Diversity and Inclusion Glossary

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are important concepts that seek to promote equal treatment, opportunities, and representation for all people, regardless of their identity or characteristics. However, these topics can also be complex and nuanced, and it can be helpful to have a common vocabulary to better understand and discuss them.

In this blog post, we will provide a glossary of DE&I terminology to help clarify some of the key terms and concepts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This glossary is by no means exhaustive, but it aims to provide a starting point for those looking to better understand and engage with these important issues.

  • Ability: The natural or acquired talent or skill to do something.
  • Ableism: The discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities.
  • Accessibility: The ability for all individuals to access and use a product, service, or environment, including those with disabilities.
  • Ageism: The discrimination or prejudice against people based on their age.
  • Allyship: The act of supporting and advocating for the rights and well-being of marginalised groups.
  • Anti-blackness: Prejudice or discrimination against Black people.
  • Assimilation: The process of adopting the culture and values of the dominant group in a society.
  • Authenticity: The quality of being genuine, real, and true to oneself.
  • Bias: A preference or inclination that interferes with impartial judgment.
  • Black: A term used to describe a person of African descent.
  • Black Lives Matter: A movement that seeks to end violence and discrimination against Black people.
  • Body positivity: The acceptance and celebration of all body types and sizes.
  • Bullying: The use of power or aggression to intimidate or harm someone.
  • Bystander intervention: The act of taking action to prevent or intervene in a situation where someone is being mistreated or harmed.
  • Cultural competency: The ability to understand and respect the beliefs, values, and practices of a culture different from one's own.
  • Cultural appropriation: The act of adopting or using elements of a culture without permission or understanding, often resulting in cultural disrespect or exploitation.
  • Cultural humility: The practice of approaching other cultures with an open mind and a willingness to learn, rather than assuming a position of superiority.
  • Cultural sensitivity: The awareness and understanding of the differences between oneself and others, and the ability to communicate and work effectively with people from different cultures.
  • Cultural stereotype: A fixed, oversimplified belief about a particular group of people.
  • Cultural variance: The differences in beliefs, values, and practices between cultures.
  • Diversity: The range of differences within a group or society, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, age, and other characteristics.
  • Discrimination: The treatment of a person or group unfairly based on their identity or characteristics.
  • Disadvantage: A lack of resources or opportunities that puts someone at a disadvantage compared to others.
  • Disability: A physical or mental condition that limits a person's ability to perform certain tasks or activities.
  • Dominant culture: The culture that holds the most power and influence in a society.
  • Equity: The fair treatment, access, and opportunities for all, regardless of identity or characteristics.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
  • Employment equity: The fair treatment and equal opportunity for employment without discrimination based on identity or characteristics.
  • Ethnicity: A shared cultural heritage and common ancestry, often linked to race.
  • European American: A term used to describe a person of European descent who is a citizen or resident of the United States.
  • Fairness: The principle of treating people equally and justly, without bias or discrimination.
  • Femme: A term used by some LGBTQ+ people to describe their gender identity or presentation as feminine.
  • First Nations: A term used to describe the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
  • Fluid identity: A term used to describe an identity that is not fixed or binary, but rather changes or evolves over time.
  • Gender: The social, cultural, and personal characteristics associated with being male, female, or non-binary.
  • Gender expression: The way a person presents their gender to the world, including through their appearance, behaviour, and mannerisms.
  • Gender Identity: A person's internal sense of their own gender.
  • Gender non-binary: A term used to describe a person who does not identify as exclusively male or female.
  • Genderqueer: A term used by some LGBTQ+ people to describe their gender identity as non-binary or non-conforming to traditional gender roles.
  • Gender roles: The expectations and norms associated with being male or female in a particular society.
  • Hate crime: A criminal act motivated by prejudice or intolerance towards a particular group of people.
  • Hate speech: Speech or expression that promotes hate or violence towards a particular group of people.
  • Inclusion: The act of welcoming and valuing diversity, and ensuring that all individuals have equal access and opportunities.
  • Inclusive language: Language that is conscious of and respectful towards people of all identities and backgrounds.
  • Indigenous: A term used to describe the native peoples of a particular region or country.
  • Intersectionality: The concept that different identities (such as race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class) intersect and overlap, creating unique experiences and challenges for individuals.
  • Latinx: A gender-neutral term used to describe a person of Latin American or Spanish-speaking descent.
  • LGBTQ+: An acronym used to describe the diverse community of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or other non-heterosexual or non-cisgender identities.
  • Microaggression: A subtle, often unintentional, form of discrimination or prejudice that is conveyed through words or actions.
  • Minority: A group of people who are fewer in number than the dominant group in a particular society.
  • Multiculturalism: The recognition and celebration of the diversity of cultures within a society.
  • Oppression: The systematic and institutionalised mistreatment and exploitation of a group of people based on their identity or characteristics.
  • Pansexual: A term used to describe a person who is attracted to people of all gender identities.
  • Prejudice: A negative attitude or belief towards a particular group of people, often based on stereotypes or limited knowledge.
  • Queer: An umbrella term used by some LGBTQ+ people to describe their sexual orientation or gender identity as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender.
  • Race: A social and cultural concept used to classify people based on physical characteristics such as skin colour, facial features, and ancestry.
  • Racism: The belief that one race is superior to others, and the discrimination and prejudice that result from this belief.
  • Sexual orientation: A person's romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others.
  • Social justice: The fair and just treatment of all people, and the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for marginalised groups.
  • Stereotype: A fixed, oversimplified belief about a particular group of people.
  • Structural oppression: The systematic and institutionalised mistreatment and exploitation of a group of people based on their identity or characteristics.
  • Tokenism: The act of making a superficial or symbolic effort to include diverse groups, without genuine effort to address systemic discrimination or bias.
  • Transgender: A term used to describe a person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Transphobia: Prejudice or discrimination against transgender people.
  • Two-Spirit: A term used by some Indigenous peoples to describe a person who embodies both feminine and masculine spirit.
  • Unconscious bias: Implicit attitudes or beliefs that influence our perceptions and behaviours towards others, often outside of our awareness or control.
  • Vulnerability: The quality of being exposed to the risk of being harmed or exploited.
  • White privilege: The unearned advantages and benefits that society affords to people who are perceived as White.
  • Xenophobia: A fear or hatred of people from other countries or cultures.
  • Zebra: A term used by some LGBTQ+ people to describe their gender identity as a combination of male and female, or as something beyond the gender binary.