Describes someone who supports a group other than one’s own (in terms of racial identity, gender, faith identity, sexual orientation, etc.) Allies acknowledge disadvantage and oppression of other groups than their own; take risks and supportive action on their behalf; commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in oppression of those groups and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression. (Center for Assessment and Policy Development)


1. feeling or showing hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a cultural, racial, or ethnic group (Merriam-Webster)
2. The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews. (ADL)


1. A person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group.
2. is stronger than prejudice, a more severe mindset and often accompanied by discriminatory behavior. It’s arrogant and mean-spirited, but requires neither systems nor power to engage in. (Debbie Irving, 2017)


A social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication.( Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.)

Cultural Pluralism

Recognition of the contribution of each group to a common civilization. It encourages the maintenance and development of different life styles, languages and convictions. It is a commitment to deal cooperatively with common concerns. It strives to create the conditions of harmony and respect within a culturally diverse society.(Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.)

Cultural Racism

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and whiteness, and devalue, stereotype and label People of Color as “other,” different, less than or render them invisible.( Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge).

Dominant Culture

The cultural values, beliefs, and practices that are assumed to be the most common and influential within a given society (National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).

Green Book

The “Green Book” is the Stapleton Development Plan.  The Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC) is responsible for holding Forest City accountable to the promises outlined in this plan.  Forest City also has a contract with the city of Denver, legal obligating them to build 10 percent of for-sale units as affordable housing reasonably on pace with market rate homes.  The Stapleton brand does not support the inclusive spirit of the Green Book.


1. the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. (Merriam-Webster)
2. a neocolonial practice where those who’ve been historically granted access to political/social/economic power use that power to dispossess people who’ve been historically denied access to power of land that has again become valuable. (Brent Adams, letter to the Denver Post, June 23, 2017)

More on Gentrification in Denver


The idea that heterosexuality is a normal, natural, or superior state of human sexual orientation, and the system of oppression based on that belief. It is very closely related to homophobia and the two ideas tend to coexist. Like homophobia and cissexism, heterosexism exists on both a societal and individual level and can be either deliberate or unintentional on part of the person holding those beliefs.

Cultural heterosexism is a major obstacle in attaining marriage equality and other recognition of same-sex relationships. Related acts and ideas– such as homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia– can also lead to acts of violence and discrimination LGBT+ individuals.


Acronym encompassing the diverse groups of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered populations and allies and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender alliances/associations. (National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Questioning. (National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).


Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups:

  • White people;
  • Able-bodied people;
  • Heterosexuals;
  • Males;
  • Christians;
  • Middle or owning class people;
  • Middle-aged people;
  • English-speaking people

Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe that they have earned the privileges that they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and they are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent. (, downloaded October, 2017*)

Racial Profiling

The discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. (ACLU)

Racial profiling by law enforcement is commonly defined as a practice that targets people for suspicion of crime based on their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Creating a profile about the kinds of people who commit certain types of crimes may lead officers to generalize about a particular group and act according to the generalization rather than specific behavior. (National Institute of Justice)


A judgment or opinion that is formed on insufficient grounds before facts are known or in disregard of facts that contradict it. Prejudices are learned and can be unlearned. (, downloaded October, 2017*)


Someone has said that “race is a pigment of our imagination”. That is a clever way of saying that race is actually an invention. It is a way of arbitrarily dividing humankind into different groups for the purpose of keeping some on top and some at the bottom; some in and some out. Ant its invention has very clear historical roots; namely, colonialism. “Race is an arbitrary socio-biological classification created by Europeans during the time of world wide colonial expansion, to assign human worth and social status, using themselves as the model of humanity, for the purpose of legitimizing white power and white skin privilege” (Crossroads-Interfaith Ministry for Social Justice). (, downloaded October, 2017*)

Racial Equity

Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them. (Center for Assessment and Policy Development)


Racism is a system in which one race maintains supremacy over another race through a set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures, and institutional power. Racism is a “system of structured dis-equality where the goods, services, rewards, privileges, and benefits of the society are available to individuals according to their presumed membership in” particular racial groups (Barbara Love, 1994. Understanding Internalized Oppression). A person of any race can have prejudices about people of other races, but only members of the dominant social group can exhibit racism because racism is prejudice plus the institutional power to enforce it. (, downloaded October, 2017*)


Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in sex/gender; usually by men against women(National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).

Social Activism

An intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change. If you feel strongly about a cause and are working towards a change, you could be considered an activist. An activist is anyone who is fighting for change in society. (Amherst College)


Blanket beliefs and expectations about members of certain groups that present an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment. They go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information, and are highly generalized. (National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).

Structural Racism

“The structural racism lens allows us to see that, as a society, we more or less take for granted a context of white leadership, dominance and privilege. This dominant consensus on race is the frame that shapes our attitudes and judgments about social issues. It has come about as a result of the way that historically accumulated white privilege, national values and contemporary culture have interacted so as to preserve the gaps between white Americans and Americans of color.”
For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress and racism, lower rates of healthcare coverage, access and quality of care and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things
Source: Karen Fulbright-Anderson, Keith Lawrence, Stacey Sutton, Gretchen Susi and Anne Kubisch, Structural Racism and Community Building. New York: The Aspen Institute. (1st part)
Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building.(2nd part)

System of Oppression

Conscious and unconscious, non‐random, and organized harassment, discrimination , exploitation, discrimination, prejudice and other forms of unequal treatment that impact different groups. (National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality).


The illegal practice of refusing to offer credit or insurance in a particular community on a discriminatory basis (as because of the race or ethnicity of its residents)

School to Prison Pipeline

A disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out. (ACLU)


The process whereby builders, brokers, and rental property managers induce purchasers or lessees of real property to buy land or rent premises in neighborhoods composed of persons of the same race.

Symbolic Violence

1. the self-interested capacity to ensure that the arbitrariness of the social order is either ignored, or posited as natural, thereby justifying the legitimacy of existing social structures (Pierre Bourdieu)
2 .the subordinating effects on people of hidden structures that reproduce and maintain social domination in covert ways. (Pierre Bourdieu)
3. the intentional or unintentional use of institutionalized force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, psychological harm, or disregard of the interests of people of color and difference. (Diggs)

More on Symbolic Violence

White Privilege

Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
Examples of privilege might be: “I can walk around a department store without being followed.” “I can come to a meeting late and not have my lateness attributed to your race;” “being able to drive a car in any neighborhood without being perceived as being in the wrong place or looking for trouble.” “I can turn on the television or look to the front page and see people of my ethnic and racial background represented.” “I can take a job without having co-workers suspect that I got it because of my racial background.” “I can send my 16-year old out with his new driver’s license and not have to give him a lesson how to respond if police stop him.”(Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women Studies.”)

White Supremacy

White Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege. (Elizabeth Martinez)

Definitions with * were abridged from:
© Leaven 2003 Doing Our Own Work: A Seminar for Anti-Racist White Women
© Visions, Inc. and the MSU Extension Multicultural Awareness Workshop

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