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Glossary of Multicultural Terms

A breakdown of terms that address diversity on campus.

Affirmative Action: Actions taken in recruitment, hiring, upgrading, and other areas meant to eliminate the present effects of past discrimination, or to prevent discrimination.

AHANA: Stands for African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American; derivative ALANA substitutes Latino/a for Hispanic.

Ally: One who is supportive of a group but not a part of the group itself.

Discrimination: An act that negatively affects opportunities based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, national origin, sexual orientation, or other factors, such as age.

Diversity: A situation that includes representation of multiple (ideally all) groups within an environment, such as a university or a workplace. Many different types of diversity can be considered, such as geographic, academic, ethnic/racial, and socioeconomic.

Ethnicity: A quality assigned to a specific group of people historically connected by a common national origin or language.

LGBTQ: Stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning; can be arranged in various different forms.

Nondiscrimination Policy: Nearly all schools spell out their recruitment and hiring practices regarding race, color, religion, sex, handicap, national origin, sexual orientation, etc. in their nondiscrimination policy or clause, which can usually be found on the school’s website.

Person of Color: A term that refers to all people who are not considered “white.”

Race: A family, tribe, people, or nation unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics. 

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