DEI Term glossary

A list of common DEI terms and definitions

Ableism
Discrimination against people with mental and/or physical disabilities and/or social structures that favor able‐bodied individuals.
Source
Achievement Gap
A term used to describe a persistent trend in the U.S. educational system in which white students achieve greater academic success than students of color. This term can also refer to the gap between girls’ and boys’ academic achievement.
Source
Assimilationist
One who is expressing the racist idea that a racial group is culturally or behaviorally inferior and is supporting cultural or behavioral enrichment programs to develop that racial group.
Source
BIPOC
Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Commonly used to describe individuals who are not considered white.
Source
BME or BAME
An acronym that stands for black [and Asian] & minority ethnic. Though generally accepted, as with people of color (see below), there’s been some pushback to these terms in recent years for being too reductionist and too inclusive. By reductionist we mean it reduces the nuanced and complex experiences of an individual to an overly simplistic, broad term.
Source
Deadnaming
Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. Often associated with trans people who have changed their name.
Source
Disablism
A set of assumptions (conscious or unconscious) and practices that promote the differential or unequal treatment of people because of actual, perceived, or non-apparent disabilities1
Source
Ethnocentrism
The belief that one’s own ethnic group or culture is superior to other ethnic groups and cultures.
Source
Euro-centric
The inclination to consider European culture as norm or standard. While the term does not imply an attitude of superiority (since all cultural groups have the initial right to understand their own culture as normative), most use the term with a clear awareness of the historic oppressiveness of Eurocentric tendencies in U.S and European society.
Source
FTM
Acronym for female to male. Describes a transgender person, designated female at birth, who identifies as a man.
Source
Folx
A variation on the word "folks", this term is used as a gender-neutral way of refering to members of / signalling identity in the LGBTQ community
Source
GSD
Acronym for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
Source
Heteronormativity
Belief system positing that heterosexuality is the default and normative sexuality and that sex/gender/sexuality are static rather than fluid.
Source
ISM
A social phenomenon and psychological state where prejudice is accompanied by the power to systemically enact it.
Source
LGBTQIA+
Acronym encompassing the diverse groups of lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual and/or corresponding queer alliances/associations. The full acronym is "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual," with all other queer identities that are not encompassed by the letters themselves being represented by the "+".
Source
Latinx/o/a/e
Used to describe people and cultural of Latin American descent.
Source
MFT
Acronym for male to female. Describes a transgender person designated male at birth who is transitioning, has transitioned, or who identifies as a woman.
Source
MISOGYNOIR
The co-constitutive, anti-Black, and misogynistic racism directed at Black women, particularly in visual and digital culture (Bailey, 2010). The term is a combination of misogyny, the hatred of women, and noir, which means Black but also carries film and media connotations. It is the amalgamation of anti-Black racism and misogyny in popular media and culture that targets Black trans and cis women.
Source
Majority World
Majority World refers to countries where most of the population resides. On the other hand, the Minority World are the nations more commonly considered “developed” where a small percentage of the earth’s population lives.
Source
Miscegenation
The mixing of races.
Source
Neurodiverse
Neurodiversity describes the spread of neurological differences (learning and developmental difficulties, ADHD and Autism are examples).
Source
Psychological Safety
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, this is a sense that people have that they will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.
Source
SOGIE
An acronym, usually used in data collection, for addressing Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, which captures all the ways people self-identify. SOGIE includes LGBTQ+ as well as heterosexual, cisgender, and non-questioning individuals
Source
Tokenism
In hiring or employee management, this is the practice of appointing people to certain positions strictly to avoid criticism or meet quotas.
Source
WASP
The acronym translates to (W)hite (A)nglo (S)axon (P)rotestant, a term used in the United States to refer to the demographic of people who are of this ancestry.
Source
Xenophobia
Hatred or fear of foreigners/strangers or of their politics or culture.
Source
Zero sum game
The concept that if one person gains something, another person loses something. In DEI, sometimes the dominant group has a sense that by creating opporuntities for histoically marginalized groups, they will lose power and/influence.
Source