Diversity Glossary


1. Prejudice is an unjustified, usually negative attitude directed toward others because of their social category or group memberships. When a subordinate group becomes a problem to the dominant groups within a society, the dominant groups emphasize the ways in which their people differ from those problem people.
2. People who are intolerant of  ambiguity tend to be intolerant of human diversity. Such persons tend to stick to stereotypic first impressions and minimize the impact of new information that might disconfirm those first impressions.
3. If you value freedom, you will have a general tendency to value a  hierarchical or ranking model of society or a tendency toward self-enhancement. If you value equality, your tendency will better fit an  egalitarian or linking view of society or a tendency toward  self-transcendence.

4. A person’s preference for freedom over equality has been found to be connected with prejudiced attitudes toward various other groups in society.A preference for  equality over freedom has been found to be connected with the absence of such prejudiced attitudes toward others.

Because prejudice typically involves inter-group relations – that is how people relate to one another in terms of their social identity – it is important to understand the conditions under which a person’s social identity or personal identity is more likely to appear.

5. People tend to show a strong ethnocentrism or favoritism toward members of their own groups, accompanied at times with derogation of the out-group and, as world events continue to demonstrate, at times with genocidal actions.
6. People tend to see greater variety or heterogeneity among members of their own groups and greater homogeneity among members of the out-groups.
7. Humans have a tendency to explain the same behavior in positive ways when carried out by an in-group member and negatively when carried out by a member of the out-group. This is called the ultimate attribution error.
8. It is difficult to establish or to maintain a positive and healthy image of oneself when brought up and living one’s life in a society that has systematically devalued and denigrated a social group. In America, groups who are denigrated tend to be African American, Latinos, Asians, women, homosexuals, and others. All these groups have been and are still the targets of prejudiced attitudes and actions.  This results in internalized oppression which is based on having to see oneself through disparaging eyes, mirrored by people who have negative views of one’s own people.
9. Assimilation entails trying to join the dominant group’s culture by abandoning one’s home culture. This strategy, however, often results in a kind of racelessness, a victory with negative consequences for the individual.
10. Alternation as a strategy allows an individual to move back and forth between two contrasting and often disparate identities – often, however, resulting in a commitment to neither.
11. Multiculturalism, perhaps the best resolution, while difficult to achieve, involves a mature view of oneself as a member of one’s own group, even while not rejecting the dominant culture’s values.
12. Fusion requires an idealized and not yet idealized merging of the divergent cultural identities in which each yields and so produces an entirely new, fused social identity for all people.
13. Whiteness, Maleness and  Heterosexuality are built on Blackness, Femaleness and  Homosexuality. The advantages of the former are thereby created and maintained by the prejudice and discrimination that are directed toward the latter.
14. Prejudiced attitudes and actions deprive a society of the full use of its valuable human resources, limiting the society’s opportunities for growth and advancement.
15. Prejudiced attitudes and actions undermine both the legitimacy of the social order and its moral persuasiveness – its ability to motivate people’s willing acceptance to do what is needed in order to maintain their society without requiring the use of force or coercion.
16. Power is intimately involved in both creating and sustaining prejudice, and thereby dealing with power must be part of any challenge to prejudice.
17. External power focuses on resources that people have by which they can control others’ behaviors.
18. Internal power involves the creation of the very meanings by which people come to know who they are.

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