Equity and Inclusion Definitions

Shared Language

As the City strives for equity in all policies, it is imperative to use shared language to set the tone. We cannot assume that we are referring to the same issues when we use the same terms. Using shared language and defining frequently used terms will set the foundation as we aim to address topics such as equity, race, and racism within the City of Raleigh. 

Ally - Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc., and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice.

Affinity Groups - Is an intentionally created space for those who share an identity to convene for learning, support, and connections.

Anti-Blackness - A two-part formation where overt racism, in tandem with covert structural and systemic racism, voids Blackness of value and systematically marginalizes Black people and Black issues. This structure is held in place by anti-Black policies, institutions, and ideologies.

Belonging - Your well-being is considered and your ability to design and give meaning to society’s structures and institutions is realized. More than tolerating and respecting differences, belonging requires that all people are welcome with membership and agency in society. Belonging is vital to have a thriving and engaged populace, which informs distributive and restorative decision-making

Bias/Prejudice - Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

BIPOC/ People of Color - A term referring to “Black and/or Indigenous People of Color.

Diversity - Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of what is and should be valued.

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

Equality - The state of being equal.

Equity - Justice, fair treatment, and opportunity for the advancement of all people across all systems. (housing, education, economics, healthcare, environmental, social, and community)

Implicit Bias - Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness.

Inclusion - Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.

Intersectionality - Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression.

LGBTQ+  Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning Plus

Microaggression - The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

Prejudice - A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members.

Race - An arbitrary social construct created by Europeans during the time of worldwide colonial growth, 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.

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.

Racism - 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.

  • Individual Racism - Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.  
  • Institutional - Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups.
  • Internalized - 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.
  • Structural - The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color.
  • Systemic - This is an interlocking and reciprocal relationship between the individual, institutional and structural levels that function as a system of racism.

White Supremacy Culture - An artificial, historically constructed culture that expresses, justifies and binds together the United States white supremacy system.

Xenophobia - Any attitude, behavior, practice, or policy that explicitly or implicitly reflects the belief that immigrants are inferior to the dominant group of people. Xenophobia is reflected in interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels of oppression and is a function of White supremacy.

Equity and Inclusion
Board, Commission or Committee:
Human Relations Commission
Related Services:
Equity Resources