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Terms to Get Started

A common language can help us avoid confusion and misunderstanding, especially if our different experiences cause us to interpret terms differently. Just talking about terms can start conversations or get people to share their ideas –an important step in creating welcoming and inclusive communities.*

“Diversity"

Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. Celebrating diversity means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing and relating to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own to understand how each person contributes to the good of the community.


“Inclusion”

Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming community embraces human differences, sees them as strengths, and offers respect in both words and actions for all people.


“Mainstream”

The center or in-group. The mainstream sets the tone for a group or organization or society, its own preferences become the norms for the group, and it provides most of the leadership for carrying out the mission of the group. The mainstream may or may not be conscious of its role and higher status.


"Marginalized"

Excluded, ignored, or relegated to the outer edge of a group/society/community. People are often marginalized in societies or communities due to the effects of structural inequality (see below). A person may be marginalized based on gender, skin colour, income level, education, age, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, immigration status, language, occupation, heritage or other factors.


"Structural Inequality"

Occurs when the fabric of organizations, institutions, governments or social networks contain an embedded bias which provides advantages for some members and marginalizes or produces disadvantages for other members. This can involve property rights, status, or unequal access to health care, housing, education and other physical or financial resources or opportunities.


*For more terms please refer to the AUMA Welcoming & Inclusive Communities WIC Glossary of Terms


Last edited: July 11, 2019

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