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Words are so important; they are how we communicate. They have meaning behind them and can leave a huge impact and create a lasting memory - either good or bad - so it's important to choose them wisely.


The active process of recognizing, challenging, and changing the individual attitudes and prejudices, and systemic polices of racism. Anti-racist work involves an awareness of power imbalances and advocacy for policies that redistribute power and reduce racial inequality. 

Racial Equity 

The work to reform policies, practices, and structures so that racial identity will no longer predict one's outcome in life. Racial equity strives for fairness, not equal treatment, and involves creating opportunities for shared power and decision-making. 

Marginalized Groups

Groups or communities subject to discrimination and exclusion, due to the intersection of social, political, cultural and economic factors. As such these groups encounter significant disparities in access to services, legal rights, and other areas, formed on unequal power relationships. This classification is not homogeneous and each individual may experience discrimination from multiple dimensions of their identity.


Benefits such as access to resources and power bestowed, consciously or unconsciously, to members of the dominant group and withheld to others such as BIPOC individuals. Privilege is an unearned advantage, separate from an individual level of income or effort. 

Police Brutality

The unlawful and/or excessive use of force by police against civilians that violates a person's rights. 


A term that specifically refers to erasing Black representation in the media, but can also apply to academic contexts in which Black voices are not validated and topics such as White supremacy, racial discrimination, and racial violence are ignored.

De-escalation training

Tactics which aim to resolve a conflict or argument and prevent physical harm for both the students who become distraught and the teachers seeking to manage the situation.


The transformation of neighborhoods from low to high economic value based on subjective economic factors tinged with racist conceptions. 


Commonplace interactions or behaviors that convey bias toward marginalized groups. These intentional or unintentional interactions are often subtle but constitute insensitivity, hostility, and discrimination towards BIPOC individuals.


The process of defining entire groups of individuals solely based on skin color, and assigning racial meaning to their identity. Racialization contributes to the development of individual racist beliefs.

Science Identity

A student's ability to align their personal, cultural, and racial background with their perception of the STEM field.


An acronym that refers to Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color. A term which strives to honor and include the narratives of Black and Indigenous peoples, which have historically been erased and differ from the experiences of other people of color.

Implicit Bias

Subconscious attitudes or stereotypes toward others based on characteristics such as race and ethnicity, which can affect the understanding, actions, and decision-making of an individual. These associations are pervasive and develop over the course of a lifetime, and therefore must be mitigated through intentional unlearning and introspection. 

Social-emotional Learning

The process through which students can develop pro-social behaviors like empathy, set and achieve positive goals,  develop an awareness of self and others, establish and maintain healthy relationships, engage in responsible decision making, and recognize and understand emotions. SEL programming can increase academic achievement and improve behavior through coordination among educators, students, and community agencies. 

Color Blindness

The ideology that society has moved beyond race and racism, and skin color does not impact interpersonal interactions or play into systemic policies. Proponents of the ideology maintain that they do not notice race, and therefore, do not act with racial bias. 


Racial discrimination in mortgage lending, in which applicants were denied a loan in certain neighborhoods. The term refers to the practice in which mortgage lenders would draw red lines around portions of a map to indicate neighborhoods they perceived as undesirable, often on the basis of racial and ethnic demographics. While the Fair Housing Act banned redlining, the practice has shaped the demographics of neighborhoods today.

Decolonization of curricula

The effort to dismantle colonial practices in educational institutions, reflect on what narratives are prioritized, and validate the diverse identities of students. Decolonization requires the restructuring of the Eurocentric curriculum and institutionalized power dynamics.


A gender neutral alternative to the traditional usage of Latino or Latina, which relate to people of Latin American descent.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset describes the mentality that intelligence is not static and can be developed and improved upon by any student with practice. This mentality contrasts with a fixed mindset, which views intelligence as unchangeable. 

Mass Incarceration

A result of the American criminal justice system that leads to the incarceration of a significant portion of the U.S. population, a disproportionate number of whom are Black and other people of color. Mass Incarceration is perpetuated by excessive policing and polices that make it difficult for formerly incarcerated people to reintegrate back into society.

Social determinants of health

Conditions of birth and daily life, influenced by policies and systems, which affect a range of health risks and contribute to inequitable outcomes.

Cultural Competency

A set of behaviors and attitudes that enable people to effectively navigate situations in which individuals of different backgrounds are present. Cultural Competency develops a desire to seek out different perspectives and can be realized in both students and teachers. 

Restorative Justice

A holistic approach to discipline which engages all parties impacted by an issue or behavior to repair harm and communicate about potential solutions. Restorative practices represent a community philosophy in contrast to punishments, which often make no effort toward restitution and remove offenders from the conversation. 

Systemic Racism

A societal structuring of resources, power, and opportunity to the benefit of White people at the exclusion of BIPOC individuals. In contrast to individual discrimination and racial bias, systemic racism refers to the institutions and polices that reinforce hierarchies and differential outcomes based on race.

False Narrative

Incorrect or incomplete portrayals of history and the present day, which can fuel stereotypes, ignore power structures and reinforce racial hierarchies in society. Many false narratives center on anti-Blackness and/or do not give a voice to marginalized groups. Dismantling these narratives is a part of anti-racism. 

White Saviorism

Practices, processes, and institutions that reify historical inequities to ultimately validate White privilege. Saviorism mindsets result in individuals feeling they they are "doing good" by engaging in diversity and equity initiatives, rather than learning from the experiences, investigating their own biases, and examining their own privilege.  

Affinity-based Counseling

A form of counseling wherein students and counselors share a common background or identity, which provides emotional support for the student and allows them to construct identities independent of the larger community. 

Environmental Racism

The disproportionate impact of environmental hazards, such as pollution and toxic waste exposure, on low-income communities and BIPOC folks. 


An umbrella term that specifically refers to those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, an Asexual, but also the community as a whole. 

Orientalist Perspective

The stereotyped perception of Asia as uncivilized or exotic, within the framework of colonialism. This perspective reduces the diverse cultures and countries of Asia to a cohesive image of inferiority.

Racial Trauma

Psychological, social, and physiological stress responses which result from the cumulative impact of racial microaggressions or other interactions. Black people may experience these effects as they cope with everyday racism at historically White instituations.

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