Glossary of Terms

In alphabetical order


According to McClain (2017), gaslighting is an attempt of one person to overwrite another person’s reality.


Telling a Person of Color that a situation they identified as racist was actually just “misinterpreted” or “misunderstood”.


Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989), intersectionality is a feminist theory that takes into consideration the intersections of identity such as race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, religion, etc.


“Microaffirmations are subtle acknowledgements of a person’s value and accomplishments which create a sense of belonging. Examples include: saying hello to someone in an elevator, making a kind introduction to someone else, listening to someone when they’re in distress, opening a door for someone, and/or just generally paying attention to and acknowledging the small things” She+ Geeks Out (2018)


Dr. Derald Wing Sue (2010) defines microaggressions as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership” (p. 3). 

Structural Racism

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.
Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric.
Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.
Source: Racial Equity Tools

Tone Policing

Tone policing is a tactic used by those who have privilege to silence those who don’t by focusing on the tone of what is being said, rather than the actual content.
Tone policing is both a request that BIPOC share our experiences about racism without sharing any of our (real) emotions about it, and for us to exist in ways that do not make white people feel uncomfortable.
Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad (2018, p. 64)

White Fragility

Dr. Robin DiAngelo (2011) defines white fragility as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium” (p. 54).

“Some of the most oblivious and harmful white people are on equity teams.”
Source: Click here

White Privilege

Dr. Peggy McIntosh (1988) defines white privilege “as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.”

White privilege is the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed upon people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it. An example of privilege might be: ‘I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me’ (Dr. Peggy McIntosh, 1989;

What Is White Privilege, Really?Recognizing white privilege begins with truly understanding the term itself.
Click here

White Supremacy

According to Layla F. Saad (2018), “you may be thinking that white supremacy is a term that is only used to describe far right extremists and Neo Nazis. However, this idea that white supremacy only applies to the so-called “bad ones” is both incorrect and dangerous, because it reinforces the idea that white supremacy is an ideology that is only upheld by a fringe group of white people. White supremacy is far from fringe. In white-dominated societies and communities, it is the dominant paradigm that forms of the foundation from which norms, rules and laws are created” (p. 18).

Source: Click here

“White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.” Challenging White Supremacy Workshop Sharon Martinas (1995)

Women of Color

The political term women of color refers to all individuals who identify their gender as women; do not benefit from white privilege; and are discriminated against on the bases of their race, gender identity, and intersecting identities (Scott, Singh, & Harris, 2017).