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 

A : B : C : D : E : F : G : H : I : L : M : N : O : P : Q : R : S : T : W




Bias is an inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Bigotry is an unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices.

Biphobia is the fear of intimacy with and closeness to people who do not identify with either a homosexual or heterosexual orientation. Bisexuals confront bias from both the gay and heterosexual communities and often feel that they are in two closets. Bisexuals are sometimes seen as trying to have it both ways or as homosexuals who haven’t admitted it yet.

Romantic and sexual attraction to and/or behavior with members of both genders.  It’s normal, not an illness, and has no known cause.

Used by some to designate a racial group distinguishable by skin color.  Used by others to designate a cultural group or subculture such as U.S. Americans or Canadians with an African heritage.  Race and culture are not synonymous: race designates lineage or genetics; culture refers to the particular historical and linguistic patterns which inform a person’s or group’s world view.  Authors tend to capitalize “Black” when a cultural group is intended, and use “black” in reference to race.  However, the Harvard Educational Review insists on “Black,” and The New York Times consistently uses “black” in all cases.

Through much of U.S. history, “black” has often been used negatively, especially by European Americans—as in identifying black with “dirty.”  Such usage reflects negatively back on people identified with dark skin hues. 

It is not uncommon for individual authors to alternate inexplicably among “black,” “Black,” and “African American.”


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