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Building a Bridge Toward a 21st Century Multi-Racial Multi-Cultural Society: 
Tearing Down Walls of Hate, Ignorance and Fear
Developing a Common Language for All to Access

Glossary of Terms and Definitions  

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Refugee:
There is significant political import at present attached to whether or not persons fleeing oppression in other countries and seeking asylum in the U.S. can be granted “refugee” status.  “Political refugees” are granted asylum, but those judged to be fleeing economic oppression are generally turned away.

Relativism:
This is mot commonly understood as a posture which maintains that the basis for judgment in matters of ethics or knowledge is relative, differing according to persons and contexts.  Therefore, universal judgments applicable to all persons and all contexts is difficult or impossible.

It does not follow, however, that all judgments are therefore equal in this view (that judgment could only be made from an objective perspective which the relativist denies), nor that one cannot assess judgments as better or worse from one’s own culturally bound point of view.

The issue of relativism is raised by discussions of cultural diversity, since the claim is often made that no one cultural perspective is absolute and universal but rather that there is much to be gained from a sharing of multiple cultural vantage points (each relative to the peoples and contexts which form it).

Retarded:
Means literally that development or progress is stunted.  This is considered a derogatory term if used in reference to persons.  The most common and acceptable term for persons whose intellectual development is significantly below the norm is developmentally disabled.

 

This list is compiled from a variety of sources by the Office of Racial Justice and Multi-Racial, Multi-Cultural Transformation, United Church of Christ, Cleveland Based Team, Fall 2006

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