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


Concerns the heritage, character, experience of people distinguished by political and geographic boundaries whether chosen or received.  Refers to the “memory, response, mood coded into the soul, transmitted through generations.”  As such, ethnicity functions as a “public metaphor” for “a knowledge related to heritage, character, social experience of people” and can be distinguished from culture (which has to do explicitly with shared patterns of living) and race (which is often considered a matter of genetics).

Considered by some to be an attitude that views one’s own culture as superior.  Others cast it as “seeing things from the point of view of one’s own ethnic group” without the necessary connotation of superiority.   

The ethnocentric inclination to consider European culture as normative.  While the term need not imply an attitude of superiority (since all cultural groups have the initial right to understand their own culture as normative for them), most writers use this term with a clear awareness of the historic oppressiveness of Eurocentric tendencies in U.S and European society.

Originally identified in the United States and Canada with that part of Protestant Christianity that emphasizes the centrality of the Bible and the necessity of a “conscious personal conversion” leading to a spiritually transformed life of moral commitment and conduct.  In recent years, especially in the popular press, the term has been used to refer to any Christian holding these basic principles.  Lutherans have traditionally used the term as a rough equivalent for Protestant.

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