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GEN: Anti-Racism and Allyship


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Diversity Glossary

Language is powerful and significantly informs how we live and communicate. To help you navigate our richly diverse Milton community and engage in thoughtful and meaningful discourse with one another, we offer you some basic campus vocabulary. Please consider the following definitions as a starting point. Because language constantly evolves, we encourage you to search for the appropriate words and continue to investigate and expand your awareness, understanding, and knowledge of the wide tapestry that makes up the Milton community and the world.

Acculturation: The process of learning and incorporating the language, values, beliefs, and behaviors that make up a distinct culture. This concept is not to be confused with assimilation, where an individual, family, or group may give up certain aspects of their own culture in order to adapt to that of their new host country.

Class: As in upper, middle, lower class, working class; refers to people’s socioeconomic status based on factors such as wealth, occupation, education, income.

Classism: The system of oppression on the basis of social class. Includes individual attitudes and behaviors, as well as policies and practices that are set up to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the lower classes.

Cultural Competence: The ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

Cultural Appropriation: Acts or behaviors of taking or using expressions of culture not one’s own, especially when used for profit and/or without demonstrating understanding of or appreciation for cultural relevance.

Discrimination: Actions, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, that favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services, or opportunities; unfavorable or unfair treatment toward an individual or group based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, physical/mental abilities, or sexual orientation.

Diversity: The recognition of differences among people. These differences include but are not limited to ethnicity, religion, age, gender, class, culture, cognitive ability, physical ability, life experiences, family situations, and sexual orientation.

Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.

Ethnicity: A social construct that divides people into groups based on characteristics such as a shared sense of group identity, values, culture, language, history, ancestry, and geography.

Feminism: A movement to end sexism and oppression based on gender and gender identity; with its origin in the ongoing movement for women’s rights, feminism is the belief that people of all genders should have equal opportunities and equal economic, political, social and personal rights.

Global Awareness: The understanding of world and cultural perspectives. Awareness broadens from learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions, and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in personal, work, and community contexts.

Inclusion: The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.

Intercultural Competence: The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of cultural contexts with people across cultures.

Intersectionality: The idea that classifications such as gender, race, and class—and others—cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individuals’ lives and in social systems and are mutually constitutive.

Islamophobia: Fear and/or dislike of Islam or people of the Muslim faith.

Male Privilege: A set of benefits, including greater access to resources and power, which in many institutional contexts tend to be, and historically have been, bestowed upon men solely on the basis of their sex.

Microaggressions: Subtle words, cues, and/or behaviors that insult, invalidate, or exclude historically marginalized group members. The long-term effect of microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on one’s health.

Oppression: In this context, the systemic devaluing, undermining, marginalizing, and disadvantaging of certain social identities in contrast to the privileged norm; when some people are denied something of value, while others have ready access.

Prejudice: A preconceived judgment about a person or group of people, usually indicating negative bias.

Privilege: A set of benefits, including greater access to resources and power, which in many institutional contexts tend to be, and historically have been, bestowed upon certain social identities over others.

Race: A social construct that divides people into groups based on factors such as physical appearance, ancestry, culture, history, etc.; a social, historical, and political classification system.

Racism: A system of oppression involving subordination of members of targeted racial groups by those who have relatively more social power. This subordination occurs at the individual, cultural, and institutional levels.

Unconscious/Implicit Bias: A positive or negative mental attitude, held at an unconscious level, toward a person, thing, or group.

White Privilege: A set of benefits, including greater access to resources and power, which in many institutional contexts tend to be, and historically have been, bestowed upon people classified as white.

Xenophobia: Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

The definitions above are from the Milton Academy Upper School Student Handbook ©2020