Anti-racism lexicon

This lexicon is meant as a guide to help your understanding on some common words and terminologies you will hear in the space for diversity, equity and inclusion. These are not legal definitions.

This document may be reviewed and updated periodically by the Director, Anti-Racism Implementation group. Please check back regularly for updates.

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Discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities and/or people who are perceived to be disabled. Ableism characterizes people who are defined by their disabilities as inferior to the non-disabled.
A general term for the degree of ease that something (e.g., device, service, physical environment and information) can be accessed, used and enjoyed by persons with diverse mental, cognitive or physical limitations. The term also implies conscious planning, design and/or effort to make things more usable, practical and barrier free for the general population, including persons with disabilities, older people and families with small children.
The act in which individuals and communities hold themselves and their representatives to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.
The belief in the intrinsic superiority of people within a certain age range, often accompanied by prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination on the basis of age, usually against young or older people.
A person who has an internal sense of being neither male nor female nor some combination of male and female: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is genderless or neutral.
Someone that aligns with and supports a cause with another individual or group of people.
An active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group. Allyship is a conscious practice and commitment, not just a label.
Anti-Asian racism
In Canada, anti-Asian racism refers to historical and ongoing discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by peoples of Asian descent, based on others’ assumptions about their ethnicity and nationality. Peoples of Asian descent are subjected to specific overt and subtle racist tropes and stereotypes at individual and systemic levels, which lead to their ongoing social, economic, political and cultural marginalization, disadvantage and unequal treatment. This includes perceptions of being a "Yellow Peril," a "Perpetual Foreigner," a "Model Minority," "exotic," or "mystic." These stereotypes are rooted in Canada’s long history of racist and exclusionary laws, and often mask racism faced by peoples of Asian descent, while erasing their historical contributions to building Canada.
The term Asian encompasses a wide range of identities that the very term Asian can obscure. While all may experience being "otherized," specific experiences of anti-Asian racism vary. Some are constantly being perceived to be a threat, some face gendered exotification and violence, some are more likely to be subjected to online hate and racist portrayals in the media, while others face Islamophobia and other forms of religious-based discrimination.
Anti-Black racism
Prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, such that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger white society. Anti-Black racism is manifested in the legacy of the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians in society such as the lack of opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system.
Anti-Indigenous racism
Ongoing discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by Indigenous Peoples within Canada. It includes ideas and practices that establish, maintain and perpetuate power imbalances, systemic barriers, and inequitable outcomes that stem from the legacy of colonial policies and practices in Canada which continue today. Systemic anti-Indigenous racism is evident in discriminatory federal policies such as the Indian Act and the residential school system. It is also manifest in the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in provincial criminal justice and child welfare systems, as well as inequitable outcomes in education, well-being, and health.
Opposing or countering hate.
Anti-Racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred or blame, stereotypes, myths (such as denial of the Holocaust and other genocidal campaigns), and conspiracy theories. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
When a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and/or does not experience desire for sexual contact.
Physical obstacles as well as formal or informal policies and practices that restrict or exclude persons in designated groups from employment opportunities in the federal Public Service.
A subjective opinion, preference, prejudice, or inclination, often formed without reasonable justification, which influences the ability of an individual or group to evaluate a particular situation objectively or accurately. Biases (particularly implicit or unconscious biases) are built into and perpetuated by societal systems and structures through socialization. These biases might be against others’ race, gender, weight, disability, sexuality, skin-tone, age, culture or religion.
Hatred that glorifies one’s own group and denigrates members of other groups.
Black, Indigenous and people of colour. The term can be used generally to represent the non-white experience, however, many "BIPOC" individuals agree that using specific language when referring to racialized groups or experiences is ideal.
An individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. Some bisexual individuals may also identify as pansexual.
Black history month
A month dedicated to raising awareness of the history of Black people and celebrating their historical and contemporary achievements and contributions in the arts, education, government, sports, science etc. It has been recognized and celebrated in Canada in February since 1995.
Black Lives Matter
A political movement that addresses systemic and state/police violence against African Americans. The movement was first created by organizers in 2013: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
Defence Champions are senior-level managers or officers formally appointed by the Deputy Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff for their willingness to contribute to the corporate objectives of increased inclusion at the National level. Examples of Defence Champions include but not limited to: Employment Equity, Women, Peace and Security, Modernizing Sex and Gender Information Practices, Official Languages, etc.
Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC)
The Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture will lead a fundamental transformation in the way systemic misconduct is understood and addressed in the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
An individual whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. In Latin, "cis" means "on this side," while "trans" means "on the other side."
State-recognized nationality and the duties, rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with it.
The process of invasion, dispossession, genocide and subjugation of a people. The result is the dispossession of vast amounts of lands from the original inhabitants and the long-term result is institutionalized inequality. The colonizer/colonized relationship is by nature an unequal one that benefits the colonizer at the expense of the colonized. Settler colonialism — such as in the case of Canada — is the unique process where the colonizing population does not leave the territory, asserts ongoing sovereignty to the land, actively seeks to assimilate the Indigenous populations and extinguish their cultures, traditions and ties to the land. Colonialism refers to the ideology or method that makes way for colonization.
Or colour evasion is the insistence that one does not notice or see skin colour or race that can foster the systematic denial of racial subordination and the psychological repression of an individual’s recognition of that subordination, thereby allowing such subordination to continue.
Discrimination based on skin colour, also known as colourism or shadeism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social implications from cultural meanings attached to skin colour. Colourism is discrimination against people because they have a darker complexion. Lighter skin tones are seen as preferable in many countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
Critical Race Theory (CRT)
The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and structures and perpetuates racial inequities.
Refers to a group’s shared set of beliefs, norms and values. It is the totality of what people develop to enable them to adapt to their world, which includes language, gestures, tools, customs and traditions that define their values and organize social interactions. Culture is expressed and reproduced through formal and informal systems of reinforcement. Human beings are not born with culture – they learn and transmit it through language and observation.
Cultural appropriation
Also called cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity for use, commodification or profit, often without understanding, acknowledgement or respect for its value in the original culture.
Some examples include adoption of another, usually marginalized cultures, symbols, art, language, customs, etc. Production and sale of indigenous-style crafts and artworks by non-indigenous artists and makers is an example.
Cultural appropriation is most often seen when members of a dominant culture appropriate from marginalized or oppressed cultures. When cultural elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture, these elements are used outside of their original cultural context, sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of members of the originating culture.
Cultural humility
Cultural humility is a lifelong process of self-reflection, self-critique and commitment to understanding and respecting different points of view, while engaging with others humbly, authentically and from a place of learning.
Cultural safety
A culturally safe environment is physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually safe. There is recognition of, and respect for, the cultural identities of others, without challenge or denial of an individual’s identity, who they are, or what they need. Culturally unsafe environments diminish, demean or disempower the cultural identity and well-being of an individual.
The active process involving the bureaucratic, cultural, linguistic and psychological divesting of colonial powers, and a shifting towards political economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power that originate from a colonized nations’ own indigenous culture. Decolonization requires non-Indigenous individuals, governments, institutions and organizations to create the space and support for Indigenous Peoples to reclaim all that was taken from them.
Defence Advisory Group (DAG)
Is a joint DND/CAF designated Employment Equity (EE) consultative group formed in 1994 as prescribed by the EE Act. The DAGs provide their views on the facilitation of EE in the workplace and the communication of matters relating to EE to its employees. The DAGs include: the Defence Women’s Advisory Organization (DWAO), the Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group (DAAG), the Defence Visible Minority Advisory (DVMAG); and the Defence Advisory Group for Persons Disabilities (DAGPWD). The Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization was added as a formal Defence DAG in 2021.
A scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale, and who recognize that their traditional homelands are reflected deeply in the languages they speak, religions they adopt and the cultures they produce.
An umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.
Disaggregated data
In the context of race-based data, this means breaking down composite ("aggregate") categories such as "visible minority" into component parts, such as Black, Chinese, Arab, etc.
An action or a decision that treats a person or a group badly for reasons such as their race, age or disability, or other category protected in Human Rights legislation, either through deliberate intention or unintentionally through its impact.
Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)
Individuals who are perceived to have a sexual orientation or gender identity or expression that does not conform to socially accepted SOGIE norms. Such individuals include, but are not limited to, lesbians, gay men, and bisexual, trans, and intersex individuals.
The presence of a variety of unique human dimensions, qualities and characteristics within an individual, group or organization. Diversity includes such factors as age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, religion, sexual orientation, educational background and expertise, socioeconomic status, and the unique personal characteristics that distinguish us as individuals and groups.
Employment Equity (EE)
In Canada, a program, enshrined in the Employment Equity Act, which governs federal workplaces, and which is designed to remove barriers to equality in employment for reasons unrelated to ability, by identifying and eliminating discriminatory policies and practices, remedying the effects of past discrimination, and ensuring appropriate representation of the four groups designated in the EEA (women; Aboriginal peoples; persons with disabilities; visible minorities). At the moment 2SLGBTQ+ identities are not a designated category in the EEA, which was passed in 1995. Employment Equity can be used as an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of marginalized groups through explicit actions, policies or programs.
Environmental racism
A systemic form of racism in which toxic wastes are introduced into or near non-dominant communities who suffer disproportionately from pollution of lands, air and waterways, and the location of dangerous, toxic facilities such as incinerators and toxic waste dumps which often cause chronic illness to the inhabitants and change in their lifestyle.
Equal treatment that brings about an equality of results and that may, in some instances, require different treatment. For example, to give all students equal treatment in entering a building, it may be necessary to provide a ramp for a student who uses a wheelchair or for a student who brings their young children to school in strollers.
Equality in access and outcomes and a distinct process of recognizing differences within groups of individuals, and using this understanding to achieve substantive equality in all aspects of a person's life.
Sharing distinctive cultural beliefs and behaviours, and historical tradition often associated with race, place of origin, ancestry or creed.
A subtle form of manipulation that often results in the recipient doubting their perception of reality and their sanity.
A person who is sexually attracted to people of their sex. Typically refers to men, but can refer to people of various genders.
GBA Plus
Gender-based Analysis Plus, or GBA Plus, is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men, and gender diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. GBA Plus considers many other identity factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical ability and how the interaction between these factors influences the way we might experience government policies and initiatives.

Gender refers to an individual's personal and social identity as a man, woman or non-binary person (a person who is not exclusively a man or a woman).

Gender includes the following concepts:

  • gender identity, which refers to the gender that a person feels internally and individually;
  • gender expression, which refers to the way a person presents their gender, regardless of their gender identity, through body language, aesthetic choices or accessories (e.g., clothes, hairstyle and makeup), which may have traditionally been associated with a specific gender.

A person's gender may differ from their sex at birth, and from what is indicated on their current identification or legal documents such as their birth certificate, passport or driver's licence. A person's gender may change over time.

Some people may not identify with a specific gender.

Gender expression
Refers to how a person publicly presents their gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance such as dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. A person's chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of expressing gender.
Gender fluid
An individual who is flexible about their gender identity rather than living in and expressing a single gender identity. They may fluctuate between gender identities or expressions or may express multiple genders at the same time.
Gender identity
Refers to each person's internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person's gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex. Gender identity is fundamentally different from a person's sexual orientation.
Gender norms
The characteristics, attitudes and behaviours that are socially or culturally associated with a person's assigned sex. The categories and specific characteristics associated with gender may vary culturally.
An individual's gender includes gender identity and expression, both of which can be fluid and flexible, can change over time, and may be counter to their culture's prevailing gender norms.
A process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses; the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. Gentrification often shifts a neighborhood's racial/ethnic composition and average household income by developing new, more expensive housing, businesses and improved resources. Gentrification can lead to population migration and displacement.
Engaging in a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome.
Hate crime
A crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward an individual’s national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE)
Is often driven by a range of grievances and ideas from across the traditional ideological spectrum. The resulting worldview consists of a personalized narrative which centres on an extremist's willingness to incite, enable and or mobilize to violence. Extremists draw inspiration from a variety of sources including books, images, lectures, music, online discussions, videos and conversations.
A policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.
Implicit bias
An unconscious predisposition, prejudice or generalization about a group of persons based on personal characteristics or stereotypes.
Appreciating and using our unique differences – strengths, talents, weaknesses and frailties – in a way that shows respect for the individual and ultimately creates a dynamic multi-dimensional organization.
Attributes both physical and spiritual that reflect Ancestry within an Indigenous Nation. Typically, a presence of Traditional Politic asserting Nationhood and or Sovereignty over their Ancestral Territories and stewardship of the Natural World. Assertion to belonging to an Indigenous community and or Nation and identifying with the world view of this particular community or Nation. Possessing and or reclaiming an Indigenous language and or culture. Interaction within Community Ceremonies, sharing teachings and songs are all acts of Indigeneity.
Indigenous citizenship
Sovereign Indigenous recognized Nationality and the duties, rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with it.
Institutional racism
Consists of patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for racialized persons. These appear neutral on the surface but, nevertheless, have an exclusionary impact on racialized persons.
See also definition for "racism".
Intergenerational trauma
Historic and contemporary trauma that has compounded over time and been passed from one generation to the next. The negative effects can impact individuals, families, communities and entire populations, resulting in a legacy of physical, psychological, and economic disparities that persist across generations.
The way in which people's lives are shaped by their multiple and overlapping identities and social locations; such as race, class, sexual orientation and gender, which, together, can produce a unique and distinct experience for that individual or group, for example, creating additional barriers, opportunities, and/or power imbalances.
A reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not closely resemble typical male or female reproductive or sexual anatomy, which may be related to genitalia, secondary sex characteristics, and/or chromosomal make-up.
Invisible disabilities
A range of hidden mental and physical attributes, which are not immediately apparent but may cause a disadvantage or have an impact to an individual's personal well-being. This includes chronic pain or fatigue, amnesia, autoimmune disease (e.g. various forms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis), brain injuries, anxiety, mental illness, sight or hearing impairments, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.
Includes racism, stereotypes, prejudice, fear or acts of hostility directed towards individual Muslims or followers of Islam, in general. In addition to individual acts of intolerance and racial profiling, Islamophobia can lead to viewing and treating Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level, regardless of actual data.
An individual who identifies as a woman and whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is primarily to other individuals who identify as women.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning Two-Spirit, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual/Agender and Allies with the "+" indicating plus others.
There is no universal abbreviation when referring to sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ+ has become widely recognized but not always considered inclusive.

Lived experience
Personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people.
Marginalization is a long-term, structural process of systemic discrimination that creates a class of disadvantaged minorities.
A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).
Misogyny is the social systems and environments where women face hostility and hatred because they're women in a historical patriarchy. Misogyny is a feature of patriarchy, serving to continuously enforce women's place as subordinate to men. Misogyny is not a matter of individual attitudes or sexist hatred of women, and in fact it is entirely consistent to claim that misogynist acts can be committed by people who desired women, perhaps loved them in some way.
The unique hatred, discrimination, distrust, prejudice, stereotypes, bias, etc that Black women face by virtue of their intersecting identities.
Minority group
A group of people within a society that is either small in number and may have little or no access to social, economic, political, or religious power.
Federal policy announced in 1971 and enshrined in law in the Multiculturalism Act of 1988. It promotes the acknowledgement and respect of diverse ethnicities, cultures, races, religious, and supports the freedom of these groups to preserve their heritage "while working to achieve the equality of all Canadians."
Grassroots collective of community civilian and military members that have come together to share their experiences, explore, discuss and create meaningful actions to support the dismantling of the barriers that impact their community as members of the Defence Team. The Defence Team Networks include: the Defence Team Black Employee Network (DTBEN).
Differences in brain functioning within the human population are normal. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others. Brain functioning that is not neurotypical should not be stigmatized.
Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological variations are known and valued as any other human variation.
A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities that are outside the gender binary.
The phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good or desirable or permissible and others as bad or undesirable or impermissible.
The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social groups.
The norms, values, beliefs, structures and systems that grant power, privilege and superiority to men, and thereby marginalize and subordinate women". While patriarchy does privilege men, this privilege does not automatically extend to all men, to men of colour, Indigenous men, gay/bisexual men, men living in poverty, or differently abled men, given the intersecting operation of racism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism.
Person/people of colour
An inclusive term that encompasses a wide range of social identity or ethnic groups, including Asians, Aboriginal Peoples, Latinas/Latinos and Blacks.
  1. The ability to name or define.
  2. The ability to decide.
  3. The ability the set the rule, standard, or policy.
  4. The ability to change the rule, standard, or policy to serve your needs, wants or desires.
  5. The ability to influence decisions makers to make choices in favor of your cause, issue or concern.
Negative or false prejudgment or preconceived feelings or notions about another person or group of persons based on perceived characteristics often in the absence of personal experience, legitimate or sufficient evidence. Racial prejudice refers to a set of discriminatory or derogatory attitudes based on assumptions deriving from perceptions about race and/or skin colour.
(When used in reference to the LGBTTIQQ2A community): not being ashamed of oneself and/or showing your pride to others by "coming out," marching in the Pride parade, etc., being honest and comfortable about who you are.
Unearned power, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities based on membership or perceived membership in a dominant group.
Refers to a person whose sexual orientation or gender identity differs from the normative binary vision of gender and sexuality.
Refers to a person who is uncertain of their own gender identity or sexual orientation.
A socially-constructed identity based on geographic, historical, political, economic, social and cultural factors, as well as physical traits. Race is not intrinsic to human beings but rather an identity created to establish meaning in a social/economic context.
The process of identifying a group or individual as belonging to a race based on characteristics, perceived or otherwise, such as ethnicity, language, economics, religion, culture, or politics.
Racial minority
A group of persons who, because of their physical characteristics, are subjected to differential treatment. Their minority status is the result of a lack of access to power, privilege, and prestige in relation to the majority group.
Racial profiling
Any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on assumptions about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or differential treatment. Profiling can occur because of a combination of the above factors, and age and/or gender can influence the experience of profiling. In contrast to criminal profiling, racial profiling is based on stereotypical assumptions because of one’s race, colour, ethnicity, etc. rather than relying on actual behaviour or on information about suspected activity by someone who meets the description of a specific individual.
Racial separatism
The belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another.
Racism is any individual action, or institutional practice which treats people differently because of their colour or ethnicity. This distinction is often used to justify discrimination.
The process of two people or groups in a conflict agreeing to make amends or come to a truce.
Reconciliation in Canada also means the establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country.
The systematic denial of various services by federal government agencies, local governments as well as the private sector, to residents of specific, most notably black, neighborhoods or communities, either directly or through the selective raising of prices.
The term emerged out of urban planning and banking policies practiced in the United States of America, but which has also been adopted by activists in Canada.
A status assigned at birth based on biological markers of sex, including reproductive and sexual anatomy and chromosomes. Sex is typically designated as male or female. Sex can also refer to intersex.
Sexual orientation
A person's physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to, and/or intimate relations with, individuals of a different gender, the same gender, no gender, or more than one gender. A person's understanding of their sexual orientation may change.
Social inclusion
Is based on notions of belonging, acceptance and recognition and entails the realization of full and equal participation in economic, social, cultural and political institutions. It is about recognizing and valuing diversity; it is about engendering feelings of belonging by increasing social equality and the participation of diverse and disadvantaged populations.
Incorrect assumption based on things like race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, religion, etc. Stereotyping typically involves attributing the same characteristics to all members of a group regardless of their individual differences. It is often based on misconceptions, incomplete information and/or false generalizations.
Stigma involves negative attitudes or discrimination against someone based on a distinguishing characteristic such as a mental illness, health condition, or disability. Social stigmas can also be related to other characteristics including gender, sexuality, race, religion, and culture.
An organization comprised of workplace policies, practices and decision-making processes that are used within unique areas of the organization.
Systemic barrier
A barrier embedded in the social or administrative structures of an organization, including the physical accessibility of an organization, organizational policies, practices and decision-making processes, or the culture of an organization.
Systemic racism
Consists of patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the social or administrative structures of an organization, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for racialized persons. These appear neutral on the surface but, nevertheless, have an exclusionary impact on racialized persons.
Transgender or trans
An umbrella concept that refers to any individual whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. This concept includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have made bodily changes using surgical, medical or other means, or who plan to make bodily changes to align their sex characteristics with their gender identity; individuals whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth but who have no wish to change their physiology; people who identify as having multiple genders or as not having a gender; individuals whose gender identity changes from time to time; or people with any other gender identity that is not in line with socially accepted norms of expected behaviours based on gender. Gender identity is different from sexual orientation, and a trans individual may be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual.
Being aware of, and taking into consideration, the broad range of potential impacts of harm and misconduct, and building support that is responsive to those impacts. This includes adopting decolonizing approaches to trauma, which further recognize the ways in which multiple aspects of a person’s identity can shape and affect the person and their community’s experiences and understanding of trauma and approaches to healing and well-being.
Trauma mining
The process of creating an environment that demands that Black people, Indigenous peoples, women, Disabled people, and members of the LGBTTIQQ2A community share experiences of discrimination. This process is branded as necessary for the moving forward of an organization in its journey to become more equitable. However, it serves no purpose to those who are forced to relive their trauma, but attempts to prove to their colleagues that racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. is in fact real.
Two-spirited (2S)
An umbrella term used by some Indigenous people whose gender, spiritual identity and/or sexual orientation includes both male and female spirits.
Unconscious bias
Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is defined as "attitudes and stereotypes that influence judgment, decision-making, and behaviour in ways that are outside of conscious awareness and/or control."
United Nations Decade for People of African Descent (UNDPAD)
A decade by which the international community recognizes that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
A statement addressing the human rights of Indigenous Peoples; emphasizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples to live in dignity, to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their self-determined development, in keeping with their own needs and aspirations.
Visible minority
Term used to describe people who are not white. Although it is a legal term widely used in human rights and employment equity legislation and in the various policies which derive from these laws, currently the terms "racialized minority" or "racialized groups" or "people of colour" are preferred by people labelled as visible minorities.
A social colour. The term is used to refer to people belonging to the majority group in Canada. It is recognized that there are many different people who are "White" but who face discrimination because of their class, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, language, or geographical origin. Grouping these people as "White" is not to deny the very real forms of discrimination that people of certain ancestry, such as Italian, Portuguese, Jewish, Armenian, Greek, etc., face because of these factors.
White fragility
A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable [for white people], triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviours such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviours, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
A system that perpetuates certain ideologies that position whiteness to be inherently good, holding both power and privilege, while positioning Blackness and non white to be its direct antithesis. This manifests in culture, beauty standards, education, workplaces, the criminal justice system, and the everyday.
White privilege
Benefitting from unearned power, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities based on being white or being perceived as white. White people are defined as belonging to any of various peoples with light coloured skin, usually of European origin. The term has become an indicator less of skin colour and more of racialized characteristics.
White supremacist
A person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.
White supremacy
The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs and actions of white people are superior to People of Colour and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. White supremacy expresses itself interpersonally as well as structurally (through our governments, education systems, food systems, etc.).
The fear and hatred of foreigners, cultures, ways of life, and people not similar to one's own.

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