIMBY: “Not In My Back Yard,” the tendency of people to protest poor environmental practices when those practices will affect them directly. (Introduction to Sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Located at: http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d/Introduction_to_Sociology_2e. License: CC BY: Attribution. License Terms: Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d@3.49)

Equity: (International Law) According to Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law,3 "equity" means "fairness or that rule of conduct which in the opinion of a person or class ought to be followed by all other persons." The term "fairness" is the crucial word in this context. See Chatopadhyay, Equity in International Law: Its growth and Development. https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/418

Equity: (US Law) The term “equity” means the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just, and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities. Source: Section 10(a) of Executive Order 14091 of February 16, 2023. (USA - Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government)

Equity is about dividing resources proportionally to achieve a fair outcome while equality is about dividing resources in matching amounts for all involved. In other words, equity recognizes the important role played by the past in human capabilities and achievements in the present and for the future and seeks to address them fairly.

Equity refers to our efforts to 1) recognize that, currently and historically, some individuals and groups experience barriers that prevent them from fully participating in and adding to our mission and 2) take steps to ensure that everyone has fair and impartial access to all resources and opportunities within our institution. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the University Library, Vision Statement. DEIA Task Force, University of Illinois Library. Available online. 18 December 2021.

Essentialism: the search for the unique essence of a group, the proper unit, or atom, of social analysis and change. The question, do all oppressed people have something in common lies at the heart of the Essentialism/Antiessentialism debate.  Essentialism has a political dimension. Essentialism is paring something down until the heart of the matter stands alone.

Ethnic global linkages

Ethnicity is a shared cultural heritage. Members of an ethnic category have common ancestors, language, or religion that, together confer a distinct social identity. In Macionis, John. Sociology. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1997. page 321

Euro-Americans People whose recent origins are in the continent of Europe

Eurocentricism: tendency to interpret the world in terms of European values and perspectives and the belief that they are superior

Exceptionalism: belief that a particular group’s history justifies treating it as unique.

Exceptionality: is a term in multicultural education which is applied to students with specialized needs or disabilities

False consciousness: phenomenon in which oppressed people internalize and identify with attitudes and ideology of the controlling class

First, do no harm: "First, do no harm" (or "primum non nocere," the Latin translation from the original Greek) is often cited as the minimum standard for diversity and inclusion research. "First, do no harm" is often considered to be a part of the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors. But it actually is from another of Hippocrates' works, Of the Epidemics. Here's a fuller version: "The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm."

Frames: Lakoff

Freedom (Christian) being who each one of us, created in the image of God, is intended to be. Anita Coleman, Casa Charis: A Daybook of Freedom, Charis Research, 2014. p. 18.


Global church

Globalization: The term globalization refers both to flows of information, commodities, people, and finance, which increasingly bring people and societies closer together, and to the policies and institutional arrangements arising out of policy choices that determine the nature of those flows. See: Dani, Anis A. (Anis Ahmad); Haan, Arjan de. Inclusive States: Social Policy and Structural Inequities. Washington, D.C. : World Bank; 2008. Available online. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/6409


Hegemony: Domination by the ruling class, and unconscious acceptance of that state of affairs


Human rights (LCSH)

Human services are the services provided by anti-racists, churches and organizations. Support Food Pantry; Start a Feeding Program

Hybrid - (include the notions of cultural hybridity and plural identities)

Hypodescent: “One-drop rule” that holds that anyone with any degree of discernible African ancestry is black

Hypocognition means there is no established frame, no fixed ideas already out there for the other side, that is the lack of ideas and the lack of a relatively simple fixed frame that can be evoked by a word or two. A conceptual gap.  

Idealism (Christian) Christian discipleship also elicits idealism because Christ has set us free from the fear of death. ... p. 235 With such idealism comes an intoxicating sense of the power of the Holy Spirit in us; p. 231-232, Susan Garrett.  No Ordinary Angel, 2005

Idealized cognitive models

Identity Labels are social and political constructions created for the purpose of organizing and pursuing anti-racist political power that ends systems of domination, exploitation, marginalization and oppression. They are a means to building belonging, achieving equity, practicing radical inclusion, in order to represent and privilege but in the end to build a better world for ALL people.


Imagination Susan Garrett.  No Ordinary Angel, 2005

Immigrant analogy: belief that racialized minority groups, especially Latinos/as and Asians, will follow the same path of assimilation as white European ethnics

Implicit bias – Implicit racial bias – Implicit social cognition – See https://perception.org/research/implicit-bias/

Inclusion (Inclusivity): Inclusion is a process and is much more complicated than exclusion, which is fairly simple and easier to define with regards to people and is a process of 'othering.'  We often know the kinds of people we don’t want to include in our groups or communities and how to set up the boundaries to keep them outside.  Once we reject them, we don’t have to deal with them. Inclusion, on the other hand, is much more complicated. “Inclusion involves a great deal of thinking and listening when we take into consideration others’ experience, history, feelings, and so forth. Inclusion requires time and energy to follow up after a person or a group has been physically included.  Once a group is embraced in our circle, we have to live with its members for an unspecified period of time.” (p. 7). The Rev. Dr. Eric Law in the book “Inclusion: Making Room for God’s Grace” (2000, Chalice Press) defines inclusion as a Christian ministry.  

Inclusion refers to our responsibility to ensure that resources and services within our library system are welcoming and supportive to all, as well as addressing any barriers to the use of these resources and services. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the University Library, Vision Statement. DEIA Task Force, University of Illinois Library. Available online. 18 December 2021.

Individual mindfulness

Information institutions – Cultural heritage institutions such as archives, libraries, museums and knowledge structures for intellectual access such as the library catalog, electronic indexes and databases, classification schemes, authority lists, subject headings and thesauri.  

Inter-able: inclusive of all people of varying levels of human abilities (e.g intellectual, cognitive, or physical disabilities, legally blind, etc.)  

Indeterminancy: idea that legal reasoning rarely, if ever, has one right answer and that politics and social pressures on judged influence outcomes

Institutional mindfulness

Institutional racism - the perpetuation of discrimination on the basis of “race” by political, economic, or legal institutions and systems. According to critical race theory, an offshoot of the critical legal studies movement, institutional racism reinforces inequalities between groups—e.g., in wealth and income, education, health care, and civil rights—on the basis of the groups’ perceived racial differences. Institutional racism became a particular focus of scholarly investigation in the 1980s, especially in the United States. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica. Some scholars distinguish between systemic, structural racism, and institutional racism. Institutional racism has been used as an overarching term for racism in systems and structures.

Institutional transformation


Interest convergence: Thesis pioneered by Derrick Bell that the majority group tolerates advances for racial justice only when it suits its interest to do so 

Interfaith dialog

Internalized racism: Victims of racism internalize it by developing ideas, beliefs, and behaviors that support or collude with it, are rewarded for supporting it or punished when they are not, and is also a system of oppression that must be made conscious and explicit. It affects marginalized communities intra-culturally as well as cross-culturally (e.g. cross-cultural hostility) as they struggle against individual and group histories of domination.

Interpersonal mindfulness

Intersectionality: Belief that individuals and classes often have shared or overlapping interests or traits. Researcher: Kimberley Crenshaw.

Investment anti-racist examples include end food deserts, provide emergency and permanent supportive housing.

Kyriarchy: a system identified by the theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza explains how ethnicity, class, economics and education, as well as gender, intersect to oppress us all, men as well as women.

Law - beyond conflict resolution to building peace

Legal realism: Early-twentieth-century forerunner of critical legal studies, which disavowed mechanical jurisprudence in favor of social science, politics, and policy judgment

Legal storytelling: Scholarship that focuses on the theory or practice of unearthing and replacing underlying rhetorical structures of the current social order, insofar as these are unfair to disenfranchised groups

Legitimacy: Quality of an instruction, such as law, which is viewed as justified and worthy of respect

Liberalism: Political philosophy that holds that the purpose of government is to maximize liberty; in civil rights, the view that law should enforce formal equality in treatment

Lingucism - refers to Lingusitic Human Rights, which are a growing area of study and combines the study of language as a central dimension of ethnicity, aliong with national and international law.


Merit: Individual worthiness; critical race scholars question the view that people may be ranked by merit and that distribution of benefits is rational and just.

Mestizaje, the fusion of European and indigenous cultures in Latin America. 

Microaffirmation: Small acts, often unconscious, of recognition (e.g. always using a person's name), acceptance, appreciation, praise, etc. See Pittinsky, Todd

Microaggression: Stunning small encounter with racism, usually unnoticed by members of the dominant or majority group. Forms of microaggressions include microinvalidations and microinsults.

Migration (and variants, migrants)

Mindfulness - has two parts, discernment and compassion when linked to social justice and diversity - from Angela Harris, Reflections on Mindfulness, Social Justice, and Diversity, see the YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX-FwdahiLg

Minorities (don't use this term!) have two major characteristics: First, they share a distinctive identity. Second, is subordination (U.S. minorities typically have lesser income, lower occupational prestige, and more limited schooling than their counterparts in the majority. ... class, race, and ethnicity, as well as gender, are not mutually exclusive issues but are overlapping and reinforcing dimensions of social stratification." Macionis, John. Sociology. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1997. page 322.  


Mixed race

Model minority myth: Idea that Asian Americans are hard-working, intelligent, and successful and that other groups should emulate them.


Movement building

Mudita: Buddhist concept related to empathic joy.

Multi-cultural competency

Multicultural education refers to any form of education or teaching that incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds. At the classroom level, for example, teachers may modify or incorporate lessons to reflect the cultural diversity of the students in a particular class. In many cases, “culture” is defined in the broadest possible sense, encompassing race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, and “exceptionality”—a term applied to students with specialized needs or disabilities. Generally speaking, multicultural education is predicated on the principle of educational equity for all students, regardless of culture, and it strives to remove barriers to educational opportunities and success for students from different cultural backgrounds. Source: http://edglossary.org/multicultural-education/

Multi-culturism - “Multiculturalism means more than racial balance and inclusion. All members of the community must be competent to communicate with each other for an effective multicultural process… The goals of multicultural competency are increased understanding, respectful communication, and full inclusion of all people, not cultural competence by itself.” From, Uprooting Racism, Paul Kivel, 2002, p. 226. (See also the definition of Multi-cultural education)


Multiple consciousness: Ability of people of color to perceive something in two or more ways, for example as a way a member of his or her group would see it and as a white would.

Mutual invitation - is a process articulated by Eric Law in his book The Wolf Shall Lie with the Lamb. URL: http://www.kscopeinstitute.org/mutual-invitation/ 



Niagara movement: This was the intellectual organization of Blacks led by W.E.B. De Bois, 105-1910 for "full political, civil, and social rights for African Americans" in contrast to the Atlanta Compromise proposed by Booker T. Washington. A forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica  

NIMBY: “Not In My Back Yard,” the tendency of people to protest poor environmental practices when those practices will affect them directly. Related to Environmental Racism (Introduction to Sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Located at: http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d/Introduction_to_Sociology_2e. License: CC BY: Attribution. License Terms: Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d@3.49)

Non-violence (satyagraha): In 1935, Howard Thurman, one of the most influential African American religious thinkers of the twentieth century, took a pivotal “Pilgrimage of Friendship” to India that would forever change him—and that would ultimately shape the course of the civil rights movement in the United States. When Thurman became the first African American to meet with Mahatma Gandhi, he found himself called upon to create a new version of American Christianity, one that eschewed self-imposed racial and religious boundaries, and equipped itself to confront the enormous social injustices that plagued the United States during this period. Gandhi’s philosophy and practice of satyagraha, or “soul force,” would have a momentous impact on Thurman, showing him the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. After the journey to India, Thurman’s distinctly American translation of satyagraha into a Black Christian context became one of the key inspirations for the civil rights movement, fulfilling Gandhi’s prescient words that “it may be through the Negroes that the unadulterated message of nonviolence will be delivered to the world.” Source: Visions of a Better World, http://www.beacon.org/Visions-of-a-Better-World-P745.aspx

Normative: Of, pertaining to, or based on a norm, especially one regarded as broad or universal.

Nuance theory: View that one may determine the essential qualities of a group such as women, and that difference from that essential core may be treated as slight variations or shades of difference.

Orient / Orientalism / Orientalized: Said, E.O. Orientalism

Other / Othering / Otherness: Othering includes processes of exclusion, marginalization, and structural inequality.

Pan (e.g. Pan-Islamic)

Paradigm: Reigning system of belief in a discipline that controls what is seen as possible, relevant, and valid.


Perspectavalism: Belief that a person’s or group’s position or standpoint greatly influences how they see truth and reality.

Pluralism is a state in which racial and ethnic minorities are distinct but have social parity. Macionis, John. Sociology. Sixth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1997. page 329. See the Pluralism Project by Diana Eck and others at Harvard Divinity School’s Andover Harvard Theological Library for a more nuanced and detailed definition as well as resources, research, and glossary. 



Principle of involuntary sacrifice: The notion that costs of civil rights advances are always placed on blacks or low-income whites.


Property interest in whiteness: Idea that white skin and identity are economically valuable. A good paper on this is Cheryl Harris, Whiteness as Property.

Psychological wage (Du Bois) 

Race - "the idea that the human species is divided into distinct groups on the basis of inherited physical and behavioral differences. Genetic studies in the late 20th century refuted the existence of biogenetically distinct races, and scholars now argue that “races” are cultural interventions reflecting specific attitudes and beliefs that were imposed on different populations in the wake of western European conquests beginning in the 15th century." Source: Encyclopedia Britannica. According to John J. Macionis, author of one of the classical textbooks for undergraduate college courses, Sociology (6th edition, Prentice-Hall, 1997), "A race is a category composed of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society deem socially significant. ... Although in the United States we readily distinguish "black" and "white" people, research confirms that our population is genetically mixed... In short, no matter what people may think, race is no black-and-white issue." (page 320)

Race as a social construction is one of the tenets of Critical Race Theory.

Racial and ethnic identity

Racial fatigue

Racial fraud & box checking: Action on the part of a non-minority person, or one with a very slight connection with a minority group, to gain the benefit of minority status, as with affirmative action.

Racial healing

Racial idealist

Racial justice – justice for the entire human race for all people groups, irrespective of skin color

Racial realism: View that racial progress is sporadic and that people of color are doomed to experience only infrequent peaks followed by regression. 

Racial realist

Racial reasoning - Cornell West, Race Matters, chapter on The Pitfalls of Racial Reasoning

Racialized people, racialized person, racialized group, are recent terms for the outdated and inaccurate terms of 'racial minority,' 'visible minority,' 'person of color' or 'non-White.'

Racialization is the process by which a society or a group creates races;  in the USA, the Office of Management and Budget is in charge of the Census race categories which started with Free White Males, Free White Females, All other free persons, and Slaves as a count of property; White has remained the norm even though the definition of who is white has kept changing over the last 200 years; Colored became Negro, Black, and African-American; the Census calls Latino/Hispanic an ethnicity, not a race; in the 2020 Census MENA for Middle Eastern and North African people, now considered White, will be added as a separate category.People as well as issues – housing, terrorism, immigration - are racialized. The processes of racialization are fluid, they keep changing, and we live in a racialized society and an increasingly racialized world.  Reflect on this pdf image: What Census Call Us: A Historical Timeline.

Racial justice is the belief, actions, and movement that there is only one human race; justice is a basic human right for all people, irrespective of skin color, national origin, etc. Racial equity is a key. In an ideal situation a society’s markets and institutions will function well for all people. Unfortunately our data does not support this. Thus, in order to improve racial equity we must achieve greater social justice. This means meeting individual people where they are, and when resources are limited as they often are, ensuring that the same kind of justice is experienced. Popular images of racial equity and justice are: leveling the playing field which is controversial, removing barriers, and the popular scales of justice. Imagine the dominant group on one scale and one of the subordinate groups on another in terms of level of educational attainment, number of employed, number of home owners, number never incarcerated, number of poor, and so on. When the scales are balanced on these and other socio-economic and health indicators, then, racial justice has been achieved.  

Racism is an ideology that either directly or indirectly asserts that one group, whose own characteristics and markers keep shifting over time, is inherently superior to others.  It is a system of privilege and oppression that rests on an understanding of humans as belonging to different races ordered in a hierarchy. People thereby deserve or are given different treatment. It can be openly displayed in racial jokes and slurs or hate crimes but it can be more deeply rooted in attitudes, values, and stereotypical beliefs.  In some cases, these are unconsciously held and have become deeply embedded in systems and institutions that have evolved over time. Racism operates at a number of levels, individual, systemic, institutional, and societal, national, international, and these are all connected.  Racism is subtle, elusive, and widespread. See also Systemic Racism


Reconstruction: Period when society is attempting to redress racial wrongs consistently and in thoroughgoing fashion.

Reparation is an anti-racism process, a relationship with equity. What Does Anti-racism have to do with equity? By Joy Bailey, Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training cited by Laura Cheifetz, keynote at Missions Connections, Presbytery of Los Ranchos, 6 Feb. 2016. 

Resilience - building up resilience in the face of injustice and suffering

Restorative justice

Restrictive covenant: Legally enforceable limitation on land use or occupancy, often created by the original owner or developer of neighborhoods.


Reverse discrimination: Discrimination aimed at the majority group.

Revisionist: View of history or an event that challenges the accepted one.

Scientific racism

Semantic Bleaching: Process whereby a morpheme or word is `bleached' of (viz. `loses') its original meaning over time (cf. Haiman, John (1991). "From V/2 to Subject Clitics: Evidence from Northern Italian". In Traugott, Elizabeth Closs (ed.). Approaches to Grammaticalization Volume II. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 154.). For an example with "diversity see Feidler and Sterling.

Settler colonialism

Social Justice

Social stratification


Stock stories: Tales that a people commonly subscribe to and use to explain their social reality; for example, that African Americans who try hard will be accepted and succeed.

Structural determinism: Concept that a mode of thought or widely shared practice determines significant social outcomes, usually without our conscious knowledge.

Structural racialization

Structural racism - Racism has been institutionalized and is deeply enculturated in our national life, our systems, our laws, our culture, our words, images, vocabulary, attitudes, and preferences. Racism is part of a web of inter-connected forces that are also maintained and perpetuated by the information institutions. Some scholars distinguish between structural, systemic and institutional racism, where the last is the overarching term.

Superstar syndrome

Survivor's guilt

Systemic Racism is the belief that racism has been institutionalized and is also deeply enculturated in our national life, our systems, laws, cultures, words, images, vocabulary, attitudes, and preferences. Institutional and Structural racism are both forms of systemic racism. Even the educational system is tainted with institutional and structural (system wide) racism. Example: European or Western ways of knowing are privileged over others. This is epistemic racism and in this sense most of us are racists. Some scholars distinguish between systemic, structural racism, and institutional racism. Institutional racism (rather than systemic) has been used as an overarching term to include the roles played by both systems and structures.


Transcultural - Relating to or involving more than one culture; cross-cultural. Transcultural nursing is an example of a profession and discipline that is doing this very well.

Transnational (Transnationalism)

Transparency phenomenon: Ability of whiteness to disguise itself and become invisible.

Tribal frontier


Underserved - The term “underserved communities” refers to those populations as well as geographic communities that have been systematically denied the opportunity to participate fully in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as defined in Executive Orders 13985 and 14020. Source: Section 10(b) of Executive Order 14091 of February 16, 2023. (USA - Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government)

Universals - Values that transcend across cultures and societies such as truth. Universal humanism is an ethical goal. Related terms: cultural universals, near-cultural universals, human condition


Voice in critical race theory is defined as the ability of a group to express their experiences in ways that are unique to them. Example: African American women extended to womanist theology. Just like an anti-racist identity shares power, constantly examines implicit bias, and is working to build inclusive, caring communities and change an oppressive system, an anti-racist voice speaks the language of anti-racism after one has learned to be an active and culturally humble listener.

Voices of color - another tenet of Critical Race Theory

White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) 

White blindspot

White Ethnics - gained currency during the 1960s recognizing visible ethnic heritage and social disadvantages of white Americans without non-English European ancestry. Paraphrased from Macionis, John. Sociology. Sixth edition. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1997.  In Chapter 12, Race and Ethnicity. Sub-heading: White Ethnic Americans, page 344.   

White Fragility

White Identity

White People – also referred to as Europeans or Euro-Americans, Americans of European origins

White Privilege

Whiteness - "Racism is based on the concept of whiteness — a powerful fiction enforced by power and violence. Whiteness is a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to certain benefits from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence is justified by their not being white." Source: Uprooting Racism by Paul Kivel. URL: http://www.utne.com/arts/uprooting-racism-ze0z1304zcalt

White supremacy is often thought to be connected only to extremist, right-wing hate groups. However, the term white supremacy is also a more specific term for racism and a more accurate descriptor for the reality of the everyday experiences of people of color. It exists in both the overt form of right-wing white power groups, as well as a form of oppression that is reproduced by the everyday practices of a well-intentioned liberal society. Example: Appeals to colorblindness; whiteness as the norm. Research has also found that a lack of ethnic identity among young white skin Americans has contributed to the rise of a white identity that is centered on race. This podcast discusses one characteristic of white supremacy culture, namely individualism, and how to spot it and end it in our church life. https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/331

White Supremacy “is a political, economic, and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power, material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.” Hoarding power, hierarchy, perfectionism, individualism, sense of urgency, stressing quantity over quality, are some characteristics of white supremacy culture.

“…survival … is learning how to … make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change…. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears.” – Audre Lorde

Witness bearing (Christianity)

Woke Anti-racism - The backlash against recent excesses of anti-racism. The term comes from the book by John McWhorter titled Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America published by Penguin (Portfolio) in 2021.