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


The act or instance of coming to a new country, region, or environment for the purpose of settling there.  Also refers to the number of persons doing so during a certain period, e.g., “a large immigration of Vietnamese during the 1980s.”

In The Closet:
Being totally or partially secret about one’s gay, lesbian or bisexual orientation; often necessary due to self-denial, discrimination, and/or antigay violence.  Keeping the secret takes incredible energy and often causes psychological pain.

Having a posture (attitude or policy) of inclusion of diverse others.

Inclusion, however, does not inherently imply diversity or pluralism and can even be seen to imply the opposite in some instances.  For example, a company may hire a prescribed quota of women and minorities but then expect and require these persons to take on the pre-existent white male corporate identity.  This company may then refer to itself as “inclusive,” but it is not pluralistic since a single dominating identity remains, which others are assimilated into.  Or to put it another way, the newly “inclusive” company is seeking to be inclusive while ignoring or erasing diversity.

Inclusive Language:
Refers to non-sexist language, or language that “includes” all persons in its references.  For example, “a writer needs to proofread his work” excludes females due to the masculine reference of the pronoun.  Likewise, “a nurse must disinfect her hands” is exclusive of males and stereotypes nurses as female.

It is widely believed and documented that the male-biased sexism of “traditional” modern English creates and reinforces discrimination against women and that inclusive language can help to rectify this.

For some persons, inclusive language means the use of male/female gender-neutral language and imagery.  For others, it means avoiding the use of pejorative or hierarchical language in reference to gender, physical conditions, marriage status, race, age, and other culturally differentiated relationships among people.  These same distinctions may be found among those advocating for an inclusive language in reference to divinity.

Institutional Racism:
It is widely accepted that racism is, by definition, institutional.  “Institutions have greater power to reward and penalize.  They reward by providing career opportunities for some people and foreclosing them for others.  They reward as well by the way social goods are distributed – by deciding who receives training and skills, medical care, formal education, political influence, moral support and self-respect, productive employment, fair treatment by the law, decent housing, self-confidence and the promise of a secure future for self and children.”

Intersexual is person born with mixed sexual physiology; an actual medical condition exhibiting the physical manifestation of genital/genetic/endocrinological differentiation which is different from the “cultural norm”.


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