From March 3 through March 31, we are seeking feedback from the BMC and BUMG communities on the Glossary. We ask that you do not share the Glossary outside our communities until the final version is released officially in May 2021. Thank you!

A collaboration of BMC, BUSM, and BUMG   

Purpose: Establishing shared language is foundational to creating common understanding; it expands our awareness of the world beyond our individual identities and experiences. It is important to define terms that are not well understood and have the potential for causing harm. Read More

Shared language holds us accountable to the values of justice, equity, and belonging. It facilitates collective action toward our vision of creating and sustaining a culture across all schools on BU’s Medical Campus, BUMG, and BMC where all students, trainees, faculty, and staff thrive, and their success and wellbeing are not predicted by their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, and other dimensions of identity.1

Language shapes our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Use of this Glossary will guide dialogue, challenge assumptions, inform goals and strategies, and shift the narrative to address root drivers of inequities and prioritize structurally marginalized populations. Our words, along with policies and structures, can foster an environment where justice, equity, and belonging are reflected in our everyday practice.

Methodology: BMC, BUSM, and BUMG collaboratively developed this Glossary to align our goals and strengthen our shared understanding. This document is informed by experts across many fields and is consistent with our peer institutes. Read More

The definitions included are derived and adapted from those organizations and institutions that share our values of justice, equity, and belonging. We understand that structurally marginalized populations experience the disproportionate burden of harm; this Glossary thus prioritizes the experiences of populations who have been pushed to the margins by unfair systems and structures. This Glossary recognizes the power of self-defining and relies on the language used by structurally marginalized groups (with the understanding that no group is monolithic and there is immense diversity within and across identities).

Use + Engagement: This Glossary, along with policies and practices, is a foundational tool for culture change. Read More

It will be used differently by different people to provide a framework for facilitating discussion and supporting all of our work. Your feedback is a critical part of determining use of this tool. Please note a question on this topic in the feedback form.

Sustainability Plan: This Glossary is a living document, reflecting the evolving nature of language. Read More

It is not comprehensive or all-inclusive but can advance institutional learning and growth. We are committed to ongoing, periodic revision to incorporate new concepts and evolving language.

Intended Impact:

  • Mitigate harm caused by our words to people who have been pushed to the margins by unfair systems and structures (i.e., structurally marginalized people)
  • Give voice and empower individuals to highlight, uplift, and honor structurally marginalized people
  • Build shared understanding to shape and reinforce practices and policies that promote and sustain justice, equity, and belonging.
  • Establish a culture where one’s success and wellbeing is not determined by their socially assigned identities (includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, and more).

As you review the Glossary, you will notice the standard use of capitalizing Black, Brown and White when referring to these racial groups. There is no consensus or standardization for capitalizing Black, Brown, and/or White racial groups2 (unlike Latinx, Hispanic, and Asian American). In developing this Glossary, our team intentionally prioritizes the voices of those at the margins to shift the narrative on topics like race and racism. We choose to capitalize Black, Brown and White in alignment with leaders of color who recognize Black is a cultural identity, a social category, as is Brown. We recognize that White is also a shared cultural identity and experience.3

Glossary Terms

Shared Language Source + Rationale Peer Institutes that include term4

Ableism (n.)

Beliefs or practices that rest on the assumption that being able-bodied is “normal” while other states of being need to be “fixed” or altered. This can result in devaluing or discriminating against people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities. Institutionalized ableism may include or take the form of un/intentional organizational barriers that result in disparate treatment of people with disabilities (PwDs).

Harvard Human Resources Glossary of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Terms

UMass Med
Harvard
Washington U

Able-Bodied (adj.)

This term is used to describe someone who does not identify as having a disability. Some members of the disability community oppose its use because it implies that all people with disabilities lack “able bodies” or the ability to use their bodies well. They may prefer “non-disabled” or “enabled” as being more accurate. The term “non-disabled” or the phrase “does not have a disability” or “is not living with a disability” are more neutral choices.

National Center on Disability and Journalism’s Disability Language Style Guide

 

Accessibility (n.)

The "ability to access" the functionality of a system or entity, and gain the related benefits. The degree to which a product, service, or environment is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessible design ensures both direct (unassisted) access and indirect access through assistive technology (e.g., computer screen readers). Universal design ensures that an environment can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people.

Harvard Human Resources Glossary of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Terms

Harvard

Accommodation (n.)

A change in the environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to have equal opportunity, access and participation.

Harvard Human Resources Glossary of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Terms

Harvard

Addiction (n.)

A primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestation. Addiction is characterized by behaviors that include:

    • Impaired control over drug use
    • Compulsive use
    • Continued use despite harm
    • Cravings

When referring to someone with an addiction, refrain from using addict” and instead use “person with substance use disorder”. Please refer to the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC for more information and resources on how to reduce stigma through the words we use.

The Recovery Research Institute based out of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

 

Age/Ageism (n.)

A group identity based on the chronological number of years since a person’s birth. Discrimination often occurs against people who are “too young” or “too old.” When in doubt do not refer to a person’s age.

Elder and/or elderly are terms that may also be used but are culturally dependent.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Ally (v.)

Actively making the commitment and effort to recognize one’s privilege (based on race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, etc.) and working in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways. Allies commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in oppression of those groups and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression.

Adapted from Open Source Leadership Strategies “The Dynamic System of Power, Privilege, and Oppressions” and Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Open Source Leadership Strategies, Inc is an often-cited organization that “addresses the leadership and organizational development needs of nonprofits and other social change agents who want to be the change they seek in the world.”

Adapted language used by the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, a leader in racial justice and health equity and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital.

Harvard UMass Med
Washington U Stanford

Anti-Racism (n.)

The active and conscious effort to work against the multi-dimensional aspects of racism; undoing racism requires consistently identifying it, describing it and then dismantling it. Note: ‘anti-racist’ does not mean ‘non-racist.’ According to The National Museum of African American History and Culture, “No one is born racist or antiracist; these result from the choices we make. Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, White-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.”

Adapted from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Dr. Robert J. Patterson

Dr. Kendi is a leading voice on antiracism and joined BU to create the Center for Antiracism Research in July. In August 2020, he led a training for the medical campus, responding to questions generated from faculty and staff for how to apply antiracism to medicine.

Dr. Robert J. Patterson is a professor of African American studies at Georgetown with multiple publications on African American history and has worked with various sectors to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Stanford

Anti-Semitism (n.)

Hostility toward or discrimination against Jewish people as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.

Merriam-Webster

 

Assigned Sex at Birth (n.)

The sex (male or female) assigned to a child at birth, most often based on the child's external anatomy. Also referred to as birth sex, natal sex, biological sex, or sex.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

NYU

Belonging (n.)

How connected one feels to one’s community/ communities. Operationalized when individuals are considered part of the constitutional foundation of an organization or institution. Belonging is achieved when individuals have the ability to critique and hold an institution responsible for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Adapted from NYU and BUMC Faculty Development + Diversity

NYU
Stanford

BIPOC (n.)

An acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color; used to promote visibility among Indigenous and Black people and to call attention to colonialism and anti-Blackness.

Adapted from multiple sources

This is a more recent term developed to draw attention to Black and Indigenous people within “POC” term. Its usage is increasing within mainstream publications.

On BMC’s employee center Diversity + Inclusion shared resource library, they list Self-Care Resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

Stanford

Bisexual (adj.)

A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and physically attracted to women/females and men/males. Some people define bisexuality as attraction to all genders, which is also referred to as pansexual.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

Blind (adj.)

Use only for a person with total loss of sight. Many people who are legally blind have partial sight. Use visually impaired, partially sighted, or person with low vision.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Burnout (n.)

A predictable response of individuals who are exposed to chronic unresolved occupational stress, resulting in exhaustion, cynicism and a reduced sense of effectiveness.

Adapted from Physician Wellness Academic Consortium

Stanford by way of PWAC

Cisgender (adj.)

A person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth corresponds (i.e., a person who is not transgender).

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Harvard UMass Med
Washington U NYU

Codeswitch (v.)

Involves adjusting one’s style of speech, appearance, behavior, and expression in ways that will optimize the comfort of others in exchange for fair treatment, quality service, and employment opportunities. The act of code-switching often centers around members of target groups code-switching to minimize the impact of bias from the dominant group.

Adapted from

 

Colorblind Ideology (n.)

A belief that assumes institutional racism and discrimination have been largely eradicated, and that “equal opportunity, one’s qualifications, not one’s color or ethnicity, should be the mechanism by which upward mobility is achieved.”2 This belief can lead to a dismissal of social and cultural factors still affecting many people of color, as well as a rejection of policies that attempt to address existing inequalities (e.g., affirmative action).

Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning

Columbia

Colorism (n.)

Also called shadism, skin tone bias, pigmentocracy and color complex, which refers to the prejudiced attitude and/or discriminatory acts against people with darker color/shade/tone skin, typically among people of the same racial or ethnic group. This is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color. White supremacy is upheld by colorism.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and Pacific University

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

 

Culture of Wellness (n.)

Shared values, behaviors, and leadership qualities that prioritize personal and professional growth, community, and compassion for self and others.

Physician Wellness Academic Consortium

Stanford by way of PWAC

Deaf (adj.)

Used to describe a person with total or profound hearing loss. Many only have mild or partial loss of hearing. Use person with hearing loss, partially deaf, or hearing impaired. Do not use deaf-dumb or deaf-mute.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

 

Developmental Disability (n.)

Federal, local, and legal definitions vary, but the term can include conditions such as autism and epilepsy. Use specific terms when possible.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Differently-Abled (adj.)

This term came into vogue in the 1990s as an alternative to “disabled,” “handicapped” or “mentally retarded.” Currently, it is not considered appropriate (and for many, never was). Some consider it condescending, offensive or simply a way of avoiding talking about disability. Others prefer it to “disabled” because “dis” means “not,” which means that “disabled” means “not able.” But particularly when it comes to referring to individuals, “differently abled” is problematic. As some advocates observe, we are all differently abled.

National Center on Disability and Journalism’s Disability Language Style Guide

 

Disability (n.)

General term for functional limitation. Person with a disability or disabled person is preferred. Do not use victim of, suffers from, stricken with, or afflicted with.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Disabled (adj.)

“Disability” and “disabled” generally describe functional limitations that affect one or more of the major life activities, including walking, lifting, learning and breathing. Various laws define disability differently.

Disability and people who have disabilities are not monolithic. Avoid referring to “the disabled” in the same way that you would avoid referring to “the Asians,” “the Jews” or “the African-Americans.” Instead, consider using such terms as “the disability community” or “the disability activist.”

National Center on Disability and Journalism’s Disability Language Style Guide

 

 

Discrimination (n.)

A prejudice-based action taken by a dominant group member against a subordinate group member. These actions are used to limit another group’s opportunities, confidence, access, and ability to perform in society.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

Diversity (n.)

Each individual is unique, and groups of individuals reflect multiple dimensions of identity: race, sex and gender, socio-economic status, sexuality, age, ability, national origin, religious beliefs, cognitive styles, personality, appearance, and much more. Valuing diversity means embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of difference that exist in groups and eliminating interpersonal and institutional biases based on these differences.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

BU Family Health dept. used SJPHC glossary on their website.

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

Efficiency of Practice (n.)

Workplace systems, processes, and practices that promote safety, quality, effectiveness, positive patient and colleague interactions, and work-life balance.

Physician Wellness Academic Consortium

Ethnicity (n.)

Classification of human based on shared cultural heritage, such as place of birth, language, customs, etc. Do not use “race” as a synonym.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

Equity (n.)

The state in which differences in life outcomes are not predicted by one’s race, sex and gender, and other dimensions of identity, with specific emphasis on populations bearing the burden of inequities (e.g., people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ folk). Valuing equity means engaging those most impacted by structural inequity in the creation and implementation of institutional policies, practices, and messages that eliminate unfair differences in outcomes, so everyone has the means and opportunity to improve the quality of their lives. Equity is both a process and an outcome. Equity does not mean equality.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

Gay (adj.)

A sexual orientation describing people who are primarily emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex and/or gender as themselves. Commonly used to describe men who are primarily attracted to men, but can also describe women attracted to women.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Gender (n.)

A social construction that assigns particular characteristics, norms, and roles to sex and genitalia. Refers to the different roles society expects of people. The behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits typically associated with one’s gender and often, incorrectly, assumed based on their sex assigned at birth. Usually refers to those aspects of life that are shaped by social forces or to the meaning that society gives to perceived biological differences. Do not use sex as a synonym for gender.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit and BMC’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery

Gender Binary Structure (n.)

The idea that there are only two genders (girl/woman and boy/man), and that a person must strictly fit into one category or the other.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Gender-diverse (adj.)

Describes the community of people who fall outside of the gender binary structure (e.g., non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid people).

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Gender Equity (n.)

When gender and gender identity no longer determine one’s life outcomes. In terms of the workplace, that means recruitment, hiring, retention, advancement, salary, overall wellbeing, and more; when everyone has what they need to thrive professionally and are free of gender-based harassment, bias, and discrimination. As a process, we apply gender equity when those most impacted by structural gender inequities (e.g., women, transgender and gender-diverse individuals, and the intersection of marginalized identities), are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.

Adapted from the Center for Social Inclusion

Founded in 2002, CSI leads and informs the work of numerous organizations interested in doing equity and inclusion work by building the analysis, frameworks, and tools to shift practice and outcomes. In 2017 it combined with Race Forward.

This informed by CSI’s “Racial Equity” definition.

 

Gender Expression(n.)

The way a person acts, dresses, speaks, and behaves (i.e., feminine, masculine, androgynous). Gender expression does not necessarily align with assigned sex at birth or gender identity.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Mass General + Brigham
Brown
UMass Med
NYU

Gender Identity (n.)

A person's internal sense of being a man/male, woman/female, both, neither, or another gender.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Mass General + Brigham
Brown
UMass Med
Washington U
NYU

Genderqueer adj.

Describes a person whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary (male/man versus female/woman). Other terms for people whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary include gender variant, gender expansive, etc. Sometimes written as two words (gender queer).

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Mass General + Brigham
UMass Med
NYU

Health Equity (n.)

The idea that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full health potential. No one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position (e.g., class, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, health literacy) or socially assigned circumstance (e.g., race, gender identity, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexuality, geography, etc.).

The Boston Public Health Commission

The Boston Public Health Commission, the city of Boston’s public health department, started an organizational change process about 10 years ago to prioritize racial justice and health equity, starting with developing shared language. The shared language is used in all staff new hire orientation, a mandatory 2-day training, and in practice.

Additionally, BMC’s CEO serves on the Board of Health, the governing body for the Boston Public Health Commission.

 

Health Inequity (n.)

Differences in health status and mortality rates across population groups that are systemic, avoidable, unfair, and unjust. These differences are rooted in social and economic injustice, and are attributable to social, economic, and environmental conditions in which people live, work, and play (e.g., Black and brown babies tend to have much lower birth weight and higher infant mortality rates than White babies, even when controlling for individual behavior, income, and education of the mother). Health inequities are different from health disparities, though many people use these terms interchangeably. Disparities speak of differences across population groups (e.g., comparing health outcomes of an aging population to a younger population) and does not account for differences resulting from injustice.

The Boston Public Health Commission

Shifting from disparities to inequities is something that many organizations have done in recent years. The Boston Public Health Commission, the city of Boston’s public health department, made this shift about 10 years ago to prioritize racial justice and health equity, making the distinction that differences in health outcomes by race are not natural – they are unfair, unjust, and avoidable. The shared language is used in all staff new hire orientation, a mandatory 2-day training, and in practice.

Additionally, BMC’s CEO serves on the Board of Health, the governing body for the Boston Public Health Commission.

 

Heterosexism (n.)

The presumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual, that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Prejudice, bias, or discrimination is based on this presumption. Systemic oppression of all other sexualities outside of heterosexual.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit and from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

UMass Med

Hispanic (adj.)

Describes people who speak Spanish and/or who descended from Spanish lineage; includes people from Spain. Though there is some overlap, the term Hispanic is not interchangeable with Latin American, Latino/a, or Latinx which includes anyone from Latin America but not Spain. For instance, a person from Brazil, which is Portuguese-speaking, is considered Latino/a/x but not Hispanic.

Adapted from Merriam-Webster

Included this term so to be clear about the populations we frequently refer to in our data, in other definitions here, and in literature.

UMass Med

Historically Underrepresented (adj.)

This term refers to groups who have been denied access and/or suffered past institutional discrimination in the United States and, according to the Census and other federal measuring tools, includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics or Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans.

This is revealed by an imbalance in the representation of different groups in common pursuits such as education, jobs, and housing, resulting in marginalization for some groups and individuals and not for others, relative to the number of individuals who are members of the population involved. Other groups in the United States have been marginalized and are currently underrepresented. These groups may include but are not limited to:

  • Other ethnicities
  • Adult learners
  • Veterans
  • People with disabilities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals
  • Different religious groups, and
  • Different economic backgrounds

Emory University Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Presentation (PDF)

 

Implicit Bias (n.)

Negative or positive associations people unknowingly hold, also known as unconscious or hidden bias. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness, providing unearned advantage to those in dominant groups and unearned disadvantage to those in marginalized groups. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to undermine individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The term “implicit bias” many times is used to avoid naming internalized racism, internalized sexism, etc.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

On August 5, 2020, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Dr. Sadiqa Kendi spoke at a BUMC Provost workshop and regarding a question about implicit bias trainings, shared that we have avoided the real issue by focusing on implicit bias. While the intent is good, we need to be ok with naming our racist history in our field and address it.

Harvard
Brown
UMass Med
Washington U
Stanford
NYU
Columbia

Inclusion (n.)

The fundamental and authentic integration of historically and currently excluded individuals and/or groups (e.g., Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, transgender and gender non-binary/non-conforming individuals, and the intersection of marginalized identities) into positions, processes, activities, and decision and policy making in a way that shares power, values input and engenders belonging.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, informed by the NIH and AAMC

In terms of understanding inclusion, we must understand who is excluded, which is where NIH (National Institutes of Health) and AAMC brings the national context for representation in medicine.

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

UMass Med
Stanford
NYU

 

Intersectionality (n.)

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, sex and gender, and other dimensions of identity as they apply to a given individual or group, creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. Intersectionality recognizes the multiple ways in which people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression.

A Feminist theory first highlighted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989). Adapted from YW Boston and Oxford Dictionary

YW Boston is an organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. BMC partners with and sponsors multiple YWCA events and programs, such as their LeadBoston program, a leadership development program to equip mid-senior level professionals with skills to advance racial equity.

Harvard
Columbia

 

Islamophobia (n.)

Fear and hatred of the Muslim community.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

 

Latinx (adj.)

A gender-neutral term for people of Latin American descent. The Spanish language, like many languages, is gendered, using the feminine and masculine binary (Latina/Latino) and relying on the masculine as the default. Latinx is more inclusive of those who identify as trans, queer, or non-binary.

Note: there is not universal agreement on the use of this term. Still, many people refer to themselves as Latino or Hispanic. Defer to how an individual identifies themselves.

Adapted from Merriam –Webster

Included this term so to be clear about the populations we frequently refer to in our data, in other definitions, and in literature. Latinx is an example of language constantly evolving. Still, many refer to themselves as Latino or Hispanic so we should defer to how an individual identifies themselves. 

Harvard

Lesbian (adj., n.)

A sexual orientation that describes a woman who is primarily emotionally and physically attracted to other women.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

LGBTQIA+ (adj.)

An acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender-diverse, and/or those who identify on the spectrum of sexuality and/or gender identity.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Harvard
UMass Med
Washington U

Marginalized Communities (n.)

Groups that are and have been confined to a lower status in society due to the unfair structures created by society. Such a group is denied involvement in mainstream economic, political, cultural and social activities, resulting in inequitable outcomes. 

Use “structurally marginalized” communities and/or populations to be very clear that this a result of unfair and unjust systems.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

 

Microaggression (n.)

The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (such as people of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, immigrants). In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.

Dr. Derald Wing Sue, Columbia University

Aligns with definition used by BUMC Faculty Development + Diversity Office

Harvard
Columbia
NYU
Stanford
Washington U

Misogyny (n.)

Hatred of women, often manifested in sexual discrimination, denigration, or violence against and sexual objectification of women.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Non-binary (adj.)

Describes a person whose gender identity falls outside of the traditional gender binary structure of girl/woman and boy/man. Sometimes abbreviated as NB or enby.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, leaders in LGBTQ+ health equity, affiliated with peer institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

Oppression (n.)

Systematic mistreatment of particular individuals. Oppression is not just an isolated incident. Rather, it is a complex system of power, sustained and pervasive beliefs, laws or policies, behaviors, and feelings. In the U.S., there are many forms of often interlocking oppressions: racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, ableism, etc. Because we possess many layers to our identities, we may experience oppression in one or some of our identities, and privilege in others.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit and Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Race Forward, founded in 1981, is a leading research, media, and practice institute (in 2017 it combined with the Center for Social Inclusion). Race Forward leads the Government Alliance for Race and Equity, a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. In 2016, Mayor Walsh signed the commitment for the City of Boston to be a GARE city.

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

UMass Med
Washington U

Pansexual (adj.)

A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and physically attracted to people of all gender identities, or whose attractions are not related to other people’s gender.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, which is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a peer institute leading in LGBTQ+ health equity. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

Patriarchy (n.)

Structural and ideological system that perpetuates the privileging of particular kinds of masculinity and cisgender men. A system in which cisgender men have institutional control and dominance.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

People of Color (n.)

A self-defined, asset-based term for people who do not identify as White, often abbreviated POC; used in place of “minority,” which connotes “less than” and in place of “non-White,” which is deficit-based.

Adapted from multiple sources. The term was started by women of color in solidarity with each other, according to Loretta Ross formerly of SisterSong, Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective (2011).

UMass Med
Washington U

Personal Resilience (n.)

Individual skills, behaviors, and attitudes that contribute to physical, emotional, and professional well-being.

Physician Wellness Academic Consortium

Stanford by way of PWAC

Privilege (n.)

Power and advantage derived from historical oppression and exploitation of other groups. An unearned right or immunity granted as a benefit, regardless of an individual’s personal effort and often invisible to those who have it because we are taught not to see it. The power structure of organizations and government through their infrastructure, policies, and practices reinforces the privileged group by advantaging them and disadvantaging others by creating barriers to attaining equal status. For example, White people in America are privileged in that their race will not limit their economic or educational prospects. Because we possess many layers to our identities (e.g., race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, etc.), we may hold privilege in one or some of our identities, and less privilege in others.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

Harvard
UMass Med
Washington U
Stanford

Professional Fulfillment (n.)

Happiness, meaningfulness, self-worth, self-efficacy and satisfaction at work.

Physician Wellness Academic Consortium

Stanford by way of PWAC

Professional Vitality (n.)

A meaningful and productive work life, where people are able to reach their fullest professional potential. Valuing professional vitality means creating a workplace that invests in the emotional, physical, and professional wellbeing of its members, where all are supported so they can do their chosen work with passion, vigor, facility, efficacy, joy and satisfaction.

Informed by Physician Wellness Academic Consortium (PWAC)

Stanford by way of PWAC

Pronouns (n.)

Words to refer to a person after initially using their name. Gendered pronouns include she and he, her and him, hers and his, and herself and himself. "Preferred gender pronouns" (or PGPs) are the pronouns that people ask others to use in reference to themselves. They may be plural gender-neutral pronouns such as they, them, their(s). Or, they may be ze (rather than she or he) or hir (rather than her(s) and him/his). Some people state their pronoun preferences as a form of allyship.

Harvard Human Resources Glossary of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Terms

Harvard

Psychiatric Disability (n.)

Acute or chronic mental illness. Psychotic, schizophrenic, neurotic and similar words should only be used in the appropriate clinical context. Crazy, manic, lunatic, demented, psycho, and schizo are offensive. Use psychiatric disability, psychiatric illness, emotional disorder, or mental disorder.

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Queer (adj.)

An umbrella term describing people who think of their sexual orientation or gender identity as outside of societal norms. Some people view the term queer as more fluid and inclusive than traditional categories for sexual orientation and gender identity. Although queer was historically used as a slur, it has been reclaimed by many as a term of empowerment. Nonetheless, some still find the term offensive

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, which is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a peer institute leading in LGBTQ+ health equity. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

Race (n.)

A socially constructed way of grouping people, based on skin color and other apparent physical differences, which has no genetic or scientific basis. This social construct was created and used to justify social, political, and economic oppression of people of color by White people.

Adapted from Race: The Power of an Illusion

Race: The Power of an Illusion is an award-winning documentary series by California Newsreel about “the origins, beliefs, and consequences of what we call race.” This series is a foundational learning tool used by the Boston Public Health Commission in their 2-day mandatory racial justice and health equity training as well as the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.

Brown
UMass Med
Washington U
NYU

Racial Equity (n.)

The state in which race no longer determines one’s life outcomes. In terms of the workplace, those outcomes are recruitment, hiring, mentorship, advancement, leadership, retention, salary, overall wellbeing, and more. Racial equity is when everyone has what they need to thrive professionally and are free of racism, race-based harassment, bias, discrimination, and microaggressions. As a process, we apply racial equity when those most impacted by structural racial inequity are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their professional lives. In academic medicine, this means underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (URG), specifically Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander; it also broadly includes People of Color who may be well represented but do not share equal power and resources nor similar experiences to their White counterparts.

Adapted from the Center for Social Inclusion. According to the NIH’s definition of underrepresented groups (URG) in medicine and informed by the National Science Foundation.

Founded in 2002, CSI leads and informs the work of numerous organizations interested in doing equity and inclusion work by building the analysis, frameworks, and tools to shift practice and outcomes. In 2017 it combined with Race Forward.

URG is a data driven term, informing where medicine can focus its efforts to improve racial equity. The definition here for URG is from NIH, to be consistent with other BUMG programming such as the Under-Represented Groups Faculty Development Program

 

Racial Inequities (n.)

Outcomes resulting from systemic racism and injustice, where people of color fare much worse than their White counterparts. We tend to use different terms to describe racial inequities such as “achievement gap” in education, “health disparities” in healthcare, neutralizing the cause of these differences. According to the 2015 Color of Wealth report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, there are significant differences in wealth (assets minus debts) by race in Boston. White people had a median household net worth of $247,000 compared to African Americans having $8. This is a result of unjust policies and systems that historically benefited White people and disadvantaged people of color and continue to do so. 

Adapted from the Center for Social Inclusion and informed by Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater Approach and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Color of Wealth report

This builds on the definition of “Racial Equity” included.

Founded in 2002, CSI leads and informs the work of numerous organizations interested in doing equity and inclusion work by building the analysis, frameworks, and tools to shift practice and outcomes. In 2017 it combined with Race Forward.

The Racial Equity Institute is “an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted themselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems. They help individuals and organizations develop tools to challenge patterns of power and grow equity.” Their Groundwater Approach is a pivotal framework for understanding the way racism affects all systems.

The Color of Wealth, published in 2015, illustrated the impact of racism, leading to racial inequities in wealth accumulation specifically in Boston.

 

Racial Justice (n.)

The creation and proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes, and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment and outcomes for all people, regardless of race.

Adapted from Race Forward and the Boston Public Health Commission

Race Forward, founded in 1981, is a leading research, media, and practice institute (in 2017 it combined with the Center for Social Inclusion). Race Forward leads the Government Alliance for Race and Equity, a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. In 2016, Mayor Walsh signed the commitment for the City of Boston to be a GARE city.

The Boston Public Health Commission, the city of Boston’s public health department, made this shift about 10 years ago to make the distinction that differences in health outcomes by race are not natural – they are unfair, unjust, and avoidable. The shared language is used in all staff new hire orientation, a mandatory 2-day training, and in practice.

Additionally, BMC’s CEO serves on the Board of Health, the governing body for the Boston Public Health Commission.

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

 

Racism (n.)

A system of power and oppression, codified into laws, policies, and institutions, based on the socially constructed concept of race, that advantages the dominant group (White people) and disadvantages non-dominant groups (people of color). Racism operates in the following ways:

  • Internalized Racism - The set of private beliefs, prejudices, and ideas that individuals have about the superiority of White people and the inferiority of people of color. Among people of color, it manifests as internalized racial oppression. Among White people, it manifests as internalized racial superiority. 
  • Interpersonal Racism - The expression of racism between individuals. These are interactions occurring between individuals that often take place in the form of harassing, racial slurs, or telling of racial jokes. Interpersonal racism also includes doing nothing and/or being silent when harassing, racial slurs, or telling of racial jokes occur.
  • Institutional Racism - Discriminatory treatment, unfair policies and practices, and inequitable opportunities and impacts within organizations and institutions, based on race that routinely produce racially inequitable outcomes for people of color and advantages for White people. Individuals within institutions take on the power of the institution when they reinforce racial inequities.
  • Structural Racism - Racial bias across institutions and society over time. It’s the cumulative and compounded effects of an array of factors such as public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms that work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial inequity.

Adapted from Race Forward

Race Forward, founded in 1981, is a leading research, media, and practice institute (in 2017 it combined with the Center for Social Inclusion). Race Forward leads the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Mayor Walsh signed the commitment for the City of Boston to be a GARE city.

Racism definitions used by the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, the Boston Public Health Commission.

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

The Boston Public Health Commission, the city of Boston’s public health department, made this shift about 10 years ago to name racism as a significant root cause of health inequities (rather than disparities), making the distinction that differences in health outcomes by race are not natural – they are unfair, unjust, and avoidable. The shared language is used in all staff new hire orientation, a mandatory 2-day training, and in practice – including the ways in which racism is employed.

Additionally, BMC’s CEO serves on the Board of Health, the governing body for the Boston Public Health Commission.

Harvard
UMass Med
Washington U
Stanford
NYU

Reverse Discrimination (n.)

Perceived discrimination against the majority group, especially resulting from policies enacted to correct past discrimination. While such discrimination may be racially motivated, reverse discrimination is not the same as racism because the former is not institutionally enforced.

Claims of reverse discrimination are often a reaction to attempts to correct policies and practices that have systemically oppressed populations (i.e., justice).

UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Sexism (n.)

Systemic oppression based on sex and/or gender. Gendered prejudice + power = sexism.

Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit

UMass Med

Sexual Harassment (n.)

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.

BU’s Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct (first paragraph)

 

Sexuality (n.)

A social construction that defines how people relate to one another in romantic, emotional, and/or physical ways. Though people are often assumed to be heterosexual (a frame of mind referred to as heterosexism), there are many sexualities that have existed across time and societies. Social and cultural forces regulate sexuality, and acknowledging the diversity of sexualities without prejudice is part of being in a pluralistic society.

BMC’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery

 

Substance Use Disorder (n.)

The clinical term describing a syndrome consisting of a coherent set of signs and symptoms that cause significant distress and or impairment during the same 12-month period. See below for terms that are often used but perpetuate stigma.

  • SUBSTANCE MISUSE
  • (Stigma alert) The use of a substance for unintended or intended purposes in improper amounts or doses. Term has a stigma alert, as some people believe it implies negative judgement and blame. Instead, many recommend using the terms “substance use” or “non-medical use.”

  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE
  • (Stigma alert) A term sometimes used to describe an array of problems resulting from intensive use of psychoactive substances. It has also been used as a diagnostic label. Term has a stigma alert, as some people believe it implies negative judgement and blame. Instead, many recommend using the terms “substance use” or “non-medical use.

Please refer to the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC for more information and resources on how to reduce stigma through the words we use.

The Recovery Research Institute based out of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

 

Tokenism (n.)

The practice of making a cursory or symbolic effort to employ inclusive practices to give the appearance of inclusiveness and fairness. In the classroom, this could involve an instructor asking a student to act as spokesperson for a certain identity group, or hiring a TA from an underrepresented group to assuage criticism about inclusiveness and diversity in the classroom.

Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning

Columbia

Transgender (adj.)

Describes a person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not correspond. Also used as an umbrella term to include gender identities outside of male and female (e.g., genderqueer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and others). Sometimes abbreviated as trans.

Adapted from The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, which is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a peer institute leading in LGBTQ+ health equity. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

Harvard
Mass General + Brigham
UMass Med
Washington U
NYU

Transphobia (n.)

Discrimination towards, fear, marginalization, and hatred of transgender people or those perceived as transgender. Individuals, communities, policies, and institutions can be transphobic.

The Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute is an “interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues.” It is an extension of Fenway Health, which is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a peer institute leading in LGBTQ+ health equity. The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center developed a glossary of health care terms.

 

URG (n.)

An acronym used in academic medicine meaning underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; specifically refers to Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.

The need for URG identification results from systems of oppression, particularly racism, which historically excluded people who are Black and/or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander from careers and within the field of academic medicine.

Although there is some overlap, URG is not interchangeable with the term people of color, which includes those of broader Asian descent.

Academic medicine made an intentional shift from using the term underrepresented minorities, as “minority” connotes “less than”.

According to the NIH’s definition of underrepresented groups (URG) in medicine and informed by the National Science Foundation.

URG is a data driven term, informing where medicine can focus its efforts to improve racial equity. The definition here for URG is from NIH, to be consistent with other BUMG programming such as the Under-Represented Groups Faculty Development Program

Columbia

URiM (n.)

An acronym meaning underrepresented in medicine. Refers to those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.

AAMC

 

URM (n.)

An acronym that refers to underrepresented minority. Academic medicine made an intentional shift from using the term underrepresented minority, as the term minority connotes “less than” toward underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (URG). See the definition of URG above for more details.

 

 

White Privilege (n.)

The unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are White, separate from one’s level of income or effort. Generally White people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it. White privilege does not mean that White people do not face challenges or struggles; it does mean that those struggles are not due to being White.

Adapted from Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center

Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center is a leader in Boston in applying a racial justice lens to their programing and affiliated with peer institute Brigham and Women’s hospital. SJPHC provides racial justice and health equity trainings and consultancy to Boston community. They developed a living glossary of terms.

 

White Supremacy (n.)

A historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by White peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.

Adapted from Race Forward

Race Forward, founded in 1981, is a leading research, media, and practice institute (in 2017 it combined with the Center for Social Inclusion). Race Forward leads the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. In 2016, Mayor Walsh signed the commitment for the City of Boston to be a GARE city.

 


  1. Includes socio-economic status, age, disability, national origin, culture, cognitive styles, appearance, and more.
  2. In 2020, the Associated Press and The New York Times announced separately they would standardize capitalizing Black but would not for White, to prevent giving whiteness more power.
  3. For more understanding on the debate on capitalizing or not, please refer to this article from the Atlantic.
  4. This list is not exhaustive of all peer institutes that may have shared terms within their diversity and equity glossaries.