Eastern Michigan University logo

Definitions You Should Know



Acculturation: Process of learning the belief and behaviors of a dominant culture and assuming some of the characteristics by force or voluntarily.



Ally: A person who actively works to eliminate oppression for all people.



Culture:  Values, beliefs, ideas, customs and characteristics passed from one generation to the next. 



Cultural Assimilation: Inaccurate or disingenuous absorption  of a culturally distinct group into a dominant or prevailing culture.



Ethnicity: People assigned into social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership traditions, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical location.



Ethnocentric: Belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group.



Islamophobia:   The fear or hatred of Islam and it adherents that translate into individual, ideological and systemic forms of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression of Muslims and those thought to be Muslims.



Oppression: A system that maintains advantages and disadvantages based on social group memberships and operates, intentionally and unintentionally, on individual, institutional, and cultural levels.



Prejudice: Strong feeling or belief about a person or subject that is formed without reviewing facts or information.



Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance, ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation or history, ethnic classification, and/or the social, economic, and political needs of a society at a given period of time.



Racism A system of advantages based on race and supported by institutional structures, polices and practices that create and sustain advantages for the dominant white racial identified groups, while systematically subordinating members of targeted, underserved, and/or underprivileged racial groups. 



Racial and Ethnic Identity:  An individual's awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group.



Religious Oppression:  The systematic subordination of minority/underrepresented religions in the United States by the dominant Christian majority.



Stereotyping: Internal and external situational or thought process that assumes that everyone in a particular group are the same.



White Privilege:  The concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of society that Whites receive, tacitly or explicitly, by virtue of their position in a racist society.


The Center of Race & Ethnicity is part of Diversity & Community Involvement