Anti-Racism Glossary

This glossary provides shared definitions and concepts on terms necessary for anti-racist work. Select any word to get a detailed description, causes to support, action items, and related recent news.


AAVE stands for African American Vernacular English. It is a variety of English that is spoken by many Black people in the United States, and it is characterized by its own set of grammatical rules, vocabulary, and pronunciation.


Ableism is discrimination against disabled people. It can be physical barriers or negative attitudes and stereotypes. It affects education, employment, and other areas of life. Ableism is perpetuated by societal norms and impacts the quality of life and well-being of disabled people.


Accessibility refers to creating products, services, and environments in a way that is inclusive and enables disabled people to fully participate.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is a policy that helps more marginlized people have equal opportunities. It might involve hiring more people from these groups or giving them more support.


Ageism is discrimination or prejudice against people based on their age. It reinforces negative stereotypes and biases about older people.


Allyship is actively supporting and advocating for marginalized groups. An ally is someone who uses their privilege or power to stand up for disadvantaged groups.


Anti-blackness is the prejudice and discrimination against Black people. It is based on the belief that Black people are inferior to other racial groups and is often reinforced by societal norms and institutions.


Antisemitism is a form of prejudice or discrimination against Jews, based on the belief that Jews are a separate and inferior race, religion, or nationality. Antisemitism can take many forms, including violence, hate speech, discrimination in employment or education, and other forms of persecution.

Cash Bail

Cash bail is a system that allows people who have been arrested to be released from jail before their trial by paying a set amount of money. If they don’t go to court as required, they may lose the bail or be pursued for the full amount.

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is the act of taking elements of a marginalized culture and using them without proper understanding or respect for their original context or significance.


Decolonization refers to the process of dismantling colonial systems and structures, and the restoration of self-determination and sovereignty to colonized peoples.

Disability Justice

Disability justice is a social justice movement recognizes and challenges ableism, the discrimination and oppression of disabled people.

Dominant Culture

Dominant culture refers to the cultural values, beliefs, and practices that are prevalent in a society and that are often associated with mainstream or dominant groups. Dominant culture is often characterized by its dominance over other cultures and its ability to shape and influence societal norms and expectations.


Ethnicity is a social and cultural concept that refers to a group of people who share a common identity based on shared cultural characteristics, such as language, religion, traditions, and ancestry.


Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s own culture or group is superior to others and that the practices and beliefs of one’s own group should be the standard by which all other cultures are judged


Gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to create an unfair advantage for a certain political party or group.

Implicit Bias

Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases are not necessarily based on personal prejudices or beliefs, but rather on societal and cultural conditioning.

Internalized Oppression

Internalized oppression is the internalization of negative messages and beliefs about oneself and one’s group that are perpetuated by a society or system that oppresses them. It can manifest as self-hatred, low self-esteem, self-doubt, and a lack of self-worth.


Intersectionality describes how aspects of a person’s identity, such as their race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability, intersect and can create unique experiences of discrimination or privilege.


Microaggressions are conscious or unconscious actions or behaviors based on one’s marginalized identities.


Misogynoir describes the specific forms of misogyny and sexism that Black women experience. It is a combination of the words misogyny, which refers to the hatred or dislike of women, and noir, which means black in French.

Model Minority Myth

The model minority myth is a stereotype that suggests certain minority groups, especially Asian Americans, are naturally more successful and hardworking than others due to their culture, not systemic barriers and discrimination.


Oppression is the systemic use of power and authority to discriminate against and marginalize a particular group of people, often on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristics.

Qualified Immunity

Qualified immunity is a rule that protects police and other government officials from being sued for damages if they are accused of breaking someone’s constitutional rights.


Redlining is a practice of discrimination in which businesses deny or limit services, like mortgages or insurance, based on the racial makeup of neighborhoods. It often targets minority neighborhoods and limits access to credit and wealth. It’s illegal under federal fair housing laws.


Reparations are actions taken to compensate for harm or injury, particularly in the context of racial justice. This may include financial compensation for the descendants of enslaved people and marginalized communities in the US.


Tokenism is including a small number of marginalized people to appear diverse without addressing discrimination. It often involves giving token roles or responsibilities without equal opportunities or support.

Voter Suppression

Voter suppression is the practice of intentionally making it harder for certain groups of people to vote.


White Feminism

White feminism is a form of feminism that focuses exclusively on the experiences and needs of white women, often without acknowledging or addressing the intersections of race, class, and other forms of oppression that shape the experiences of women of color and other marginalized groups.

White Savior Complex

White savior complex refers to the belief that white people have a responsibility or a right to save or rescue people of color from their problems or circumstances. The white savior complex often involves a sense of superiority and a lack of awareness of one’s own privilege.


Xenophobia is a fear or hatred of people from other countries or cultures. It is often manifested as discrimination or prejudice against people who are perceived as being different or foreign.

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