Perspectives Resource and Identity Guide

The following guide is a compilation of resources related to terminology & identity for marginalized and unrepresented groups, including but not limited to: Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, the LGBTQIA community & those with disabilities.

Table of Contents

Why do we need this guide?

We need to create a safe, inclusive town for all. This is not a matter of “political correctness;” the language we use and the way we address others is crucial in guaranteeing that everyone feels accepted within Manchester. We need to normalize having these conversations and learning these terms, allowing it to become a part of our community’s broader thought and consciousness.

It is our duty to serve all members of our community to the very best of our ability. In 2020, the Town of Manchester declared racism a public health crisis, and in order to uphold that promise, we must educate ourselves to meet the constantly evolving needs of our community and to be better prepared to challenge hatred and bigotry wherever we see it. Through the resources provided by this guide, we are better able to meet these demands and educate ourselves to be productive & inclusive Town of Manchester employees.

This guide allows us to write truthfully. Through this guide, we aim to allow our readers to truly grasp our perspectives, rather than having to rely on broader interpretations. We want to provide our readership with all of the information and resources they need to analyze our works and form a thoughtful, nuanced opinion of it.

Racial Equity Resource Guide

The following guide is property of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and  can be viewed in its original form here.

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.

Source: Center for Assessment and Policy Development

Intolerant prejudice which glorifies one’s own group and denigrates members of other groups.

Source: National Conference for Community and Justice St. Louis Region — unpublished handout used in the Dismantling Racism Institute program.

When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression.

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

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.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

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.

Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard and identifying only whites as the great writers or composers.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

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.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

Refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges (see the term “privilege”) that are granted or denied based on an individual’s ethnicity or other grouping. Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, “People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin.” In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system or privileges based on ethnicity or race can be ignored.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

The wide range of national, ethnic, racial and other backgrounds of U.S. residents and immigrants as social groupings, co-existing in American culture. The term is often used to

include aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class and much more.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

When target group members refuse to accept the dominant ideology and their subordinate status and take actions to redistribute social power more equitably.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical base.

Examples of different ethnic groups are: Cape Verdean, Haitian, African American (black); Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese (Asian); Cherokee, Mohawk, Navaho (Native American); Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican (Latino); Polish, Irish, and Swedish (white).

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

Inclusion authentically brings traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities and decision/policy making.

Source: Crossroads Charlotte Individual Initiative Scorecard for Organizations Scorecard Overview, revised 3/12/07.

The beliefs, attitudes and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can occur at both a conscious and unconscious level and can be both active and passive. Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet or believing in the inherent superiority of whites.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as non-white.

Examples:

Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

Internalized racism is the situation that occurs in a racist system when a racial group oppressed by racism supports the supremacy and dominance of the dominating group by maintaining or participating in the set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures and ideologies that undergird the dominating group’s power. It involves four essential and interconnected elements:

Decision-making — Due to racism, people of color do not have the ultimate decision-making power over the decisions that control our lives and resources. As a result, on a personal level, we may think white people know more about what needs to be done for us than we do. On an interpersonal level, we may not support each other’s authority and power — especially if it is in opposition to the dominating racial group. Structurally, there is a system in place that rewards people of color who support white supremacy and power and coerces or punishes those who do not.

Resources — Resources, broadly defined (e.g., money, time, etc.), are unequally in the hands and under the control of white people. Internalized racism is the system in place that makes it difficult for people of color to get access to resources for our own communities and to control the resources of our community. We learn to believe that serving and using resources for ourselves and our particular community is not serving “everybody.”

Standards — With internalized racism, the standards for what is appropriate or “normal” that people of color accept are white people’s or Eurocentric standards. We have difficulty naming, communicating and living up to our deepest standards and values, and holding ourselves and each other accountable to them.

Naming the problem — There is a system in place that misnames the problem of racism as a problem of or caused by people of color and blames the disease — emotional, economic, political, etc., on people of color. With internalized racism, people of color might, for example, believe we are more violent than white people and not consider state-sanctioned political violence or the hidden or privatized violence of white people and the systems they put in place and support.

A way of describing any attitude, action or institutional structure that subordinates (oppresses) a person or group because of their target group, color (racism), gender (sexism), economic status (classism), older age (ageism), religion (e.g., anti-Semitism), sexual orientation (heterosexism), language/immigrant status (xenophobism), etc.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit.

The systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures that saturate most aspects of life in our society.

Oppression denotes structural and material constraints that significantly shape a person’s life chances and sense of possibility.

Oppression also signifies a hierarchical relationship in which dominant or privileged groups benefit, often in unconscious ways, from the disempowerment of subordinated or targeted groups.

Oppression resides not only in external social institutions and norms but also within the human psyche as well.

Eradicating oppression ultimately requires struggle against all its forms, and that building coalitions among diverse people offers the most promising strategies for challenging oppression systematically.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.

Source: Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit. Claremont, Calif.: Claremont Graduate University.

A right that only some people have access or availability to because of their social group memberships (dominants). Because hierarchies of privilege exist, even within the same group, people who are part of the group in power (white/Caucasian people with respect to people of color, men with respect to women, heterosexuals with respect to homosexuals, adults with respect to children, and rich people with respect to poor people) often deny they have privilege even when evidence of differential benefit is obvious. See the term “right” also in this glossary.

Source: National Conference for Community and Justice—St. Louis Region.– Unpublished handout used in the Dismantling Racism Institute program. (Source for 1st Part)

Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti?Racism Initiative. A Community Builder’s Tool Kit. Claremont, Calif.: Claremont Graduate University. (Source for 2nd Part)

A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time. Racial categories subsume ethnic groups.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

An individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization and personal experience.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

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.

Source: Center for Assessment and Policy Development

Racism is a complex system of beliefs and behaviors, grounded in a presumed superiority of the white race. These beliefs and behaviors are conscious and unconscious; personal and institutional; and result in the oppression of people of color and benefit the dominant group, whites. A simpler definition is racial prejudice + power = racism.

Source: National Conference for Community and Justice — St. Louis Region. Unpublished handout used in the Dismantling Racism Institute program.

A resource or position that everyone has equal access or availability to regardless of their social group memberships.

Source: National Conference for Community and Justice — St. Louis Region. Unpublished handout used in the Dismantling Racism Institute program.

Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge

Access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs or influencing others in order to lead a safe, productive, fulfilling life.

Source: Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge.

“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 qualityof 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)

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.”

Source: Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women Studies.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Glossary

The following guide is property of the University of Washington and can be viewed in its original form here. Additional terms added by Better Manchester Writing Team.

A person within the Latin diaspora that identifies with his/her African roots.

Someone who supports a group other than one’s own (in terms of multiple identities such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.). An ally acknowledges oppression and actively commits to reducing their own complicity, investing in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression.

A form of prejudice that results from our tendency and needs to classify individuals into categories.

A person who is obstinately devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices and intolerant towards other diverse social groups.

An acronym used to refer to black, Indigenous, and people of color. It is based on the recognition of collective experiences of systemic racism. As with any other identity term, it is up to individuals to use this term as an identifier.

A term for people whose gender identity, expression, or behavior aligns with those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.

The belief that everyone should be treated “equally” without respect to societal, economic, historical, racial or other difference. No differences are seen or acknowledged; everyone is the same.

The non-consensual/misappropriation use of cultural elements for commodification or profit purposes – including symbols, art, language, customs, etc. — often without understanding, acknowledgment, or respect for its value in the original culture.

The active and intentional process of unlearning values, beliefs, and conceptions that have caused physical, emotional, or mental harm to people through colonization. It requires a recognition of systems of oppression.

Physical or mental impairment that affects a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Socially, it refers to the wide range of identities. A broad includes race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, veteran status, physical appearance, etc. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.

The unequal treatment of members of various groups, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, which favor one group over others on differences of race, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, language, age, national identity, religion, and other categories.

The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist in the provision of adequate opportunities to all groups.

Distinct from the term “sexual orientation,” refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.

An individual whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.

The use of comments or actions that can be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, and unwelcome.

Negative associations expressed automatically that people unknowingly hold and that hat affect our understanding, actions, and decisions; also known as unconscious or hidden bias.

The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a fully participating member. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes and opportunities for different groups based on racial discrimination.

A social construct that recognized the fluid diversity of identities that a person can hold such as gender, race, class, religion, professional status, marital status, socioeconomic status, etc.

  •  A way of describing any attitude, action or institutional structure that

 

subordinates (oppresses) a person or group because of their target group. For example,

color (racism), gender (sexism), economic status (classism), older age (ageism), religion (e.g., anti-Semitism), sexual orientation (heterosexism), language/immigrant status (xenophobism), etc.

A gender-inclusive term to identify a person from the Latin diaspora. Traditionally, Spanish-language endings in “o” is masculine and “a” is feminine.

An inclusive term for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.

The verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, insults, or belittlement, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon discriminatory belief systems.

A process of embracing diversity and learning about people from other cultural backgrounds. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world, and an openness to learn from them.

The systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry, and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures.

Actions and beliefs that prioritizes masculinity. Patriarchy is practiced systemically in the ways and methods through which power is distributed in society (jobs and positions of power given to men in government, policy, criminal justice, etc.) while also influencing how we interact with one another interpersonally (gender expectations, sexual dynamics, space-taking, etc.).

A collective term for men and women of Asian, African, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds; as opposed to the collective “White”.

An inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment and can be rooted in stereotypes that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.

Exclusive access or availability to material and immaterial resources based on the membership to a dominant social group.

An umbrella term that can refer to anyone who transgresses society’s view of gender or sexuality. The definitional indeterminacy of the word Queer, its elasticity, is one of its constituent characteristics: “A zone of possibilities.”

A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic, and political needs of a society at a given period of time

Refers to an environment in which everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves and participating fully, without fear of attack, ridicule, or denial of experience.

An individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Social justice constitutes a form of activism, based on principles of equity and inclusion that encompasses a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and society as a whole.

A form of generalization rooted in blanket beliefs and false assumptions, a product of processes of categorization that can result in a prejudiced attitude, uncritical judgment, and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Stereotypes are typically negative, based on little information that does not recognize individualism and personal agency.

Systemic disadvantage(s) of one social group compared to other groups, rooted and perpetuated through discriminatory practices (conscious or unconscious) that are reinforced through institutions, ideologies, representations, policies/laws, and practices. When this kind of inequalities is related to racial/ethnic discrimination is referred to as systemic or structural racism.

Conscious and unconscious, non-random, and organized harassment, discrimination, exploitation, discrimination, prejudice, and other forms of unequal treatment that impact different groups. Sometimes is used to refer to systemic racism.

Presence without meaningful participation. For example, a superficial invitation for the participation of members of a certain socially oppressed group, who are expected to speak for the whole group without giving this person a real opportunity to speak for her/himself.

A power system structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined; and who feel superior to those of other racial/ethnic identities.

Glossary of Terms

The following guide is property of the Human Rights Campaign and can be viewed in its original form here.   

A term used to describe someone who is actively supportive of LGBTQ people. It encompasses straight and cisgender allies, as well as those within the LGBTQ community who support each other (e.g., a lesbian who is an ally to the bisexual community).

 The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.

The fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, people who love and are sexually attracted to more than one gender.

A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with pansexual.

A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.

The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.

A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender. Men, women and non-binary people may use this term to describe themselves.

Clinically significant distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify.

A person with a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system. Often used as an umbrella term when referring to young people still exploring the possibilities of their gender expression and/or gender identity.

External appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, body characteristics or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender or has a fluid or unfixed gender identity.

One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. While many also identify as transgender, not all gender non-conforming people do.

Genderqueer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as “genderqueer” may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.

A process some transgender people undergo to match their gender identity more closely with their outward appearance. This can include changing clothes, names or pronouns to fit their gender identity. It may also include healthcare needs such as hormones or surgeries.

The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are attracted to members of the same sex.

Intersex people are born with a variety of differences in their sex traits and reproductive anatomy. There is a wide variety of difference among intersex variations, including differences in genitalia, chromosomes, gonads, internal sex organs, hormone production, hormone response, and/or secondary sex traits.

A woman who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to other women. Women and non-binary people may use this term to describe themselves.

An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.”

An adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While many also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people do. Non-binary can also be used as an umbrella term encompassing identities such as agender, bigender, genderqueer or gender-fluid.

Exposing someone’s lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender or gender non-binary identity to others without their permission. Outing someone can have serious repercussions on employment, economic stability, personal safety or religious or family situations.

Describes someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with bisexual.

A term people often use to express a spectrum of identities and orientations that are counter to the mainstream. Queer is often used as a catch-all to include many people, including those who do not identify as exclusively straight and/or folks who have non-binary or gender expansive identities. This term was previously used as a slur, but has been reclaimed by many parts of the LGBTQ movement.

A term used to describe people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A term some prefer to use instead of lesbian, gay or bisexual to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.

The sex (male or female) given to a child at birth, most often based on the child’s external anatomy.

An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. Note: an individual’s sexual orientation is independent of their gender identity.

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.

Disability Sensitivity Training

The following information is property of the DC’s Office of Disability Rights and 
can be viewed in its original form here

The mission of the DC Office of Disability Rights (ODR) is to ensure that the programs, services, benefits, activities and facilities operated or funded by the District of Columbia are fully accessible to, and useable by people with disabilities. ODR is committed to inclusion, community-based services, and self-determination for people with disabilities. ODR is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the City’s obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as other disability rights laws.

View the Office of Disability Right’s Disability Sensitivity Training video below.

Identity Guide

The following information is property of Boston College’s The Gavel. The Gavel is an undergraduate student publication at Boston College founded in 2009. Named after the gavel Tip O’Neill ‘36 used as Speaker of the House, the Gavel is the progressive student voice on campus and is made up of staff writers, editors, a creative team, a business team, and a print team. The organization publishes several online-exclusive articles per day as well as a semesterly print edition, covering local news, progressive issues, BC athletics, college arts, the campus atmosphere, and more. For more information, visit: www.bcgavel.com.

General Guidelines:

  • If you are mentioning specific people in your articles, remember to ask those people how they would like to be identified.
    • Ex: Most non-binary people use they/them pronouns, but some may use he/him/his or she/her/hers instead
    • If you do not know how a person wishes to be identified or cannot reach them, use the most appropriate terminology (which will be covered below*), or consult the EIC or ME
  • Offer the option to remain anonymous to interview subjects or other people you are mentioning in an article, particularly if the piece deals with sensitive topic. Always maintain anonymity if the subject hasn’t consented to the use of their name and you have any reason to worry about their safety, physically or mentally.
  • Whenever you are unsure about which identifiers to use, ask your section head, EIC, or ME for help. 

*Use the following guidelines unless a person specifically requests a different identifier.

Race/Ethnicity:

  • Use “Black” with a capital “B” over African-American
  • Use “Latinx” over “Latino/a” if talking about a group, or if you aren’t aware of the individual’s gender identity
    • Remember that “Latinx” is not a race, but rather an ethnicity—Latinx simply describes anyone from or living in Latin America, and so Latinx people can be white, Black, Asian, mixed, etc.
  • Different Asians have very different experiences—ask the individual how they identify, such as East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, etc., and use that specific identifier
  • Use “Indigenous” over “Indian” or “American Indian”
  • For all of the above, ask the individual or group if they would like to identified by their ethnicity over their race (Ex: Chinese-American over Asian-American)
  • As always, be specific as possible when talking about the victims and perpetrators of racism
    • Ex: When talking about the 2018 Welch Hall vandalism, emphasize that the racism was carried out by a white man against Black students in a specifically anti-Black act. Do not simply say the racism targeted people of color.

 

Ability Status

  • Use person-first language (rather than disability-first)
    • Ex. “People with autism” over “autistic people” 
    • Ex. “People with disabilities”, never “the handicapped/handicapped people”
  • Don’t patronize people with disabilities
    • Ex: Don’t excessively call people with disabilities “inspirational,” as it is tokenizing and suggests their accomplishments are in spite of their disability
    • Ex: Don’t pity people with disabilities

 

Religion

  • Use “Muslim” for people, never “Islamic”
  • Use “Jewish people,” not Jews
  • If you are talking to/about leaders within a religious community, make sure to verify their official title
    • Ex: Priest/pastor, rabbi, imam, etc.

 

Gender

  • Never essentialize the female or male experience and avoid associating either with specific imagery or tropes
    • Ex. avoid graphics or descriptions of women using vaginas, breasts, or uteruses
  • When talking about health issues, don’t assign genders to the population affected
    • Ex. avoid using “women” when talking about periods — instead, say “people with periods”
    • Ex. “people with prostates” over “men”
  • Trans people have very specific experiences that queer, non-binary, or gender non-conforming people do not — if talking about trans experiences, make sure to emphasize that and avoid generalizing a “queer” experience
    • Use “Transgender,” “trans man,” “trans woman,” or “non-binary” as applies. Never use the word “Transsexual”

 

Sexual Identity

  • If you don’t know exactly how a queer person identifies and can’t get a hold of them, use “queer” as the identifier
    • Don’t assume a queer woman is a lesbian or a queer man is gay

 

S.E.S.

  • Use “low-income” over “poor,” “underprivileged,” “economically challenged,” or other meaningless euphemisms
  • Use “developing country” over “third-world country”

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a comment