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


People of Latin American and Caribbean heritage.  Often used interchangeable with Hispanic, Latino seems preferable on the U.S. West Coast and Hispanic on the East Coast.  Some feel that Latino is more inclusive of these groups’ African and indigenous heritage as well as their Spanish heritage.  Others prefer Hispanic since Latino is masculine, and is not a clear ethnic designation (the word does not refer to a specific country or locale).

Latino/a is sometimes used in an effort to avoid sexism.  For some, the term more technically refers to people whose heritages are traced to countries where languages derived from Latin are spoken, e.g., Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Romania.

The term of preference for most gay women because it offers an identity independent from men.  The term originates from the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, which was the of the Greek poet Sappho, who was a lover of women.

When used in Christian religious circles, this term usually means a belief in the value of a critical attitude toward authority and tradition, and an openness to the insights from the scientific study of religious belief.  Often used as a contrast to conservative.

The term is used to describe the way individuals lead their lives.  For example, some people like living in the country.  Others like the city life, using public transportation, and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. The word lifestyle is sometimes used incorrectly to describe a person’s to describe a person’s sexual orientation, as in “She is living a gay lifestyle.” This usage is problematic because gay people live many different lifestyles.  Being gay, in and of itself, is not a lifestyle any more than being heterosexual is a lifestyle.


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