The pervasiveness of the term “Black lives matter” demonstrates how powerful and effective language can be when spreading a message or movement. When we can agree on the meaning of terms that are used within anti-racism coalitions, communication and dialog flourish. Likewise, ambiguity and misunderstanding can spark controversy and cause division among these same communities. Although certain matters leave room for opinion, it is important that the non-negotiables within the movement remain clear. Please join us in reviewing some of the words and phrases which form the backbone of the fight for racial justice. Remember, no one is perfect. All that matters is that we remain willing to acknowledge our missteps and improve ourselves as proponents of equality.
Here are a few commonly used terms:
African American: (n.) a Black American; (adj.) relating to Black Americans; an ethnic group.
Allyship: (n.) a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people. not self-defined—work and efforts must be recognized by those you are seeking to ally with.
Bail Funds: (n.) an organization, often charitable, community and volunteer-driven, or both, that collects money for the purpose of posting monetary bail for those in jail on pre-trial detention.
Bigotry: (n.) intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
Black Lives Matter: (n.) a political and social movement originating among African Americans, emphasizing basic human rights and racial equality for black people and campaigning against various forms of
racism. Abbreviations: BLM
Capitalizing the "B" in Black: (v.) Black with a capital "B" refers to people of the African American diaspora. Lowercase black is simply a color. Yet capitalizing Black is not universally accepted. In fact, it is common to see Black in lowercase, even though other racial groups including, Asian American, Latinx and Native, are routinely capitalized.
Civil Rights: (n.) the rights guaranteed to the individual by amendments to the Constitution and other laws passed by Congress that give people the right to vote, equal treatment and freedom from slavery.
Culture: (n.) is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.
Cultural Appropriation: (n.) the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.
Cultural Taxation: (n.) is a term coined by Amado Padilla in 1994 as a way of describing the unique burden placed on ethnic minority faculty in carrying out their responsibility to service the university. ... “Cultural taxation” is a stealth workload escalator for faculty of color.
Cultural Trauma: (n.) occurs when members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways.
Defunding Police: (v.) Defunding the police means cutting the budgets of local law enforcement agencies and instead investing the money in community programs, accessible housing and public health (including mental health care), among other social needs.
Discrimination: (n.) the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
Diversity: (n.) the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness; variety; multiformity.The inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.; a point of difference.
Double Consciousness: (n.) is the internal conflict experienced by subordinated or colonized groups in an oppressive society. The term and the idea were first published in by W. E. B. Du Bois.
Eurocentrism: (n.) is generally defined as a cultural phenomenon that views the histories and cultures of non- Western societies from a European or Western perspective. ... Rather, Eurocentrism is a systematic distortion of existing realities, with which most Western social theories and ideologies seem to have been contaminated.
Gaslighting: (v.) manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.'
Implicit Bias: (n.) Also known as implicit social cognition, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
Imposter Syndrome: (n.) also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
Inaction: (n.) lack of action where some is expected or appropriate. Indigenous: (adj.) originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native.
Intersectionality: (n.) the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Juneteenth: (n.) a holiday celebrated on 19 June to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.
Loot: (v.) steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot.
Mass Incarceration: (n.) refers to the unique way the U.S. has locked up a vast population in federal and state prisons, as well as local jails.
Microaggression: (n.) a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.
Misogynoir: (n.) the specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward black women often used attributively.
Oppression: (n.) prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.
People of Color: (n.) is today primarily used in the United States to describe any person who is not considered white, including in various points in US history, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islander Americans, Middle Eastern Americans and others. The term emphasizes common experiences of systemic racism.
Police Brutality: (n.) The use of excessive, unjustified force (typically of a physical nature, but also including verbal abuse and psychological intimidation) by a police officer while carrying out law enforcement duties.
Prejudice: (n.) preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Protest: (n.) a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.
Racism: (n.) prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized. the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.
Riot: (n.) a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.
Solidarity: (n.) unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
Systemic Racism: (n.) also known as institutionalized racism, a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other issues.
Unity: (n.) the state of being united or joined as a whole.
Weaponize: (v.) to supply or equip with a weapon or weapons; to develop (a chemical, microorganism, etc.) for use as a weapon, as in biological warfare
White Guilt: (n.) the feelings of shame and remorse some white people experience when they recognize the legacy of racism and racial injustice and perceive the ways they have benefited from it.
White Fragility: (n.) the tendency among members of the dominant white cultural group to have a defensive, wounded, angry, or dismissive response to evidence of racism.
White Privilege: (n.) refers to societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
White Supremacy: (n.) the theory or belief that White people are innately superior to people of other races.