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BEDI Resources

Definitions & Key Terms

Anti-Racism: Broadly speaking, antiracism refers to activities and practices that seek to challenge, extinguish, or ameliorate racism. Within academia, this could include, for example, the establishment of antiracist policies across universities; the inclusion of work by black and Indigenous scholars and antiracist activists on course syllabi; attempts to recruit black and minority ethnic students and teachers into the discipline; organizing campaigns against race discrimination; and the development of race awareness across the campus. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography

Racial Discrimination: Discrimination is a concept that encompasses treating a person or group of people unfairly and differently from others. Racial discrimination is conceptualized as unfair treatment based on one's race resulting from interpersonal interactions. It has been described as the prevention or exclusion of blacks and other racial and ethnic minority groups from access to ordinary or equal involvement in society (Henner, 2006). Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Ethnicity: An ethnic group refers to a socially recognized set of people who have a common heritage or background who may share the same country of origin, cultural practices (e.g., religious beliefs, primary language, socially transmitted customs), or racial characteristics (e.g., skin color, facial structure, hair color). Ethnic groups can be narrowly defined if a collective body of individuals shares the same country of origin and/or cultural practices. Broadly defined ethnic groups are identified by a collective body of individuals who share the same country of origin, cultural practices, and/or racial characteristics. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Institutional Racism: Institutional racism refers to the systemic oppression of people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (Better, 2007; Cross, 2010Knowles & Prewitt, 1970Phillips, 2011Taylor, 2009). At the same time that institutional discrimination systematically impacts people of color negatively, it positively impacts white people, both indirectly (by virtue of disadvantaging people of color) and directly (by specifically advantaging white people) (Alexander, 2012Bell, 2005). Social scientists argue that institutional racism is challenging to “prove” precisely because it is ingrained in white cultural norms that operate as so-called neutral or objective societal norms (Better, 2007Cross, 2010Knowles & Prewitt, 1970Phillips, 2011Taylor, 2009). As a result, the denial of access to equal opportunities and systemic prohibition of privileges to racial and ethnic minorities have become so much a part of the normative practice of the dominant group that this practice is often unrecognized as practice, instead understood and accepted as simply “the way things are.Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Race: The term race is generally used to describe humans based on skin color and perceived related phenotypes. While there is no scientific basis for race as biological and/or genetic, early attempts at racial classification that attempted to link specific skin tones and physical characteristics with varied intellectual capacity became ingrained in society in the 1700s. This has continued to influence social orders today, the world over, primarily because they are politically and economically expedient. Accordingly, race is a social construct that operates as a pseudoscientific human classification system. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Racism: Thus far, racism in the United States is viewed from either one of two categories: individual actions or systems of power (Barndt, 2007). The first approach has descriptions that are related to bigotry, favorable or unfavorable race prejudice, stereotypes, personal dislikes, and biases. This approach describes categories that fall into individual attitudes and the actions of individual agents. As a result, when racism is discussed from this framework, it is done within the context of individual attitudes. This framework is narrow and misses some of the important tenets that make up racism. The second approach to describing racism is done in terms of the systems of power that are structural in nature. These include the education, financial, political, legal, criminal justice, and economic systems. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice


Race & Ethnicity


Black Lives Matter

Stop AAPI Hate

Indigenous Communities

Hispanic & Latinx