“Bias” is prejudice in favor of or against a person or group relative to another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.


“Demographic group” generally refers to any group of people who share similar characteristics, such as, racial or ethnic identification, socioeconomic status, gender identification, physical or learning disabilities, or language abilities.

“Disaggregated data” are results obtained from examining system-wide data through the lens of demographic groups to uncover patterns and trends that may be true for some student groups, but not all students in the system. 

“Discrimination” refers to the unequal treatment of a person or group based on a protected characteristic such as race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or religion.

“Diversity” means variety in race, ethnicity or beliefs.

“Ethnicity” is 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 geography. 

“Implicit Bias” is a bias of which people usually are unaware or which operates at the subconscious level. Implicit bias is usually expressed indirectly. 

“Institutional Racism” means social policies, practices, procedures, and/or discourse that benefit people who are white at the exclusion of people of color, often unintentionally.

“Opportunity Gap” is the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational resources and opportunities on the basis of race and/or ethnicity; resources may include staffing, academic supports, social and emotional supports, high-quality curriculum, and other programs. This gap can contribute to or intensify lower educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment for members of affected groups. 

“Prejudice” is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

“Race” is an applied categorization based on a historic socially, economically and politically constructed set of beliefs, practices and behaviors that provide unfair advantages, power, social and political status to one group of people (whites) based on their assigned and constructed racial identity. In the United States, race signifies and symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies based on the lightness or darkness of an individual’s skin pigment. 

“Racial Equity” means the systematic fair treatment of people of all races and ethnicities that allows equitable outcomes. Once racial and ethnic inequities are eliminated, race and ethnicity are not a factor in outcomes. When there is racial inequity, race and ethnicity are a negative factor in outcomes.

“Racism” is a socially and politically constructed behavior which derives from the dominant culture’s ideology of race. Racism takes place in individual behavior, institutional practices, institutional structures, cultural beliefs and social discourse that unfairly advantages whites and disadvantages people of color. Racism simultaneously and unfairly denies power, cultural respect, social status, human rights, dignity, and access to basic human needs to people of color (non-whites) including Black (wide variety of ethnic people part of the African diaspora), Latinx, American Indian, and Asian-American people. 

“Structural Racism” means a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. The term identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.

SAY Connects is sponsored by the Good Heart Work Smart Foundation in partnership with Success for All Youth (SAY). 

Join the discussion on social media!

One reply on “A glossary of terms”