Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Incremental Credentialing

Definitions of Key Terms

The following terms and definitions come from the book, Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice.

  •  Assimilation: The process whereby an individual of a minority group gradually adopts characteristics of the majority culture. This adoption results in the loss of characteristics of one’s native culture, such as language, culinary tastes, interpersonal communication, gender roles, and style of dress (The National Multicultural Institute).
  •  Class: Relative social rank in terms of income, wealth, education, occupational status, and/or power.
    •  Owning Class/Rich: The stratum of families who own income-producing assets sufficient to make paid employment unnecessary.
    •  Upper-Middle Class: The portion of the middle class with higher incomes due to professional jobs and/or investment income.
    •  Middle Class: The stratum of families for whom breadwinners’ higher education and/or specialized skills bring higher income and more security than working-class people have.
    •  Lower-Middle Class: The portion of the middle class with lower and less stable incomes due to lower-skilled or unstable employment.
    •  Poverty Class: The stratum of families with incomes persistently insufficient to meet basic human needs.
  •  Class Identity: One’s predominant class experience, such as ruling class, owning class, middle class, working class, chronic poverty class.
  •  Ruling Class: The stratum of people who hold positions of power in the society’s major institutions.
  •  Gender: A social identity usually conflated with biological sex in a binary system that presumes one has either male and masculine characteristics and behavior, or female and feminine characteristics and behavior. In addition to being a major social status experienced by individuals, this is also “a social institution” that helps humans organize their lives.
  •  Health Equity: Social justice in health (i.e., no one is denied the possibility to be healthy because he/she belongs to a group that has historically been economically/socially disadvantaged).
  •  Marginalized: Excluded, ignored, or relegated to the outer edge of a group, society, and/or community.
  •  Privilege: Unearned access to resources (social power) only readily available to some people as a result of their social group.
  •  Privileged Group Member: A member of an advantaged social group privileged by birth or acquisition. Examples: Whites, men, owning class, upper middle class, heterosexuals, gentiles, Christians, non-disabled people.
  •  Racial Equity: The condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.
  •  Social Identity: It involves the ways in which one characterizes oneself, the affinities one has with other people, the ways one has learned to behave in stereotyped social settings, the things one values in oneself and in the world, and the norms that one recognizes or accepts as governing everyday behavior. (North Seattle College)
  •  Tokenism: The policy of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration; the practice of hiring or appointing a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules.  (The National Multicultural Institute)

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