Definitions for Training in Diversity
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By Caleb Rosado, Ph.D.
for Change in Human Systems, 1997

May 17, 1992
Revised November 8, 1994

ADULTISM: The abuse of the power imbalance which adults have over children and youth.

–Adapted from Paul Kivel, in Allan Creighton, Teens Need Teens (Oakland, CA: Battered Women’s Alternatives, 1990), p. 33.


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Affirmative Action refers to social policies encouraging favorable treatment of socially disadvantaged minority groups, especially in employment, education, and housing, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, in order to reverse historical trends of discrimination and to create equality of opportunity.

-Adapted from The Harper Collins Dictionary: Sociology, (1991).


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (2): "Affirmative action is any measure, policy or law used to increase diversity or rectify discrimination so that qualified individuals have equal access to employment, education, business, and contracting opportunities."

–Anamaria Loya, Attorney, MALDEF


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (3): "Affirmative action is not about counting heads, it is about making heads count."

– Abdín Noboa


AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, THE LAW: Affirmative Action took on power when, with the passage of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established to enforce, along with the Department of Justice, the anti-discrimination rules set forth by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Executive Order 11246, under Title VII, requires federal contractors to "take affirmative action to insure that applicants and employees are employed without regard to 'race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.'"

-Adapted from Models for Affirmative Action (National Civil Service League), 1973, and Derrick Bell, Race, Racism and American Law, 3rd Ed. (Little, Brown, and Co. 1992).


AGEISM: Ageism is the process by which people are discriminated against simply by virtue of age-usually the very young and the very old-thereby limiting their value, access to social rewards and contribution to society.


ALLY: An ally is a person from a non-target group who, when in a situation where something oppressive is happening, will interrupt the oppressive actions, and give support to the person in the target group.

-Allan Creighton, Teens Need Teens.
(Oakland, CA: Battered Women's Alternatives, 1990).


AMERICAN: An "American" is any person that is a citizen of this country either by birth or naturalization, no matter their skin color, physical features, cultural expression or national origin.


AMERICAN-TWO WAYS OF BECOMING ONE: "There have always been 'two ways' of adaptation for minority groups in the United States. One way was designed for the ethnic or 'cultural' minorities, the immigrants of different nationalities. The other way was for the 'racial' minorities. For the former-the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Jews, etc.-all they simply had to do to assimilate and be accepted was to change their ethnic identification, discard their culture. Once their cultural identity subsided under the American cultural identity, which essentially was English, the door to the 'silent' or socially invisible world of the majority was open; because they were 'white.'

"For the second type of minority group, identified on the basis of 'racial' stigma, the issue was more complex, it was biological, and as a result the shedding of culture made no difference in their acceptance. They were never seen, nor have been seen as 'genuine' Americans, only as hyphenated Americans: Native-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. The implication is that they are not quite yet Americans, nor can they ever be because of phenotypical differences."

-Eduardo Seda Bonilla, "Ethnic Studies and Cultural Pluralism."
The Rican, Fall 1971, No. 1.


ASSIMILATION: Assimilation-from the Latin, assimilare, to make similar-is the process whereby newcomers to society are encouraged to give up their cultural way of life and accommodate as quickly as possible to values and culture of the host society. It is an ethnocentric, one-way process of cultural exchange, in that only the newcomer is expected to adapt, with the implied promise that group acceptance will be the social reward.


ATTACHMENTS: Attachments are the social bonds that give people security, dignity and self-worth.


BASHISM: Bashism is the tendency to verbally and/or physically attack another person or group based solely on the negative meaning given to group membership-due to biological, cultural, political, physical or socioeconomic differences (such as gender, age, race/ethnicity, political party, disabilities, class, education, values, religious affiliation or sexual orientation)-without regard for the individual. The motivating factor for bashism is fear, arising out of ignorance of the other.


BLAMING THE VICTIM: It is an ideological process that justifies inequality by finding defects in the victims of inequality. The logical outcome of analyzing social problems in terms of the deficiencies of the victim is a simple formula for action: Change the victim!

-William Ryan, Blaming the Victim (Vintage 1976).


CHANGE: ""Change can be likened to a planned journey, through uncharted waters, in a leaky boat, with a mutinous crew, and the enemy shooting at you."

-Michael Fullan, University of Toronto


CHANGE-OPTIONAL: "Change is mandatory, growth is optional."

-Michael Fullan, University of Toronto


CHANGE-LIVE IT: "We must live the change we desire to see in the world."

-Mahatma Gandhi



  1. The introduction of diversity modules and units into an existing curriculum or structure. [Old Paradigm left intact]
  2. The addition of diversity as a total dimension of existing structures and processes. [Old Paradigm-New Attitudes]
  3. The reconceptualization of the total culture/structure of an organization according to the modus operandi of diversity. [New Paradigm of Inclusion]


-Adapted by Caleb Rosado from Hedley Beare and Richard Slaughter, Education for the Twenty-First Century (Routledge 1993).



The Normative Model of Change

(Based on the idea that beliefs change behavior)

1. Knowledge–provides people with all the necessary information.

2. Attitudes–knowledge will result in attitudinal change.

3. Individual Behavior–attitudinal change results in individual behavioral change.

  1. Group Behavior–individual change results in group change.

This model seldom works because change at one level is no guarantee of change at all other levels.


The Transformative Model of Change

(Based on the idea that behavior changes beliefs)

1. Change Behavior.

2. Change Beliefs.


COMPASSION: Compassion-meaning to suffer with-is the ability to suffer with another being with loving, caring concern, in an endeavor to alleviate suffering.


1. In Sympathy there is sorrow for the Other in need.

2. In Empathy there is not only sorrow, but also an identification with the Other in need.

3. In Compassion there is not only sorrow and identification with the Other in need, but also an involvement in reciprocal action to meet the need.


CONSCIENTIZATION: "Conscientization refers to the process by which people, not as passive recipients, but as active, knowing subjects, achieve a deepening critical awareness both of the socio-cultural reality which shapes their lives and of their capacity to transform that reality."

-Paulo Freire, "Cultural Action and Conscientization," Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 1970.


CRISIS MANAGEMENT: A style of management that takes a reactive posture toward unexpected change, by using short-term interventions in order to return operations to normal-the way they were before the crisis.


CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION: Social interaction between cultures resulting in an exchange of meaning through symbols and message systems.


CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION-THE PROBLEM OF "TALKING PAST ONE ANOTHER": "Two persons, carrying on a discussion in the same universe of discourse-corresponding to the same historical-social conditions-can and must do so quite differently from two persons identified with different social positions. These two types of discussion, i.e., between socially and intellectually heterogeneous participants, are to be clearly distinguished.

"Ours is a world in which social groupings, which had hitherto lived more or less isolated from one another, each making itself and its own world of thought absolute, are now, in one form or another, merging into one another. Not only Orient and Occident, not only the various nations of the west, but also the various social strata of these nations, which previously had been more or less self-contained, and, finally, the different occupational groups within these strata and the intellectual groups in this most highly differentiated world-all these are now thrown out of the self-sufficient, complacent state of taking themselves for granted, and are forced to maintain themselves and their ideas in the face of the onslaught of these heterogeneous groups.

"How do they carry on this struggle? They usually do so with but few exceptions by 'talking past one another'; i.e., although they are more or less aware that the person with whom they are discussing the matter represents another group, and that it is likely that his/her mental structure as a whole is often quite different when a concrete thing is being discussed, they speak as if their differences were confined to the specific question at issue around which their present disagreement crystallized. They overlook the fact that their antagonist differs from them in his/her whole outlook, and not merely in the opinion about the point under discussion.

"This indicates that there are types of intellectual intercourse between heterogeneous persons. The differences in the total mental structure remain obscurely in the background in so far as the contact between the participants is concerned. Consciousness for both is crystallized about the concrete issue. For each of the participants the 'object' has a more or less different meaning because it grows out of the whole of their perspective frames of reference, as a result of which the meaning of the object in the perspective of the other person remains, at least in part, obscure. Hence 'talking past one another' is an inevitable phenomenon of the 'age of equalization'."

-Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia


CULTURE: Culture consists of all the shared modes of thought, behavior, and production-ideas, norms and materials-of a particular human society that are handed down from one generation to the next by means of communicative interaction rather than by genetic transmission.

-William Kornblum, Sociology in a Changing Society
(Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1994)


CULTURE: Culture is the sum total of human creations–material and non-material–that comprise the complex pattern of living that directs human social life, and is handed down through generations by communicative interaction rather than by genetic transmission.

–Caleb Rosado


CULTURE-EXPANDED DEFINITION: "Culture is . . . a habit system in which 'truths' that have been perpetuated by a group over centuries have permeated the unconscious. This basic belief system, from which 'rational' conclusions spring, may be so deeply ingrained that it becomes indistinguishable from human perception-the way one sees, feels, believes, knows. It is the continuity of cultural assumptions and patterns that gives order to one's world, reduces an infinite variety of options to a manageable stream of beliefs, gives a person a firm footing in time and space, and binds the lone individual to the communality of a group."

-Shirley Teper, Cited By Betty Lee Sung, "Bicultural Conflict," in Anthropology 92/93, Annual Editions, 15th edition, Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., 1992.


CULTURE SHOCK: The psychic stress brought on by the strain of adjusting to a different culture or social environment, which may be a result of separation from the familiar, the inability to speak the language or under-stand the meaning of acts, words or gestures, giving rise to feelings of isolation and vulnerability.

–Caleb Rosado

CULTURAL PLURALISM: Cultural Pluralism is the recognition that in a culturally heterogeneous society the various racial/ethnic groups have the right to maintain their cultural identity and expression within the framework of a common economic, political system.

-Caleb Rosado

CULTURAL RELATIVISM-DEFINITION: "The idea that each culture or ethnic group is to be evaluated on the basis of its own values and norms of behavior and not on the basis of those of another culture or ethnic group."

-Melville J. Herskovits, Cultural Relativism (Vintage, 1973)


CULTURAL RELATIVISM-BASIC PRINCIPLE: "Judgments are based on experience, and experience is interpreted by each individual in terms of his/her own enculturation."

-Melville J. Herskovits, Cultural Relativism (Vintage, 1973), p. 15.


CULTURE SHOCK: The psychic stress brought on by the strain of adjusting to a different culture or social environment, which may be a result of separation from the familiar, the inability to speak the language or understand the meaning of acts, words or gestures, giving rise to feelings of isolation and vulnerability.

CULTURAL TRAP: The inability of a culture to adapt to changing world conditions.

–Paul Bohannan, How Culture Works (1995)


"If a situation is defined as real, it is real in its consequences."

Example: The "congestion" in an elevator or subway is called "intimacy" in a nightclub.

-William Isaac Thomas and Dorothy Swaine Thomas,The Child in America (Knopf, 1928).


DISCRIMINATION: Discrimination is the unequal treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of some, usually categorical, attribute, such as race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, or social class membership.

-Theodorson and Theodorson, A Modern Dictionary of Sociology, (Barnes & Noble, 1979)

DIVERSITY (1):. By "diversity" is meant all the differences that people bring to an organization or group. It has two dimensions: the primary or Horizontal (mainly biological, usually visible—the little memes: age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities), and the secondary or Vertical (psycho-socio-spiritual, usually invisible—the big vMEMEs: values system, worldviews, mindsets, ethics, paradigms, core intelligences). These differences have the potential of giving rise to conflicts, but if managed well can result in a synergetic unity, where the effect of all working together is greater than the sum total of all the parts working independently.

–Caleb Rosado

DIVERSITY (2): Diversity-a safeguard against idolatry.

-Adapted from Brian Wren


DIVERSITY-BASIC POINT: The basic point in managing diversity is this: If when all is said and done, you look around and notice that everyone looks like you, you have done it wrong!

-Samuel Betances


DIVERSITY BREEDS CONFLICT: "The greater the structural or cultural diversity of those who unite in a coalition, the more their interests other than in the immediate purpose are likely to be divergent if not antagonistic." What is the solution to this problem? "Such a coalition, if it is not to fall apart, must attempt to keep close to the purposes for which it was formed."

-Lewis Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict, (Free Press, 1956), p. 144


EMPOWERMENT: The process of enabling people to be self-critical of their own biases so as to strengthen themselves and others to achieve and deploy their maximum potential.

-Rosado/Betances definition


ETHNIC GROUP: An Ethnic Group is a group of people with a sense of collective identity-solidarity-who may share a common culture, history, language, religion, or national origin.

ETHNICITY: Ethnicity is affiliation or identification with an ethnic group.


Positive: "Ethnocentrism is the point of view that one's own way of life is to be preferred to all others."

-Melville J. Herskovits, Cultural Relativism (Vintage, 1973), p. 21


Negative: "The view that one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it."

-William Graham Sumner, Folkways (New American Library, 1906), p. 27.

Extreme: "When a more powerful group not only imposes its rule on another, but actively depreciates the things they hold to be of value."

-Melville J. Herskovits, Cultural Relativism (Vintage, 1973)


FORESIGHT MANAGEMENT: A proactive style of management that anticipates change by critically analyzing trends, on the assumption that nothing is constant, by putting into operation processes that turn potential problems into challenging opportunities.


GROUPTHINK: "Groupthink is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action. It is a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures."

-Irving L. Janis, Victims of Groupthink (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1972), p. 9.


GUILT AND SHAME: Guilt and Shame are often confused. Guilt is the feeling of having done something wrong; it involves doing, and has to do with our actions. Shame, on the other hand, is an experience of being bad, wrong, disgusting, failing to live up to one's inner or society's ideals. It has to do with our sense of self, and assaults our self-esteem. In terms of racism, Whites try to avoid guilt, while People of Color try to avoid shame, especially "class" shame.

-Adapted from Utne Reader, July/August 1992.


HETEROSEXISM: Heterosexism is an ideology of sexual preference that believes that heterosexual contact is the only socially and divinely acceptable form of sexual behavior, and that those who practice otherwise should not have the same social and civil rights.

HIERARCHY OF CREDIBILITY: It is the notion that in any system of ranked groups, people routinely assign greater credibility to the information received from those who run the organization than they do to the information received from participants lower in the hierarchy.

-Howard S. Becker, "Whose Side Are We On? Social Forces, Vol. 14 (Winter 1967)


IDEOLOGY: Ideology is a system of ideas and beliefs about the universe, to which a people adhere in order to justify their attitudes and actions.

INEQUALITY-NO GREATER: "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, [Supreme Court Justice, 1841-1935]


JIHAD VS. MCWORLD: The two axial principles of our age-tribalism and globalism-threaten the survival of our planet. Jihad represents narrowly conceived faiths against every kind of inter-dependence. McWorld represents the onrush of economic, ecological, technological forces that demand integration and uniformity.

Jihad=A heterogeneous, centrifugal force.

McWorld=A homogeneous, centripetal force.

-Source: Benjamin R. Barber, "Jihad Vs. McWorld," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1992.


JUSTICE: Genuine justice is not based on fairness! In fact, a preoccupation with justice as fairness lies at the root of most problems in the world today, whether between individuals or nations. At the heart of "justice as fairness" lies equal treatment, which wrongly assumes everyone is the same. But socio-historical circumstances preclude equality. This is why in some track and field events, the starting blocks are staggered, so that everyone will have an equal opportunity.

Genuine justice is based on Need! And since people's needs differ, due to differing socio-historical circumstances, true justice does not spring from what people deserve, but from what they need. Thus at the heart of justice lies Grace-undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor.

JUSTICE-PRINCIPLE OF REDRESS: The principle that undeserved inequalities call for redress [rectification]. Since inequalities of birth and natural endowment are undeserved, these inequalities are to be somehow compensated for. Thus in order to treat all persons equally and provide genuine equality of opportunity, society must give more attention to those with fewer native assets and to those born into the less favorable social positions. This is a particularistic and not a universal action, in that it is an attempt to place particular groups in the position that they would have held had there been no barriers in the path to success.

-Adapted from John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Belknap Press, Harvard University, 1971, p. 100; and Charles V. Willie, "Universal Programs Are Unfair to Minority Groups," The Chronicle of Higher Education, (December 4, 1991.)


MACHISMO: An exaggerated orientation towards life where males see their role in society as being one of: Protector, Provider, Predator.

MANAGING DIVERSITY: It is an on-going process that unleashes the various talents and capabilities which a diverse population bring to an organization, community or society, so as to create a wholesome, inclusive environment, that is safe for differences, enables people to reject rejection, celebrates diversity, and maximizes the full potential of all, in a cultural context where everyone benefits.

MANAGING DIVERSITY-BASIC POINT: The basic point in managing diversity is this: If when all is said and done, you look around and notice that everyone looks like you, you have done it wrong!

-Samuel Betances.


MEMES (rhymes with ‘themes’): Coined by English biologist Richard Dawkins, memes are to culture what genes are to biology. Memes are "viruses of the mind," units of cultural information–ideas, beliefs, values–that spread from brain-to-brain, self-replicating through thought-contagion by word-of-mouth, media, technology, CNN, cyberspace, human action, and use the human mind as a host. They attach themselves to individuals, organizations, entire cultures, and societies. Just as genes carry the informational codes for our biological DNA, so also memes supply the informational codes that determine our "cultural DNA," shaping human belief and behavior.

–Caleb Rosado

MINORITY GROUP: "A Minority Group is any group that is socially defined as different from the dominant group in society, is at a power disadvantage, receives less than its proportionate share of scare resources due to its power disadvantage, and finds its differential treatment justified in terms of socially define differences."

-James Geschwender, Racial Stratification in America, (W. C. Brown, 1978), p. 17.


MISSION STATEMENT: Answers the Why Question. Addresses the reason(s) why an organization exists in view of direction taken and needs of target population.

MULTICULTURALISM: Multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their sociocultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization or society.


MULTICULTURALISM-BASIC ISSUE IN: What is at issue in multiculturalism is not just sensitivity to other cultures and racial/ethnic groups that are marginal to the dominant culture, but an entire paradigm shift-a different mindset-which gives rise to a whole new way of seeing the world, as inclusive; and brings a change in institutional and societal structures, so as to create an environment (local, national and global) which is inclusive of all groups, is safe for differences and where everyone benefits.

MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: Multicultural Education is an approach to education and curriculum construction that acknowledges and respects the contributions which the various racial/ethnic groups have made to society, and incorporates these contributions in an overall program of instruction which meets the needs of an ever-changing society and is sensitive to the personal and social development of all persons concerned.


MULTICULTURAL INSTITUTION: What makes an institution-a business, a church, a school-multicultural, is not just the mere presence of an ethnically/racially/gender diverse population, due to legal, moral or social imperatives. All this simply means is that they have gained access to the organization, they've gotten through the front door. If all an organization does, however, is to give access, then people may leave just as quickly out the back door.

Neither is it merely a concern for understanding, respecting, valuing and celebrating the differences among the various groups in an organization. While this may engender an awareness of and a sensitivity to differences, it does not necessarily translate into structural changes.

What makes an institution multicultural is whether or not its "Six P's," its:


Implement Four Imperatives:

  1. reflect the heterogeneity of the organization,
  2. are sensitive to the needs of the various groups,
  3. incorporate their contributions to the overall mission of the organization, and,
  4. create a cultural and social ambiance that is inclusive and empowers all groups.

In other words, at the heart of what makes an institution multi-cultural lies managing diversity-the proper management of the diversity in an organization for the empowerment of all groups, which includes changing mandates as well as the underlying culture of an organization, especially if this culture is what is impeding change, in order for the organization to more effectively accomplish its mission. This is what makes an institution multicultural.


MULTICULTURAL MINISTRY–Multicultural Ministry is the development and implementation of multiple models of communicating the Gospel which are sensitive to the socio-cultural-spiritual needs of people at different levels of existence within a church's field of service, so as to create a community which celebrates unity in diversity in Christ. This is done through beliefs and behaviors that understand, respect, and value the diversity of thinking and cultural expression emanating from people’s respective Value Systems, while making the claims of Christ relevant to their needs. The key to successful multicultural ministry lies in understanding the diversity of Value Systems operant in the church and in the community where it ministers, and communicating the Gospel at those levels.

–Caleb Rosado

OPPRESSION: Oppression is the systematic, routinized, pervasive, institutionalized, day-to-day mistreatment of people based solely on the basis of group membership, which puts some people on the upside and others on the downside of the power structure.

-Allan Creighton, Teens Need Teens (Oakland, CA:Battered Women's Alternatives, 1990).

OPPRESSION-INTERNALIZED: Internalized Oppression is the process whereby people, who have been taught to see themselves as less valuable than they were meant to be, internalize these negative images and values, and then act them out in their beliefs and behaviors.


PERSON OF COLOR: The term Person of Color refers to the non-dominant, non-white status segment of the population, which by virtue of the negative meaning placed on them, have been granted limited access as a group to the societal rewards of wealth, power and prestige, and their value and contribution to society is continually minimized.

POWER (1): Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others even against their wishes.

-Max Weber's classic definition, Economy and Society (1968)


POWER (2): "Power is the ability to mobilize and use violence, wealth and knowledge [muscle, money and mind] or their many derivatives, to motivate others in ways we think will gratify our needs and desires."

-Alvin Toffler, Power Shift., (1990), p. 12ff


POWER (3): Power-in its essence-is, the capacity to act.

There are two forms of power:

Power as Coercion: The capacity to act in a manner that influences the behavior of others even against their wishes.

Power as Choice: The capacity to act in a manner that influences the behavior of others without violating free moral choice.

True Power: The capacity to know that you can, but you don’t.

–Caleb Rosado


PREJUDICE: Prejudice is an inflexible, rational attitude that, often in a disguised manner, defends privilege, and even after evidence to the contrary will not change, so that the post-judgment is the same as the pre-judgment.

-Rosado/Betances definition with ideas adapted from David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993)


PREJUDICE-LEVELS OF: Prejudice operates on three levels:

Cognitive Level- What people believe about others-stereotypes.

Emotional Level- The feelings that the "other" arouses in an individual.

Behavioral Level- The tendency to engage in discriminatory behavior.

-Adapted from Bernard Kramer, "Dimensions of Prejudice," Journal of Psychology, (April 1949)


PREJUDICED MIND: "No matter how skillfully we may argue, we cannot win when the Other is asked to decide against his self interest" [read: ‘values system’].

–Gerry Spence, How to Argue and Win Every Time (St. Martin’s Press, 1995)

["A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still"–Adage]

RACE-HOLDING: Race-holding is the use of a person's or a group's race as a way of explaining one's non-achievement, by exaggerating one's experience of victimization in order to justify the fear of individual responsibility, thereby avoiding shame. This is similar to the ad hominem argument, where one appeals to one's prejudices rather than to reason, thus attacking the messenger instead of the message.

-Adapted from Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character, (St. Martin's Press, 1990).


RACISM (1): Racism is the outward manifestation of an inward system of values deliberately designed to structure privilege by means of an objective, differential, and unequal treatment of people, for the purpose of social advantage over scarce resources. This values system gives rise to an ideology of supremacy which justifies power of position by placing a negative meaning and value on perceived or actual biological/cultural differences.

–Caleb Rosado, adapted from Samuel Betances


RACISM (2): The oppression of members of a racial group defined as inferior through the exercise of power by individuals and institutions with the intentional or unintentional support of the dominant culture.

Four interlocking sub-themes make up the whole of racism...

(a) Cultural racism involves widely shared beliefs, sentiments, behavioral orientations, and customs which assign negative value and inferior social status to a people and their culture

(b) Institutional racism is the conscious manipulation of the structures of society's institutions so as to systematically discriminate against people of color by their prestructured practices, policies and power arrangements. Merely conforming to the institution’s mode of operation frees individuals from personal discrimination, as the institutions now do the discriminating for individuals.
–Adapted from Harold M. Baron, in Louis L. Knowles & Kenneth Prewitt, Institutional Racism In America (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969).

(c) Primary group racism refers to a set of intimate, expressive relationships which accept or reject for membership and inclusion on the basis of race, both consciously and unconsciously; also called racialism when inclusion/exclusion to the group is based on racial characteristics.

(d) Individual racism is an individual’s belief in the superiority of one’s own group’s physical, social, cultural characteristics and the inferiority of those of another particular group(s). Emphasis is on the positive attributes of one’s own race, as well as the negative attributes of the other’s. One’s own group is seen as the standard against which to measure all others. Often exercised by members of the dominant group in acts against others of non-dominant cultures, but may be exercised by non-dominant groups against members of the dominant.
[This section on Racism (2) is from Roger Ruth and Chris Cowan, Managing Diversity: Training Manual for the Tulsa Police Department]

The intent of this formula is that racism requires prejudice (unfair pre- and post-judgments and simplistic stereotypes), plus actions of a discriminatory nature, plus a destructive imbalance in the power ratios between dominant and minority cultures. Thus, depending on the circumstances, any ethnic group may be the victim or perpetrator of racism.

–Caleb Rosado


RACISM-CULTURAL: Cultural Racism is the individual and institutional expression of the superiority of one race's cultural heritage over that of another race.

-James M. Jones, Prejudice and Racism, (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. 1972)


RACISM-ELIMINATING IT (1): If racism has nothing to do with biology, but has everything to do with socially structured beliefs and behavior, then it can also be socially unlearned and unstructured. The key factor for success in this process is to work through the primary social institutions that perpetuate such learning and behavior: the family, the school, the church, the workplace, and government. These institutions must undergo a dramatic transformation for racism to be eliminated.

RACISM-ELIMINATING IT (2): "To live consistently, in the light of Christian brotherly love, in a society which is not organized on the same principle is impossible. The individual in his personal conduct is always compelled-in so far as he does not resort to breaking up the existing social structure-to far short of his own nobler motives."

-Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (Harvest Books, 1936), p. 144.


RACISM-ESSENCE OF: The essence of racism is the refusal to accept the "other" as an equal. To do so, one would have to give up pride of position, social power, and structural privilege. The elimination of racism is not possible without the basic institutional alteration of society, because it is a culturally and structurally sanctioned reality.

-Rosado adapted from David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993)


RACISM-ESSENTIAL FEATURE OF: "Racism extends considerably beyond prejudiced beliefs. The essential feature of racism is not hostility or misperception, but rather the defense of a system from which advantage is derived on the basis of race. The manner in which the defense is articulated-either with hostility or subtlety-is not nearly as important as the fact that it insures the continuation of a privileged relationship. Thus it is necessary to broaden the definition of racism beyond prejudice to include sentiments that in their consequence, if not their intent, support the racial status quo."

-David T. Wellman, Portraits of White Racism (Cambridge, 1993), p. 210-211.


RACISM-INDIVIDUAL: Individual Racism is a belief in the superiority of one's own race over another, and the behavioral enactments that maintain these superior and inferior positions.

-James M. Jones, Prejudice and Racism, (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. 1972)


RACISM-INSTITUTIONAL: Institutional Racism is the conscious manipulation of the structures of society's institutions so as to systematically discriminate against people of color by their prestructured practices, policies and power arrangements. Merely conforming to the institution's mode of operation frees individuals from personal discrimination, as the institutions now do the discriminating for individuals.

-Adapted from Harold M. Baron, "The Web of Urban Racism," in Louis I. Knowles & Kenneth Prewitt, Institutional Racism in America (Prentice-Hall, 1969), p. 142.



-James M. Jones, Prejudice and Racism, (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. 1972)


RACISTS–WE ARE ALL RACISTS AND SEXISTS: Since racism and sexism are so tightly interwoven into the very structural pattern–woof and warp–of the social fabric of our society, to the extent that we accept this society as a given, we are all racists and sexists, and none is exempt. The question then becomes one of "degrees" (see graphic below). How much racism and sexism are we willing to tolerate in our own lives and in others, and how willing are we to alter this pattern and recreate a new one?

RESPECT: Respect is the process whereby the "other" is treated with deference, courtesy and compassion in an endeavor to safeguard the integrity, dignity, value and social worth of the individual. It means treating people the way they want to be treated.

RIOT: "A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard. It is the desperate, suicidal cry of one who is so fed up with the powerlessness of his cave existence that he asserts that he would rather be dead than ignored."

"As long as people are ignored, as long as they are voiceless, as long as they are trampled by the iron feet of exploitation, there is the danger that they, like little children, will have their emotional outbursts which will break out in violence in the streets."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (Beacon Press, 1967, pp. 112,113).


SABBATH PRINCIPLE: The institution exists to serve the needs of individuals and not individuals the needs of the institution.

[Based on Jesus' statement in Mark 2:27, "The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath."]

SEXISM: Sexism is the outward manifestation of an inward system of values deliberately designed to structure privilege by means of an objective, differential, and unequal treatment of women, for the purpose of social advantage over scarce resources. This values system gives rise to an ideology of supremacy which justifies power of position by placing a negative meaning and value on perceived or actual biological/cultural differences.

–Caleb Rosado, adapted from Samuel Betances. The definition of sexism is the same as for racism, except that for sexism gender is the excuse for perpetrating evil, while for racism, it is color.


SEXISM IS SYSTEMIC: Sexism is the system of attitudes, assumptions, behaviors, actions, and institutions which makes women vulnerable to violence and subject to discrimination, poverty, unequal opportunity, and disrespect, and which gives men more economic, social and political power than women.

-Allan Creighton, Teens Need Teens (Oakland, CA:Battered Women's Alternatives, 1990), p. 21.


SOCIAL DISTANCE: A movement away from another person or group that may include all or part of the following forms of separation: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or social, which momentarily or permanently sever a relationship of closeness.

SPIRAL DYNAMICS: Spiral Dynamics is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework for understanding human development and human systems. It unveils the hidden codes and dynamic, spiral forces that shape human nature, create global diversities, and drive social change. Developed by Don E. Beck and Christopher C. Cowan of the National Values Center, Inc. in Texas, from two converging streams of thought—primarily, Clare W. Graves' Value Systems theory of ‘levels of human existence’ and, secondarily, biologist Richard Dawkins' concept of ‘memes’—Spiral Dynamics explores the new science of memetics, the study of ideas and their transmission. Spiral Dynamics shifts the focus from the WHAT of human behavior, the surface issues, ideas, beliefs, actions, and artifacts—the memes—that fragment or unify human groups, to the WHY and HOW of such behavior—the vMEMES—the core Value Systems awakened by changing life conditions and manifested as a dynamic spiral of levels of human existence. Thus, ‘Spiral Dynamics.’

SPIRAL LEADER: A Spiral Leader is a person who is able to see the whole spiral of human differences and development within an organization and in society, and knows how to communicate effectively with people by speaking their "psychological languages" reflective of the Value Systems at their respective levels of existence, while keeping the well-being of the whole–the organization–in mind.

–Caleb Rosado

SPIRITUALITY (1): Spirituality is a state of interconnectedness, an intangible reality and animating, integrating life-force that cannot be comprehended by human reason alone but is nonetheless as important as reason, intellect, and emotion in accounting for human behavior; and is the center of our devotion, loyalty and concern, the worship of which constitutes our god-whether that god be our self, sex, race or ethnic group, church, money, ideological beliefs, another person, nature, Allah, Buddha, the Great Spirit or Jesus Christ; and is the object of our ultimate love, human drive, commitment, source of power, and our interconnectedness with the Other-the Divine, the self, the human, the natural, or any combination thereof-resulting in a state of security with a sense of worthful purpose.

There are no atheists, for we are all "spiritual beings." The core question is: Who or what is at the center of our life, our object of worship?

-Source: Caleb Rosado with ideas adapted from Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, The Glory and the Power: The Fundamentalist Challenge to the Modern World (Beacon 1992), and Langdon Gilkey, Shantung Compound (HarperCollins 1966).


SPIRITUALITY (2): Spirituality is a state of interconnectedness with the Other-the Divine, the self, the human, the natural, or any combination thereof-resulting in a state of security with a sense of worthful purpose.

STEREOTYPE: A Stereotype is a set of repeated (thus stereo) exaggerated and inaccurate generalizations about a group or category of people that is either favorable or unfavorable, which are often emotionally toned and not susceptible of modification through empirical evidence. These generalizations are maintained because they are a shared belief receiving strong support from one's reference groups.

-Theodorson and Theodorson, A Modern Dictionary of Sociology, (Barnes & Noble, 1979)


STIGMA: Stigma is any physical or social attribute–such as a physical deformity or disability, race or criminal record, whether visible or hidden–which devalues a person's social identity so as to disqualify the person from full or partial social acceptance.

–Adapted from Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of a Spoiled Identity. Simon & Schuster, 1986.


SUBCULTURE: A subculture is a group that shares in the overall culture of the society but also has its own distinctive values, norms, and lifestyle.

TOTAL QUALITY DIVERSITY (See Graphic): Total Quality Diversity is a holistic model of managing diversity that operates on two levels: The Horizontal-the individual interactional change dimension (embracing and valuing diversity); and The Vertical-the institutional structural change dimension (harnessing and empowering diversity). Both factors are driven by the bottom line profit motive, to help institutions deliver a quality product or service that meets human needs in a competitive world society.


TOTAL QUALITY RESPECT: Total Quality Respect is an integral part of Total Quality Diversity, in that the proper management of today's diverse workforce is not possible without respect for human beings. TQR is the process whereby the "other" is treated with deference, courtesy and compassion in an endeavor to safeguard the integrity, dignity, value and social worth of the individual. It means treating people the way they want to be treated. It is a lack of respect for others, no matter their position or the differences they bring to an institution, which gives rise to most of the conflicts in organizations.

TRANSCULTURATION: Transculturation is the reciprocal process by which two cultures, upon contact, engage in a system of give and take and adaptation to each other's ways, though often not in an equal manner, resulting in the emergence of a new cultural reality.

-Rosado's adaptation of a concept coined by Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint (1947)


UNITY IN DIVERSITY: The key dynamic in diversity management is to maintain the two dimensions of unity and diversity in balanced tension, without erring to either side. Erring on the side of unity results in uniformity and sameness at the expense of our human uniqueness and distinctiveness. Erring on the side of diversity magnifies differences and separation at the expense of our common, shared humanity. Unity is not synonymous with uniformity, neither is diversity synonymous with separation. The solution to the tension is to respect and value diversity while working for unity, otherwise exclusion is the result. Thus the strength of a nation or organization lies in unity in diversity.

VALUES: Values are socially shared ideals about what is good, right and desirable.

VALUE SYSTEMS: A "value system" is a worldview, an organizing principle, a paradigm, a set of priorities, a mindset, and a specific bottom-line beyond which there is no negotiation. They serve as magnets around which our cultural "stuff" clusters and aligns itself. They determine how people think rather than what they value. They are the invisible forces that drive human perceptions and social change. Cultures, as well as countries, are formed by the emergence of Value Systems in the response to life conditions. At the core of what we call a "Value System" is a vMEME or ValuesMEME.

–Don E. Beck

VIOLENCE–"CODE OF THE STREETS": "It is a set of informal rules governing inter-personal public behavior, including violence . . . which prescribe both a proper comportment and a proper way to respond if challenged. [The rules] regulate the use of violence and so allow those who are inclined to aggression to precipitate violent encounters in an approved way. . . . At the heart of the code is the issue of respect."

–Elijah Anderson, "The Code of the Streets," The Atlantic Monthly, May 1994.

VISION: Vision is the bifocal ability to see what lies ahead (farsightedness), as well as the various impediments in the present (nearsightedness), and how to avoid them in order to arrive at the future.

VISION STATEMENT: Answers the Where Question. Addresses where an organization is headed-its direction and perspective.

WHITE GUILT: White Guilt is an uncomfortable feeling which springs from a knowledge of ill-gotten advantage resulting in the inevitable gratitude one feels for being white rather than a person of color in America.

-Adapted from Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990).


WHITE MALEISM: White Maleism is the tendency of minority groups (women and people of color) to blame white males for most of the social evil in the world today, especially as it relates to sexism and racism, and view them as selfish, ruthless, unrepentant and unredeemable, and, as a consequence, refuse to recognize and accept the contribution that many white males have made, continue to make, and desire to make, to remove oppression.

–Definition by Caleb Rosado and Samuel Betances.


WORLD CITIZEN: A world citizen is person who is able to transcend his/her own racial/ ethnic, gender, cultural and socio-political reality and identify with humankind throughout the world, at all levels of human need. S/he is a transcending person who knows no boundaries, and whose operating life-principle is compassion.



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