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 iin order to increase human unity. We seek to fuel the scorching of race and ignite cooperation for justice and peace by discovering, crafting, evolving, and making available a new vocabulary for describing complex humanity, 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 databases. The Glossary is a first step towards developing a Dictionary-Thesaurus. Terms and phrases, when completed, will describe people and anti-racism policies, strategies, and movements, not just in the U.S.A. but in the global arena as well.
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. The Glossary is a work in progress. Initially, the Scriptures of diverse Christian faith traditions, selective texts from Christian liberation theologies, scholarship about anti-racism, comparative religion, human rights, anti-racism education, and positive peace, will be 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 theology, interfaith, psychology, sociology, linguistics, and indigenous 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 full thesaurus when vocabularies already exist. Rather, it is my intention to find the emergences and expressions of the practices, actions, and behaviors besides issues and movements of anti-racism fully visible. It is also an attempt to transform language that limits people’s identity to skin color tones (Whites, Blacks and the infamous People of Color). Library 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).
Other sources of terms and definitions include the work of anti-racism organizations. These are also 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.
Feedback is invited. 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 Anita Coleman [charis dot coleman at gmail dot com].
A pdf copy of this glossary can be downloaded from the library http://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/218
Alphabetical List of Terms
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.
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.
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.
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 (AOP) is lifelong; AOP 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 LCSH: Anti-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 racist effects. Coleman (2016).
Anti-racismis 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 asadvocacy, 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.
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.
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".
Call to context/Context: Belief that social relations and truth require close attention to history, particularity, and experience.
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 evolutionary advantages of pale, light, white? What are the mythologies associated with color that have impacted human equity?
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 Humility (LCSH)
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
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
Discourse: Formal, extensive, oral or written treatment of a subject; the way we speak about something
Diversity (vs Multiculturism)
Double consciousness (W.E.B. DuBois)
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
Endemic racism - one of the tenets of Critical Race Theory
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
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
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.
Idealized cognitive models
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/
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
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
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.
Intersectionality: Belief that individuals and classes often have shared or overlapping interests or traits
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.
Microaggression: Stunning small encounter with racism, usually unnoticed by members of the dominant or majority group.
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.
Model minority myth: Idea that Asian Americans are hard-working, intelligent, and successful and that other groups should emulate them.
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/
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.
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 - this is another of the tenets of Critical Race Theory
Racial and ethnic identity
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 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 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. Pause for a minute to reflect silently on 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
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.
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 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.
Systemic Racism is the belief that racism has been institutionalized and is also deeply enculturated in our national life, our systems, our laws, our culture, our 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.
Transparency phenomenon: Ability of whiteness to disguise itself and become invisible.
Voices of color - another of the tenets of Critical Race Theory
White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs)
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 People – also referred to as Europeans or Euro-Americans, Americans of European origins
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.
Witness bearing (Christianity)