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As with any discussion of this magnitude, it is essential to define terms that will be used as a means of setting parameters for the discussion. Here are three essential definitions, with more following (taken from a complete listing):

[a-c] [d-l] [m-o] [p-r] [r-st] [su-z]

Definition of Race: A biological grouping within the human species, distinguished or classified according to genetically transmitted differences. Of all the ways to classify human populations, the most fundamental is by race, the variation of biological types within the human species.

- Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropaedia Ready Reference, Volume 9.


Definition of Preference: The selection of something or someone else over another. The state of being preferred or advantaged.

- The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition.


Definition of Prejudice: An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or the examination of the facts. A preconceived preference or idea.
- The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third edition.



AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (1): Affirmative Action refers to social policies encouraging favorable treatment of socially disadvantaged minority groups, especially in employment, education, and housing, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, in order to reverse historical trends of discrimination and to create equality of opportunity.

- Adapted from The Harper Collins Dictionary: Sociology, (1991).

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (2): "Affirmative action is any measure, policy or law used to increase diversity or rectify discrimination so that qualified individuals have equal access to employment, education, business, and contracting opportunities."

- Anamaria Loya, Attorney, MALDEF

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (3): "Affirmative action is not about counting heads, it is about making heads count."

- Abdín Noboa

AGEISM: Ageism is the process by which people are discriminated against simply by virtue of age-usually the very young and the very old-thereby limiting their value, access to social rewards and contribution to society.

- Caleb Rosado

ASSIMILATION: Assimilation-from the Latin, assimilare, to make similar-is the process whereby newcomers to society are encouraged to give up their cultural way of life and accommodate as quickly as possible to values and culture of the host society. It is an ethnocentric, one-way process of cultural exchange, in that only the newcomer is expected to adapt, with the implied promise that group acceptance will be the social reward.

- Caleb Rosado

CHANGE: ""Change can be likened to a planned journey, through uncharted waters, in a leaky boat, with a mutinous crew, and the enemy shooting at you."

- Michael Fullan, University of Toronto

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION: Social interaction between cultures resulting in an exchange of meaning through symbols and message systems.

- Caleb Rosado

CULTURE: Culture is the sum total of human creations-material and non-material-that comprise the complex pattern of living that directs human social life, and is handed down through generations by communicative interaction rather than by genetic transmission.

- Caleb Rosado

CULTURE-EXPANDED DEFINITION: "Culture is . . . a habit system in which 'truths' that have been perpetuated by a group over centuries have permeated the unconscious. This basic belief system, from which 'rational' conclusions spring, may be so deeply ingrained that it becomes indistinguishable from human perception-the way one sees, feels, believes, knows. It is the continuity of cultural assumptions and patterns that gives order to one's world, reduces an infinite variety of options to a manageable stream of beliefs, gives a person a firm footing in time and space, and binds the lone individual to the communality of a group."

- Shirley Teper, Cited By Betty Lee Sung, "Bicultural Conflict," in Anthropology 92/93, Annual Editions, 15th edition, Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., 1992.

CULTURAL PLURALISM: The recognition that in a culturally heterogeneous society the various racial/ethnic groups have the right to maintain their cultural identity and expression within the framework of a common economic, political system.

- Caleb Rosado

DISCRIMINATION: Discrimination is the unequal treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of some, usually categorical, attribute, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or social class membership.

- Theodorson and Theodorson, A Modern Dictionary of Sociology, (Barnes & Noble, 1979)

DIVERSITY (1): By "diversity" is meant all the differences that people bring to an organization or group. It has two dimensions: the primary or Horizontal (mainly biological, usually visible-the little memes: age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities), and the secondary or Vertical (psycho-socio-spiritual, usually invisible-the big vMEMEs: values system, worldviews, mindsets, ethics, paradigms, core intelligences). These differences have the potential of giving rise to conflicts, but if managed well can result in a synergetic unity, where the effect of all working together is greater than the sum total of all the parts working independently.

- Caleb Rosado

EMPOWERMENT: The process of enabling people, by means of a self-critical awareness of their own biases and ineptness, in connection with allied support, to be strengthened to achieve and deploy their maximum potential.

- Rosado/Betances definition

ETHNIC GROUP: An Ethnic Group is a group of people with a sense of collective identity-solidarity-who may share a common culture, history, language, religion, or national origin.

- Caleb Rosado

JUSTICE: Genuine justice is not based on fairness! In fact, a preoccupation with justice as fairness lies at the root of most problems in the world today, whether between individuals or nations. At the heart of "justice as fairness" lies equal treatment, which wrongly assumes everyone is the same. But socio-historical circumstances preclude equality. This is why in some track and field events, the starting blocks are staggered, so that everyone will have an equal opportunity.

Genuine justice is based on Need! And since people's needs differ, due to differing socio-historical circumstances, true justice does not spring from what people deserve, but from what they need. Thus at the heart of justice lie Grace-undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor.

- Caleb Rosado

MANAGING DIVERSITY: It is an on-going process that unleashes the various talents and capabilities which a diverse population bring to an organization, community or society, so as to create a wholesome, inclusive environment, that is safe for differences, enables people to reject rejection, celebrates diversity, and maximizes the full potential of all, in a cultural context where everyone benefits.

- Caleb Rosado

MINORITY GROUP: "A Minority Group is any group that is socially defined as different from the dominant group in society, is at a power disadvantage, receives less than its proportionate share of scare resources due to its power disadvantage, and finds its differential treatment justified in terms of socially define differences."

- James Geschwender, Racial Stratification in America, (W. C. Brown, 1978), p. 17.

MULTICULTURALISM: Multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their sociocultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization or society.

- Caleb Rosado

MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: Multicultural Education is an approach to education and curriculum construction that acknowledges and respects the contributions which the various racial/ethnic groups have made to society, and incorporates these contributions in an overall program of instruction which meets the needs of an ever-changing society and is sensitive to the personal and social development of all persons concerned.

- Caleb Rosado

MULTICULTURAL INSTITUTION: What makes an institution-a business, a church, a school-multicultural, is not just the mere presence of an ethnically/racially/gender diverse population, due to legal, moral or social imperatives. All this simply means is that they have gained access to the organization, they've gotten through the front door. If all an organization does, however, is to give access, then people may leave just as quickly out the back door.

Neither is it merely a concern for understanding, respecting, valuing and celebrating the differences among the various groups in an organization. While this may engender an awareness of and a sensitivity to differences, it does not necessarily translate into structural changes.

What makes an institution multicultural is whether or not its "Five P's," its:

Implement Four Imperatives:
Reflect the heterogeneity of the organization,
Are sensitive to the needs of the various groups,
Incorporate their contributions to the overall mission of the organization, and,
Create a cultural and social ambiance that is inclusive and empowers all groups.
In other words, at the heart of what makes an institution multi-cultural lies managing diversity-the proper management of the diversity in an organization for the empowerment of all groups, which includes changing mandates as well as the underlying culture of an organization, especially if this culture is what is impeding change, in order for the organization to more effectively accomplish its mission. This is what makes an institution multicultural.

- Caleb Rosado

OPPRESSION: Oppression is the systematic, routinized, pervasive, institutionalized, day-to-day mistreatment of people based solely on the basis of group membership, which puts some people on the upside and others on the downside of the power structure.

- Allan Creighton, Teens Need Teens (Oakland, CA: Battered Women's Alternatives, 1990).

PERSON OF COLOR: The term Person of Color refers to the non-dominant, non-white status segment of the population, which by virtue of the negative meaning placed on them, have been granted limited access as a group to the societal rewards of wealth, power and prestige, and their value and contribution to society is continually minimized.

- Caleb Rosado

PREJUDICE: Prejudice is an inflexible, rational attitude that, often in a disguised manner, defends privilege, and even after evidence to the contrary will not change, so that the post-judgment is the same as the pre-judgment. The key to understanding prejudice is post-judgment.

- Rosado/Betances definition with ideas adapted from David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993)

RACISM (1): Racism is the outward manifestation of an inward system of values deliberately designed to structure privilege by means of an objective, differential, and unequal treatment of people, for the purpose of social advantage over scarce resources. This values system gives rise to an ideology of supremacy which justifies power of position by placing a negative meaning and value on perceived or actual biological/cultural differences.

- Caleb Rosado, adapted from Samuel Betances

RACISM (2): The oppression of members of a racial group defined as inferior through the exercise of power by individuals and institutions with the intentional or unintentional support of the dominant culture.

Four interlocking sub-themes make up the whole of racism...

(a) Cultural racism involves widely shared beliefs, sentiments, behavioral orientations, and customs which assign negative value and inferior social status to a people and their culture
(b) Institutional racism is the conscious manipulation of the structures of society's institutions so as to systematically discriminate against people of color by their prestructured practices, policies and power arrangements. Merely conforming to the institution's mode of operation frees individuals from personal discrimination, as the institutions now do the discriminating for individuals.
- Adapted from Harold M. Baron, in Louis L. Knowles & Kenneth Prewitt, Institutional Racism In America (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969).
(c) Primary group racism refers to a set of intimate, expressive relationships which accept or reject for membership and inclusion on the basis of race, both consciously and unconsciously; also called racialism when inclusion/exclusion to the group is based on racial characteristics.
(d) Individual racism is an individual's belief in the superiority of one's own group's physical, social, cultural characteristics and the inferiority of those of another particular group(s). Emphasis is on the positive attributes of one's own race, as well as the negative attributes of the other's. One's own group is seen as the standard against which to measure all others. Often exercised by members of the dominant group in acts against others of non-dominant cultures, but may be exercised by non-dominant groups against members of the dominant.
[This section on Racism (2) is from Roger Ruth and Chris Cowan, Managing Diversity: Training Manual for the Tulsa Police Department]

RACISM (3): RACISM=PREJUDICE+DISCRIMINATION+POWER: The intent of this formula is that racism requires prejudice (unfair pre- and post-judgments and simplistic stereotypes), plus actions of a discriminatory nature, plus a destructive imbalance in the power ratios between dominant and minority cultures. Thus, depending on the circumstances, any ethnic group may be the victim or perpetrator of racism.

- Caleb Rosado

RACISM-ELIMINATING IT (1): If racism has nothing to do with biology, but has everything to do with socially structured beliefs and behavior, then it can also be socially unlearned and unstructured. The key factor for success in this process is to work through the primary social institutions that perpetuate such learning and behavior: the family, the school, the church, the workplace, and government. These institutions must undergo a dramatic transformation for racism to be eliminated.

- Caleb Rosado

RACISM-ELIMINATING IT (2): "To live consistently, in the light of Christian brotherly love, in a society which is not organized on the same principle is impossible. The individual in his personal conduct is always compelled-in so far as he does not resort to breaking up the existing social structure-to far short of his own nobler motives."

- Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (Harvest Books, 1936), p. 144.

RACISM-ESSENCE OF: The essence of racism is the refusal to accept the "other" as an equal. To do so, one would have to give up pride of position, social power, and structural privilege. The elimination of racism is not possible without the basic institutional alteration of society, because it is a culturally and structurally sanctioned reality.

- Rosado adapted from David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993)

RACISM-ESSENTIAL FEATURE OF: "Racism extends considerably beyond prejudiced beliefs. The essential feature of racism is not hostility or misperception, but rather the defense of a system from which advantage is derived on the basis of race. The manner in which the defense is articulated-either with hostility or subtlety-is not nearly as important as the fact that it insures the continuation of a privileged relationship. Thus it is necessary to broaden the definition of racism beyond prejudice to include sentiments that in their consequence, if not their intent, support the racial status quo."

- David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993), p. 210-211.


Telescoping Effect of Racism
- James M. Jones, Prejudice and Racism, (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. 1972)

SEXISM: Sexism is the outward manifestation of an inward system of values deliberately designed to structure privilege by means of an objective, differential, and unequal treatment of women, for the purpose of social advantage over scarce resources. This values system gives rise to an ideology of supremacy which justifies power of position by placing a negative meaning and value on perceived or actual biological/cultural differences.

- Caleb Rosado, adapted from Samuel Betances. The definition of sexism is the same as for racism, except that for sexism gender is the excuse for perpetrating evil, while for racism, it is color.

SPIRITUALITY (1): Spirituality is a state of interconnectedness, an intangible reality and animating, integrating life-force that cannot be comprehended by human reason alone but is nonetheless as important as reason, intellect, and emotion in accounting for human behavior; and is the center of our devotion, loyalty and concern, the worship of which constitutes our god-whether that god be our self, sex, race or ethnic group, church, money, ideological beliefs, another person, nature, Allah, Buddha, the Great Spirit or Jesus Christ; and is the object of our ultimate love, human drive, commitment, source of power, and our interconnectedness with the Other-the Divine, the self, the human, the natural, or any combination thereof-resulting in a state of security with a sense of worthful purpose.


There are no atheists, for we are all "spiritual beings." The core question is: Who or what is at the center of our life, our object of worship?

- Caleb Rosado with ideas adapted from Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, The Glory and the Power: The Fundamentalist Challenge to the Modern World (Beacon 1992), and Langdon Gilkey, Shantung Compound (HarperCollins 1966).

STEREOTYPE: A stereotype is a set of repeated (thus stereo) exaggerated and often inaccurate generalizations about a group or category (type) of people that is either favorable or unfavorable, which is often emotionally toned and not susceptible of modification through empirical evidence. These generalizations are maintained because they are a shared belief receiving strong support from one's reference groups.

- Adapted from Theodorson and Theodorson, A Modern Dictionary of Sociology, (Barnes & Noble, 1979)

SUBCULTURE: A subculture is a group that shares in the overall culture of the society but also has its own distinctive values, norms, and lifestyle.

- Caleb Rosado

TRANSCULTURATION: Transculturation is the reciprocal process by which two cultures, upon contact, engage in a system of give and take and adaptation to each other's ways, though often not in an equal manner, resulting in the emergence of a new cultural reality.

- Rosado's adaptation of a concept coined by Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint (1947)

UNITY IN DIVERSITY: The key dynamic in diversity management is to maintain the two dimensions of unity and diversity in balanced tension, without erring to either side. Erring on the side of unity results in uniformity and sameness at the expense of our human uniqueness and distinctiveness. Erring on the side of diversity magnifies differences and separation at the expense of our common, shared humanity. Unity is not synonymous with uniformity, neither is diversity synonymous with separation. The solution to the tension is to respect and value diversity while working for unity, otherwise exclusion is the result. Thus the strength of a nation or organization lies in unity in diversity.

Unity in Diversity

- Caleb Rosado

WHITE GUILT: White Guilt is an uncomfortable feeling which springs from a knowledge of ill-gotten advantage resulting in the inevitable gratitude one feels for being white rather than a person of color in America.

- Adapted from Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990).

WHITE MALEISM: White Maleism is the tendency of minority groups (women and people of color) to blame white males for most of the social evil in the world today, especially as it relates to sexism and racism, and view them as selfish, ruthless, unrepentant and unredeemable, and, as a consequence, refuse to recognize and accept the contribution that many white males have made, continue to make, and desire to make, to remove oppression.

- Definition by Caleb Rosado and Samuel Betances.


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