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Organizational Development Committee Terms to Know

Cultural Awareness
A person's comprehension of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values.
Cultural Competence
The capability to shift cultural perspective and adapt behavior to cultural commonality and difference.
Psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist. (Achugbue, 2003)
The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement 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. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity, as cited by Sierra Club, n.d.)
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. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity, as cited by Sierra Club, n.d.)
The ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. (African American Policy Forum, n.d., as paraphrased by Sierra Club, n.d.; for founding theory, see Crenshaw 1989, 1991)
The dominant culture of a society that can be defined regionally or nationally.
A smaller subset of a macroculture with unique, identifying characteristics such as custom, tradition, physical appearance, or practice.
National Origin
The country from which a person originates or identifies with as primary.
When a dominant group, whether knowingly or unknowingly, abuses a target or nondominant group. This pervasive system is rooted historically and maintained through individual and institutional/systematic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry, and social prejudice, resulting in a condition of privilege for the dominant group at the expense of the target group. (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 1997)
This stage promotes the belief that one's own culture is just one of the many cultures that exist in the world (Bennett, 2011).
This stage enables deep cultural bridging across diverse communities using an increased repertoire of cultural frameworks and practices in navigating cultural commonalities and differences (The Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC™) | Intercultural Development Inventory | IDI, LLC (
Affectional Orientation
Describes the patterns of a person's romantic attraction or the gender of the people or a person falls in love with or desires to partner with (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity 101 |
An action, not an identity. Members of the advantaged group who recognize their privilege and work in solidarity with oppressed groups to dismantle systems of oppression(s) from which they derive power, privilege, and acceptance (Shared Understandings – WHITE NOISE COLLECTIVE (
Recognizing and deconstructing the systemic, institutional, and personal forms of disempowerment used by certain groups over others; actively challenging the different forms of oppression (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Romantic and/or sexual attraction to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
A gender identity where an individual's self-perception of their gender aligns with their perceived sex (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Physical or mental impairment, the perception of a physical or mental impairment, or a history of having had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Constructivist Listening
An effective strategy for engaging in conversations that are both intellectually demanding and emotionally challenging (Constructivist Listening — National Equity Project).
A social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors, and styles of communication (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
De-biasing Systems
The reduction of bias, particularly with respect to judgment and decision making. Biased judgment and decision making are that which systematically deviate from the prescriptions of objective standards such as facts, logic, and rational behavior or prescriptive norms (Debiasing - Wikipedia).
The active resistance against colonial powers and a shifting of power towards the acquisition of Black, Indigenous, multi-racial, and people of color's (BIMPOC) own political, economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power (Glossary of Terms | Sierra Club).
The refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges that are granted or denied based on an individual's identity components. Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, "People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin". In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system of privileges based on ethnicity or race is ignored (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law (Endogamy Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster).
Evenly distributed access to resources and opportunities necessary for a safe and healthy life; uniform distribution of access to ensure fairness (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
The practice of using a particular ethnic group as a frame of reference, the basis of judgment, or standard criteria from which to view the world. Ethnocentrism favors one ethnic group's cultural norms and excludes the realities and experiences of other ethnic groups (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
People of the same sex who are attracted sexually and emotionally to each other. More commonly utilized to describe male attraction to other males (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
The socially construed ideas about behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Gender expression
Refers to the ways that people present their gender identity to the world. This may be through clothing, haircuts, behaviors, and other choices (Gender Expression: Meaning, Health Care, Discrimination (
Gender Identity
A personal conception of one's own gender; often in relation to a gender opposition between masculinity and femininity. Gender expression is how people externally communicate or perform their gender identity to others (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
A gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino o Latina (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Acronym for "Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (Questioning Intersex Allies)". The description of the movement expanded from gay and lesbian LGBTQ and some include questioning, intersex, allies, same-gender-loving, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous. (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
can take two forms: (a) the highlighting of commonalities due to limited cultural self-understanding, which is more commonly experienced by dominant group members within a cultural community; or (b) the highlighting of commonalities as a strategy for navigating the values and practices largely determined by the dominant group, which is more often experienced by non-dominant group members within a larger cultural community (The Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC™) | Intercultural Development Inventory | IDI, LLC (
An acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
is an evaluative mindset that views cultural differences from an "us versus them" perspective (The Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC™) | Intercultural Development Inventory | IDI, LLC (
Ability to do or act or influence with the strength and might and/or to control or command over people (Glossary of Terms | Sierra Club).
Power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Term used to refer to people or culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. A term once perceived as derogatory is now embraced by some members of the LGBTQ community (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
System of classification based on biological and physical differences such as primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Differentiated from gender, which is based on the social construction and expectations of the categories "men" and "women (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Sexual Orientation
The direction of one's sexual attraction toward the same gender, opposite gender, or other genders. It is a continuum and not necessarily a set of absolute categories (Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms - Seramount).
Social Justice
The view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need (What is Social Justice? (
Socioeconomic Status
A way of describing people based on their education, income, and type pf job. Socioeconomic status is usually described as low, medium, or high. People with a lower socioeconomic status usually have less access to financial, educational, social, and health resources than those with a higher socioeconomic status (Definition of socioeconomic status - NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms - NCI).
Spirituality/Religious Beliefs
The belief in the reality of the mythological, supernatural, or spiritual aspects of religion (What does religious belief mean? (
Target Identity Groups
Those social identity groups that are positioned as targeted by oppression, to be disenfranchised, subordinated, exploited and/or otherwise harmed (Socialization-Social-Identity-Social-Positionality.pdf (
An umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth (Answers to your questions about transgender people, gender identity, and gender expression (