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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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Tokenism:
Hiring or seeking to have in representation a few women and/or racial or ethnic minority persons so as to appear inclusive while remaining monocultural.

Tradition:
The handing down of stories, beliefs, customs, and so forth from generation to generation, or a long-established custom or practice which approximates an unwritten law.  In its singular form, this term is often a point of contention in debates between “traditionalists,” who assert that the Western tradition is formative and normative for Western culture and therefore ought to form the core curriculum in Western educational institutions, and non-traditionalists (pluralists, postmodernists, multiculturalists), who contend that there are multiple and diverse Western traditions as well as multiple non-Western traditions that ought to be part of our cultural discourse and part of educational curricula.

Transgender:Transgender is a general term which refers to anyone who does not fit into the stereotypical two gender labeling system of male or female. Gender identification and/or presentation does not conform to culturally standard patterns. This term is commonly used as an umbrella term to include all manner of gender transgression, including transsexuals, crossdressers, transvestites, and intersexuals, as well as other self-defining people.

Transgressive:
Challenging the accepted expectations and/or rules of appropriateness of “polite society”.

Transsexual:
Transsexuals are men and women who feel their true identity is that of the other gender and that they have been born with the wrong set of sexual organs.  Many transsexuals have sex-change operations.  Transsexuals may be gay, bisexual or heterosexual, in the same way that the general population may be.


Transvestite:
Transvestite is an individual who enjoys wearing the clothes of and appearing as the other sex.  Also known as cross-dressers.  Most are heterosexual men.  Some gay people enjoy drag and cam as liberating humor. 

Tribe:
A group of persons, families, or clans believed to be descended from a common ancestor and which presently forms a closely knit community.  The term is considered derogatory by some, but is often used, along with a tribal name, to highlight a group’s unique identity and to counter the tendency to stereotype or to fail to recognize diversity among peoples with a common or similar ethnic background.

 

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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