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Developing Common Language
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Developing a Common Language

Part I. General Terms associated with diversity awareness, anti-bias programs and resources

Part II.Terms that refer to specific manifestations of prejudice and discrimination

Part I. General Terms
The following are general terms often associated with diversity awareness, anti-bias programs and resources. Specific ways that some of these concepts manifest in society are defined in
Part II of this glossary.

    Anti-bias is an active commitment to challenging prejudice, stereotyping and all forms of discrimination.
    Bias is an inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.
    Bigotry is an unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices.
    Culture is the patterns of daily life learned consciously and unconsciously by a group of people. These patterns can be seen in language, governing practices, arts, customs, holiday celebrations, food, religion, dating rituals and clothing, to name a few.
    Discrimination is the denial of justice and fair treatment by both individuals and institutions in many arenas, including employment, education, housing, banking and political rights. Discrimination is an action that can follow prejudicial thinking.
    Diversity means different or varied. The population of the United States is made up of people from diverse "races," cultures and places.
    Multicultural means many or multiple cultures. The United States is multicultural because its population consists of people from many different cultures.
    Prejudice is prejudging or making a decision about a person or group of people without sufficient knowledge. Prejudicial thinking is frequently based on stereotypes.
    Scapegoating is blaming an individual or group for something based on that person or group's identity when, in reality, the person or group is not responsible. Prejudicial thinking and discriminatory acts can lead to scapegoating.
    A stereotype is an oversimplified generalization about a person or group of people without regard for individual differences. Even seemingly positive stereotypes that link a person or group to a specific positive trait can have negative consequences.

Part II. Manifestations of Prejudice and Discrimination
The following are specific manifestations of prejudice and discrimination, all of which are based on stereotypes and/or negative attitudes toward members of a particular group. All forms of prejudice can be both personal (an individual act of meanness or exclusion) or institutional (prejudice and discrimination supported and sanctioned by power and authority that benefits some and disadvantages others).

    Ableism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people with mental and/or physical disabilities.
    Ageism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people because of their age.
    Anti-Semitism is prejudice and/or discrimination against Jews. Anti-Semitism can be based on hatred against Jews because of their religious beliefs, their group membership (ethnicity) and sometimes on the erroneous belief that Jews are a "race."
    Classism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people because of their real or perceived economic status.
    Heterosexism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people who are or who are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. Homophobia is the irrational fear of people who are believed to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
    Racism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people based on the social construction of "race." Differences in physical characteristics (e.g. skin color, hair texture, eye shape) are used to support a system of inequities.
Religious bigotry
    Religious bigotry is prejudice and/or discrimination against people based on their religious beliefs and/or practices.
    Sexism is prejudice and/or discrimination based on gender.
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