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Equity and Inclusion Glossary of Terms

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has listed the various definitions and concepts related to racism and antiracism in medicine.

Our goal is to create and sustain a culture of EDI and belonging for all members of the Faculty of Medicine community.  We felt it important to educate and provide a list of key EDI terms and definitions.  The definitions and terms included below are by no means comprehensive as EDI terms are continually evolving.

Please direct any feedback or suggestions to the EDI office at [email protected].

  • Allyship:
    "The practice of emphasizing social justice, inclusion, and human rights by members of an ingroup, to advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalized outgroup." 

  • Antiracism:
    "Antiracism 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." 

  • Anti-oppression:
    "Anti-oppression is the strategies, theories, actions and practices that actively challenge systems of oppression on an ongoing basis in one's daily life and in social justice/change work. Anti-oppression work seeks to recognize the oppression that exists in our society and attempts to mitigate its effects and eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities." 

  • Hidden curriculum:
    "Hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school." 

  • Implicit/unconscious bias:
    "An unfair belief about a group of people that you are not aware of and that affects your behaviour and decisions." 

  • Intersectionality:
    "The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise." 

  • Microaggressions (and subtypes):
    Microaggression is a term used for commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups." 

  • Minority tax:
    "The minority tax has been defined as the tax of extra responsibilities placed on minority faculty in the name of efforts to achieve diversity."

  • Power:
    "Power may be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one's beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to antiracism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware."

  • Privilege:
    "Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g., white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we're taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it."

  • Race:
    "Race is a fluid concept used to group people according to various factors including, ancestral background and social identity. Race is also used to group people that share a set of visible characteristics, such as skin color and facial features. Though these visible traits are influenced by genes, the vast majority of genetic variation exists within racial groups and not between them. Race is an ideology and for this reason, many scientists believe that race should be more accurately described as a social construct and not a biological one." 

  • Racialization:
    "Racialization is the very complex and contradictory process through which groups come to be designated as being part of a particular "race" and on that basis subjected to differential and/or unequal treatment."

  • Racism:
    "Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices." 

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion