Key Definitions

Equal Opportunity Definitions

Equal Opportunity is a context in which all persons may enter, study, work and advance in academic programs and employment on the basis of merit, ability, and potential without regard to race, religion, hearing status, personal appearance, color, sex, pregnancy, political affiliation, source of income, place of business, residence, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status or any other protected category under applicable local, state or federal law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any grievance process on campus or within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other human rights agencies.

Discrimination occurs when any member of the campus community, guest or visitor acts to deny, deprive or limit the educational, employment, residential and/or social access, benefits and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above.  This is in violation of the College policy on nondiscrimination.

Harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by law, and is defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the community.  A hostile environment may be created by oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent/pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

Diversity Definitions

African-American (adj) – Relating to the culture of African Americans.

African American (n) – 1. Refers to Black individuals living in the United States with African ancestry. 2. Refers to individuals of African heritage living in the United States having similar experiences, culture heritage and ancestry of former slaves.

agism (n) – Discrimination of individuals based on their age, i.e. of the elderly based on the notion that they are incapable of performing certain functions such as driving, or of the young based on the notion that they are immature and therefore incapable of performing certain tasks.

ally (n) – An individual that supports the struggles of a group; not part of the group him/herself.

Antisemitism (or Anti-semitism) (n) – Hatred toward Jews; prejudicial belief in the “racial” or religious inferiority of Jews. The term itself was first used in 1879.

Asian-American (adj) – Relating to the culture of Asian Americans.

Asian American (n) – Refers to individuals living in the United States with Asian ancestry.

bisexual (n) – Individuals attracted to members of the male and female sex.

class (n) – Category of division based on economic status; members of a class are theoretically assumed to possess similar cultural, political and economic characteristics and principles.

classism (n) – Discrimination based on class.

diaspora (n) – A historical dispersion of a group of people deriving from similar origins, i.e. the African Diaspora includes African Americans, Africans, Caribbeans, Afro-Russians, Black Brazilians, Afro Latinos etc…

disadvantaged (adj) – 1. A historically oppressed group having less than sufficient resources to fund all of basic needs; without expendable income. 2. A group characterized by disproportionate economic, social, and political disadvantages.

discrimination (n) – A biased decision based on a prejudice against an individual group characterized by race, class, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, etc . . .

diversity (n) – A situation that includes representation of multiple (ideally all) groups within a prescribed environment, such as a university or a workplace. This word most commonly refers to differences between cultural groups, although it is also used to describe differences within cultural groups, e.g. diversity within the Asian-American culture includes Korean Americans and Japanese Americans. An emphasis on accepting and respecting cultural differences by recognizing that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another underlies the current usage of the term.

emigrant (n) – One who leaves his/her country of origin to reside in a foreign country.

ethnicity (n) – A quality assigned to a specific group of people historically connected by a common national origin or language. Ethnic classification is used for identification rather than differentiation.

essentialism (n) – The practice of categorizing a group based on an artificial social construction that imparts an “essence” of that group, which homogenizes the group and effaces individuality and difference.

ethnicity (n) – A quality assigned to a specific group of people historically connected by a common national origin or language. Ethnic classification is used for identification rather than differentiation.

ethnocentrism (n) – A practice of unconsciously or consciously privileging a certain ethnic group over others. This involves judging other groups by the values of one’s own group.

Eurocentrism (n) – The practice of consciously or unconsciously privileging the culture of Europe over other cultures.

European-American (adj) – Relating to the culture of European Americans.

European American (n) – An individual living in the United States with European ancestry.

feminism (n) – Movement advocating equal rights, status, ability, and treatment of women, based on the belief that women are not in any way inferior to men.

gay (n) – A male homosexual.

gay (adj) – Pertaining to male homosexuality.

gender (n) – System of sexual classification based on the social construction of the categories “men” and “women,” as opposed to sex which is based on biological and physical differences which form the categories “male” and “female.”

glass ceiling (n) – Term for the maximum position and salary some claim minorities and women are allowed to reach without any chances of further promotion or advancement within an employment scenario.

heterosexism (n) – Social structures and practices which serve to elevate and enforce heterosexuality while subordinating or suppressing other forms of sexuality.

heterosexual (adj) – Pertaining to individuals attracted to the opposite sex.

Hispanic-American (adj) – Pertaining to Americans with direct ancestry from Hispanic, or Spanish-speaking countries.

Hispanic American (n) – Individuals living in the United States with ancestry from Hispanic, that is Spanish-speaking countries.

homosexual (adj) – Individuals attracted to members of one’s own sex.

immigrant (n) – A person who resides in a nation, country, or region other than that of his/her origin. Also known as nonnative, outlander, outsider, alien, etc . . . (ant. emigrant)

indigenous (adj.) – Originating from a culture with ancient ties to the land in which a group resides.

Jew(s) (n) – members of a people based on a background of shared historical experience and of religious heritage (Judaism). Membership is through birth or conversion. Not all Jews are religious. Most North American Jews are descended from immigrants from Eastern Europe. Jews can be understood in both ethnic and religious terms.

latino/a (n) – Inidividual living in the the United States originating from, or having a heritage relating to Latin America.

lesbian (n) – Female homosexual.

lesbian (adj) – Pertaining to female homosexuality.

minority (n) – Term used to describe a group that represents a relatively smaller percentage of the overall population of a nation/state/ continent etc…

multiculturalism (n) – The practice of acknowledging and respecting the various cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, attitudes and opinions within an environment.

national origin (n) – System of classication bassed on nation from which a person originates, regardless of the nation in which he/she currently resides.

Native-American (adj) – Refers to the descendants of the various indigenous populations that occupied the land now designated America.

neo-colonialization (n) – Term for contemporary policies adopted by international and western “1st world” nations and organizations that exert regulation, power and control over poorer “3rd world” nations disguised as humanitarian help or aid. These policies are distinct from but related to the “original” period of colonization of Africa, Asia, and the Americas by European nations.

riental (adj) – Relating to or deriving from the language, traditions, or cultures of the peoples of Asian nations in the region designated as “the Orient,” or “the East,” by Europeans. This term is conspicuously eurocentric as “the East” is constructed as being opposed to a fixed reference point, “the West,” or western Europe.

Pan-Africanism (n) – 1. Describes the theory relating to the desire to educate all peoples of the African diaspora of their common plight and of the connections between them, e.g. a problem faced by one group affects the lives of other groups as well. 2. Theory relating to the desire to link all African countries across the continent through a common government, language, ideology, or belief.

people of color (n) – A term used to describe all non-white racial or ethnic groups.

prejudice (v) – Exerting bias and bigotry based on uniformed stereotypes.

privilege (n) – Power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups.

Classification of people based on common nationality, history, or experiences.

racism (n) – An act of discrimination based on an ideology of racial superiority.

religion (n) – 1. An organized belief system based on certain tenets of faith. 2. A belief in a supreme supernatural force or god(s)

sex (n) – System of sexual classification based on biological and physical differences, such as primary and secondary sexual characteristics, forming the categories “male” and “female” as opposed to gender which is based on the social constrcution of the categories “men” and “women.”

stereotype (v) – To categorize people based on an artificial construction of a certain group designed to impart the “essence” of that group, which homogenizes the group, effacing individuality and difference.

social constructionism (n) – A perception of an individual, group, or idea that is “constructed” through cultural and social practice, but appears to be “natural,” or “the way things are.” For example, the idea that women “naturally” like to do housework is a social construction because this idea appears “natural” due to its historical repetition, rather than it being “true” in any essential sense.

tolerance (n) – Acceptance and open-mindedness to different practices, attitudes, and cultures; does not necessarily mean agreement with the differences.

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