The doors of opportunity, preparation, and likelihood of success, are not equally open to all segments of our society in the United States. We have compiled the following
list of DEIA definitions to facilitate knowledge of, and discussion about, the targeted populations for DEIA priories and strategies.
Accessibility means the design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them. This includes:
Providing accommodations and modifications to ensure equal access to employment and participation in activities for people with disabilities;
The reduction or elimination of physical and attitudinal barriers to equitable opportunities;
A commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities can independently access every outward-facing and internal activity or electronic space; and
The pursuit of best practices such as universal design.
Advocacy is taking action in service of a cause, and the people it affects, to influence decision-makers and decision-making.
African American (or Black American) are Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa; generally denotes descendants of enslaved Africans who are from the United States; refers to a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
Afro is used to describe something that is associated with African people or African culture.
Afro-centric refers to emphasizing or promoting emphasis on African culture and the contributions of Africans to the development of Western civilization.
Agender refers to individuals who do not identify as a specific gender.
Alaska Native refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Ally (or Straight Ally or Heterosexual Ally) is a heterosexual and cisgender person who supports and work is to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ people.
Allyship, is used in contemporary social justice activism to describe efforts in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with, and to advance the interests of, marginalized groups, both in society at large, and within particular social contexts, such as universities or workplaces.
American Indian refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Asexual refers to a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior. They may or may not experience emotional, physical, or romantic attraction. Asexuality differs from celibacy in that it is a sexual orientation, not a choice. People who are asexual may call themselves ace.
Asian refers to people born in, or with ancestors from the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian ancestry; refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.
Baby Boomers refers to those born between 1946 and 1964.
Binary (or Gender binary) is the classification consisting of genders, male and female; a belief that there are only two genders and that one’s sex or gender assigned at birth aligns with traditional social constructs or masculine and feminine identity, expression, and sexuality.
Bisexual (or Bi) refers to sexual attraction or sexual behavior towards both males and females, or to more than one gender; not necessarily at the same time, in the same way or to the same degree; this term is often used interchangeably with pansexual.
Black refers to dark-skinned people of African descent, no matter their nationality.
BLM (Black Lives Matter) an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people; protests police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
Civil War in the United States was a civil war between the Union (northern states) and the (southern states); central cause of the war was the status of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into territories acquired as a result of the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican–American War.
Colored (or Coloured) is a racial descriptor historically used in the United States during the Jim Crow era to refer to an African American, originates from the intermixture of the whites and the blacks when used as an indication of race or ethnicity, usually considered offensive as compared to a “person of color” that usually carries a respectful connotation and refers to all racial groups that are not white.
Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with a core idea 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 policies.
Diversity means the practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities.
Equity means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment.
East Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or Mongolia.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that causes someone to question their feelings, thoughts, memories, sanity, or perception of reality.
Gay represents men who are attracted to men in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense.
Gender Fluid refers to someone whose gender changes over time, i.e. who identifies as a girl or a boy sometimes and genderless other times.
Gender Identity refers to the personal sense of one’s own gender, which can correlate with a persons assigned sex at birth or can differ from it.
Gender-expansive identity generally refers to transgender people who do not identify on a binary scale — either as a man or a woman — and who may instead refer to themselves as “genderqueer,” “gender fluid,” “non-binary,” or by other terms.
Gender Pronouns fall into two major categories:
Gender Binary Pronouns —he/him/his for men, and she/her/hers for women.
Gender-Expansive or Gender Neutral/Gender Inclusive Pronouns — they/them/theirs as a singular term, or ze/hir/hirs.
Gendered Honorifics refer to titles such as “Ms.” or “Mr.” or “Mx” (pronounced mix).
Generation X refers to those born between 1965 and 1979.
Generation Z refers to those born between 1996 and 2012.
High Yellow denotes a black person with a very light complexion.
Hispanic refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Latin America and living in the United States, including Brazilians; often used interchangeably with Latino (or Latina for a woman or Latinx to be gender-neutral); refers only to a person’s origin and ancestry as they can be of any race or color.
Inclusion means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.
Indigenous refers to the original inhabitants of a given land region; indigenous people practice unique traditions and retain social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live; for example, the Lakota in the United States, the Mayas in Guatemala, Aymaras in Bolivia, the Inuit and Aleutians of the circumpolar region, the Saami of Northern Europe, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia, and the Maori of New Zealand.
Intersex refers to people born with any of 30 different variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that do not seem to fit the typical definitions of male or female.
Islam is a major world monotheistic religion promulgated by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century; the god in Islam is referred to as Allah, which in Arabic means “the god” or “the deity.”
Jim Crow refers to laws in forcing racial segregation in the southern United States, which existed from the post – Civil War era until 1968.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) commemorates the end of slavery in the United States; marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.
Latino (or Latina for a woman or Latinx to be gender-neutral) refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Latin America and living in the United States, including Brazilians; often used interchangeably with Hispanic; refers only to a person’s origin and ancestry as they can be of any race or color.
Lesbian refers to a woman who has a romantic and/sexual orientation toward women; a homosexual woman; used interchangeably with gay woman.
LGBTQI+ is an acronym for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (and/or queer), and intersex community as a whole; the community represents a diverse range of identities and expressions of gender and sexual orientation; the “plus” represents other sexual identities, including pansexual and Two-Spirit, and reflects increased awareness of the need to be inclusive of other sexual identities to offer better representation.
LGBTQIA+, represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer, intersex, asexual and ally.
LGBTQI2S, represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer, intersex, and Two-Spirit.
Millennials refers to those born between 1980 and 1995.
Muslim is a follower of the religion of Islam.
Native Americans has the same general meaning as “Indigenous peoples of Americans”
Native Hawaiians, or simply Hawaiians, are the Indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands..
Negro, relating to black people, is a member of a dark-skin people peoples originally native to Africa south of the Sahara.
Non-binary refers to people who does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman; they may feel like a mix of genders, or like they have no gender at all.
Omnisexual refers to someone who is sexually attracted to people of any gender regardless of their gender and sexual orientation; this term is often used interchangeably with pansexual.
Pacific Islanders refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, the Pacific islands, especially an indigenous person of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, or a person of Pacific Islands dissent.
Pangender is a term for people whose gender identity is not limited to one gender and may encompass all genders at once, and is often used as a self-identifier.
Pansexual refers to someone who is sexually attracted to people of any gender regardless of their gender and sexual orientation; this term is often used interchangeably with Omnisexual.
People of color was originally meant to be a synonym of “Black” but has expanded to include Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and other non-white groups.
Queer refers to people who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender, an identity and/or orientation that does not align with heterosexual expectations; it is a community for those in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
Questioning refers to an individual who is unsure of and/or exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
Race (racial categories), included in the census questionnaire, generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically and include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups.
Sexual Orientation refers to a general grouping of people measuring sexual behavior or attraction, as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Skinhead refers to someone with a shaved head or very short hair, often associated with a violent gang, and also thought to adhere to white – supremacist or anti-immigrant principles
Sikhs are people who adhere to Sikhism, a monotheistic religion and philosophy that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of present day Pakistan.
Southeast Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, countries that are south of China but east of Asia, which includes 11 countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Timor-Leste.
South Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, or Maldives.
Sponsorship (or Employment Sponsorship) refers to vouching for, supporting, advising, or helping fund another person or an organization or project.
Traditionalists refers to those born before 1946.
Transgender refers to those whose sense of personal identity or gender does not correspond to their assigned sex at birth, or does not conform to gender stereotypes; i.e. are gender-non-conforming.
Turban is a type of head wear based on cloth winding, featuring many variations, and worn as customary headwear by people of various cultures.
Two-Spirit is a term created by Indigenous people to separate themselves from Western descriptions of gender and sexual identities; some feel it is disrespectful to attach Two-Spirit to the LGBTQI2S acronym for that reason.
Underserved communities refers to populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, who have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life. This includes:
Individuals from communities of color, such as Black and African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, Alaska Native and Indigenous, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and North African persons.
Individuals based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity (including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (LGBTQ+) persons);
Persons based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions; parents; and caregivers;
Individuals based on their religion;
Individuals based on their disability;
First-generation professionals or first-generation college students;
Individuals with limited English proficiency;
Individuals based on older age or former incarceration;
Individuals based former incarceration;
Persons who live in rural areas;
Veterans and military spouses; and
Persons adversely affected by persistent poverty.
White refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
White Privilege (or White Skin Privilege) refers to the social and economic advantages that white people have by virtue of their race over non-white people in some societies.
White Supremacy (or White Supremacism) is the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white peoples should have control over people of other races.
Woke (Woke Culture) refers to being aware or well-informed in a political or cultural sense, especially regarding issues surrounding marginalized communities; describes someone who has “woken up” to issues of social injustice.
Yellow refers to a person having light olive or light brown skin.