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Terminology / References


By developing a common language, LAVC hopes to promote a shared understanding in which our community can engage in critical conversations and be intentional about the work being done.  This list of key terms will be the basis for effective communication, develop a sense of identity, promote consistency, and help set the institutional culture. 

Purpose: to intentionally raise awareness and develop a shared understanding as the college moves toward:

  • Anti-racism – supporting antiracist policy through actions or expression of antiracist idea

  • Diversity –promoting awareness, understanding and respect of the different ideas, backgrounds, and experiences of an array of social groups

  • Equity –goal of reaching equal access and outcomes by redirecting resources to areas with the greatest need

  • Inclusion – improving the terms of participation in society (and the college), particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights

*This list is not exhaustive and is a continuous work in progress. We welcome recommendations and contributions.




































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In short, ableism is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. According to Access Living, “Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart, ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability.” 


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In social justice work the term Ally is often defined as a noun; a person who uses their privilege to advocate on behalf of someone else who doesn’t hold that same privilege.  To be an Ally requires that a person not simply notice an injustice, but also take action by bringing attention to the injustice and requesting that it be corrected. 


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Anti-racist action seeks to dismantle institutionalized practices of racism. It also identifies and confronts racist ideologies which manifest overtly and covertly in institutions, conversations, curriculum, and organizational structures. 

  • Resources: Adopted and adapted from Aspire Public Schools DEI Council


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Community Cultural Wealth:

Community cultural wealth is an array of knowledge, skills, abilities and contacts possessed and utilized by Communities of Color to survive and resist macro and micro-forms of oppression (Yosso, 2005, p. 77) 

  • Resources: Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Yosso (2005) 


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Critical Race Theory:

Mari Matsuda (1991) defined CRT as the work of progressive legal scholars of color attempting to develop accounts for the role of racism in American law and that work toward the elimination of racism as part of a larger goal of eliminating all forms of subordination. (p. 1331). CRT expands beyond the lega framework because the critical legal framework restricted their ability to analyze racial injustice (Delgado, 1988; Crenshaw et al., 1995; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Crenshaw, 2002). In education, CRT has been defined by Solorzano to include the following five tenets: 1. The intercentricity of race and racism with other forms of subordination, 2. The challenge to dominant ideology, 3. The commitment to social justice, 4. The centrality of experiential knowledge, and 5. The transdisciplinary perspective.  

  • Resources: Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Yosso (2005) 
  • Quote: Looking through a CRT lens means critiquing deficit theorizing and data that may be limited by its omission of the voices of People of Color (Yosso, 2005, p.75) 


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Cultural Capital:

Educational qualifications, and distinction in the world of art and science. Endowments such as cultural and linguistic competence, and it is these competences which ensure their success in schools (Bourdieu, Reproduction of Education, Society and Culture,1970) 


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Cultural Competency:

Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. 'Culture' refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. 'Competence' implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989). 

According to the National Education Association, Cultural competence is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of students and their families. It is the ability to understand the within-group differences that make each student unique, while celebrating the between-group variations that make our country a tapestry. 


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Treating someone differently based on a specific social group. Outcome of social processes which disadvantages specific social groups. 


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Disproportionately Impacted:

Disproportionate impact occurs when “the percentage of persons from a particular racial, ethnic, gender, age or disability group who are directed to a particular service or placement based on an assessment instrument, method, or procedure is significantly different from the representation of that group in the population of persons being assessed, and that discrepancy is not justified by empirical evidence demonstrating that the assessment instrument, method or procedure is a valid and reliable predictor of performance in the relevant educational setting.”  [Title 5 Section 55502(d)] 

“Disproportionate impact is a condition where some students’ access to key resources and supports and ultimately their academic success may be hampered by inequitable practices, policies and approaches to student support” (Harris , 2013) CCCCO. 

Methods used to measure: 80% rule index, proportionality index, percentage point gap index 

Occurs when a statute or policy affects one race or ethnicity more so than other races or ethnicities. 

  • Resources:
  1. Using Disproportionate Impact Methods to ID Equity Gaps the RP Group
  2. Guidelines for measuring Disproportionate Impact in Equity Plans
  3. Using Disproportionate Impact Methods to ID Equity Gaps
  4. Ensuring Equitable Access and Success 


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Representation or mixtures of different social groups, distinguished by such factors as race, ethnicity, religion, customs, or language. 


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Equality is more commonly associated with social issues, perhaps because more people know what it means. In a nutshell, its definition is as it sounds–the state of being equal. When a group focuses on equality, everyone has the same rights, opportunities, and resources.[4] Equality is beneficial, but it often doesn’t address specific needs.  

  • Resources: Equity vs. Equality in Education 
  • Example: Giving each student a take-home laptop, would not address students who don’t have Internet in their houses. Even if a school is equal, some students may still struggle.


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Equity in education requires putting systems in place to ensure that every student has an equal chance for success. That requires understanding the unique challenges and barriers faced by individual students or by populations of students and providing additional supports to help them overcome those barriers. While this in itself may not ensure equal outcomes, we all should strive to ensure that every student has equal opportunity for success. 


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Implicit Bias:

See also blind spots

  • Resources:
  1. Implicit Bias Test
  2. Videos and text references
  3. What is implicit bias? 
  4. Who, Me? Biased?
  5. Concepts Unwrapped: Implicit Bias  
  6. Understanding Blind Spots
  7. Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat and Higher Education 


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Individual, Institutional, Interactional – Accountability/racism:


Coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality describes how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap. Intersectionality is a lens through which one can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects (I.e. structural, political, representational intersectionality). Because the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner of subordination. 

  • Resources:
  1. The Intersectionality Wars 
  2. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color 
  3. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex 


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A system of advantage or oppression based on target identity. Discriminatory attitude leading to differential treatment or oppression of a particular social group; a distinctive practice, system, or attitude against a specific social group (e.g. racism, sexism, classism, ableism, ageism, CIS genderism, heterosexism, sizeism, nativism) 


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Racist violence and policies. 


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The constant verbal and nonverbal abuse endured by marginalized groups. Each individual abuse is a “microaggression.” “Brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership” - Derald Wing Sue.  

  • Resources: A term defined in 1970 by Harvard psychiatrist Charles Pierce. “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi 


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Celebration and protection of the diversity of cultures in a society; the acknowledgment and promotion of cultural pluralism as feature of society. 


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The systematic subjugation of a social group by another social group with access to local power. 


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A premature judgement. An attitude which is based on limited information, often stereotypes. Usually used in race relations to denote an individual attitude of antipathy or active hostility towards another social group. Prejudiced individuals may participate in discriminatory activities but do not necessarily do so. An opinion or attitude held despite facts. 

  • Resources:
  1. Prejudices | Anne Frank House | Explained
  2. Prejudice and stereotypes, How do you deal with them?


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A set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific social group. 


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Racial Battle Fatigue:

Smith, Yosso, and Solorzáno (2006) characterized racial battle fatigue as the accumulative effects of coping with everyday racism. Racial battle fatigue refers to the implications of this physical and emotional stress – of coping with a constant stream of microaggressions – for people of color (Arnold, Crawford, and Khalifa 2016; Smith 2004). 


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“Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities.”

  • Resources: “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Quotes: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily 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. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.” 
    ― Audre Lorde 


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“Any act, gesture, visual representation, spoken or written words, practice, or behaviour based upon the idea that a person or a group of persons is inferior because of their sex, which occurs in the public or private sphere, whether online or offline.” Sexism is any expression (act, word, image, gesture) based on the idea that some persons, most often women, are inferior because of their sex. 

  • Resources:
  1. Global Citizen - Definition of Sexism 
  2. Sexism: See it. Name it. Stop it.  


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Social Capital:

Power secured through family members, or other social networks


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Social Justice:

Social justice principles refer to values “that favour measures that aim at decreasing or eliminating inequity; promoting inclusiveness of diversity; and establishing environments that are supportive of all people.”[1] The social justice principles include: equity, diversity and supportive environments.  Social justice principles seek to recognize and address factors that influence access to education, career, fiscal mobility, food and health resources. 


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A one-sided, exaggerated, and normally prejudicial view of a group, or class of people. Stereotypes are often resistant to change or correction from countervailing evidence, because they create a sense of social solidarity. 

Stereotype can be “positive” generalizations. 


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Stereotype Threat:


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Structural Inequality:

Structural inequality is defined as a condition where one category of people are attributed an unequal status in relation to other categories of people. This relationship is perpetuated and reinforced by a confluence of unequal relations in roles, functions, decisions, rights, and opportunities.[1] As opposed to cultural inequality, which focuses on the individual decisions associated with these imbalances, structural inequality refers specifically to the inequalities that are systemically rooted in the normal operations of dominant social institutions, and can be divided into categories like residential segregation or healthcare, employment and educational discrimination


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White Privilege:

White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks. "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group". 


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Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. Xenophobia can be defined as the "attitudes, prejudices and behavior that reject, exclude and often vilify persons, based on the perception that they are outsiders or foreigners to the community, society or national identity."

  • Resources:
  1. Dictionary Definition
  2. UNESCO Definition


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