At the University of Nebraska, we strive for excellence in all that we do. True excellence requires that each individual be able to work and learn in an atmosphere of respect, dignity, and acceptance. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion requires each of us to continuously ensure our interactions be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom. We are excited to work with employers and organizations to help meet their recruiting needs while maintaining best practices and standards around diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence.
Successful recruiting of diverse talent requires employers and organizations to look beyond just the recruiting process and instead focus on how to retain diverse talent or create a culture that is welcoming to that diverse talent. We hope these resources will help connect our employers to tools that they can learn from and that they will also provide ideas about how to engage their organization in conversations around diversity and inclusion. We all share the responsibility as members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln community to safeguard equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for all.
The University Career Services team is by no means an expert in any of the following content areas. We instead are eager to learn alongside our employer partners about how their organizations promotes diversity and inclusion and engage in conversations about how to best support our students as they enter the world of work in an increasingly diverse workforce.
The Importance of a Diverse Workforce
With the changing demographics of our student population and workforce, it is more important than ever that employers seeking to hire UNL Husker talent are committed to gaining and developing the skills and workplace environment needed to recruit and retain a diverse talent pool.
Changing Demographics in Nebraska and the U.S.
• By 2045 Census Projections predict that the US will have a more racially diverse population where white people will no longer be in the numerical majority (Frey, 2018).
• In Nebraska, studies show that the population is aging, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and moving more and more to to its most populous cities and counties (Drozd, 2018). The percentage of population which identify as non-white or hispanic has been increasing yearly since 2000, especially among children. As those children become college-age and eventually graduate and enter the workforce, the diversity of the workforce will increase. According to a 2018 study, minority groups contributed to more than 50% of population growth in two-thirds of all Nebraska population gains between 2000 and 2010 (Drozd, 2018).
Connecting Company Performance to Racial and Ethnic Diversity
• Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, and those with gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors (Hunt, Layton, & Prince, 2021).
• Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
• Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians
• In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent (Hunt, Layton, & Prince, 2021).
The Benefits of Diverse Talent
• Diverse talent leads to increased creativity, higher innovation, and better decision making. According to research, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market (Bersin, 2019).
• Since diversity in the workplace means that employees will have different characteristics, experiences, and backgrounds, it also ensures a variety of different perspectives and skill sets. Harvard Business Review found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. Employees from diverse backgrounds have different experiences and views, which is why they are able to will bring diverse solutions to the table. Thus, the best solution can be chosen sooner, which leads to faster problem-solving (Reynolds & Lewis, 2017).
• Recent research that included 180 companies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They found out that companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers.
• Diversity and inclusion in the workplace cause all employees to feel accepted and valued. When employees feel accepted and valued, they are also happier in their workplace and stay longer with a company. As a result, companies with greater diversity in the workplace have lower turnover rates. By creating commitment to diversity and employees create a sense of belonging to the company and are less likely to leave (Bersin, 2019).
Research clearly shows that companies and organizations that create and retain a diverse workforce are more successful. At the same time, there are too many stories and studies that illustrate people with diverse identities feeling excluded, unwelcome, or outright terrorized in the workplace. This leads to disengagement which ultimately could lead to turnover.
While we know diversity efforts can help organizations with profits, retention, and culture, there are still roadblocks organizations face to support a diverse workforce well. This article about strategies to overcome those challenges and one of the first steps is aligning their organizational diversity practices with their organizational goals (Shelma, 2018). We recognize that each organization is at a different place in their journey but we hope that this toolkit provides a starting point for employers to begin (or expand) designing and implementing inclusive recruitment and retention practices.
DEI Best Practices
Best Practices Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
1. Understand the issues and recognize the challenges your organization is facing. Before you begin developing a plan to address DEI issues within your organization, it is important that you understand relevant issues and take an honest assessment of which groups are underrepresented in your organization. Some of these issues include root causes of discrimination, systemic issues that result in inequity, the differences between disparate-treatment and disparate-impact discrimination, and the effect of implicit and explicit biases in the workplace.
2. Reassess your recruiting & hiring practices. Ways to help assess areas for DEI improvement may include holding an internal audit, creating a DEI taskforce, or having an external consultant help assess areas for improvement, and things to consider include how recruiting may be expanded, how to craft job advertisements intentionally, evaluation of screening and selection procedures, and review of fair pay practices.
3. Set measurable targets & hold leaders accountable. Make sure each manager, leader, and executive is responsible for DEI and hold them accountable during performance evaluations. Discuss DEI during leadership meetings and share feedback from employees. To demonstrate the importance of DEI to your company’s culture, explain what actions you’re taking to address inequality (ADP, 2020).
4. Address microaggressions & unconscious bias. Not only can workplace discrimination and microaggressions have a negative impact on people of color in their careers, it can also affect their mental health. Changing the culture involves creating a safe place where employees can have real conversations about their unique experiences in life, during their career, and within the organization. Schools and companies can help employees to address concerns of barriers due to color by continually evaluating the culture and ensuring employees feel included. They should also create space for authentic conversations (Gray, 2021).
5. Give employees a voice & encourage to ideas and feedback. Fostering a culture where employees are allowed (and not penalized) for speaking up will allow leadership honest feedback and could/can help the organization move forward with DEI work. Actively seek feedback by providing channels that employers can safely provide feedback, such as anonymous forms or DEI specific collaboration sessions. Allow questions and be prepared for conversations. Take complaints seriously – validate emotions and have authentic dialogue (ADP, 2021).
6. Give all employees development opportunities and equitable benefits. Discussing an employee’s career interests and personal strengths can help make them feel valued. Even if your company doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for upward mobility, you can still help employees develop skills and knowledge that will serve them and your business in the future. Assigning new responsibilities to help stretch an employee’s skills or capabilities can be an effective way to develop their talents and increase engagement. Meet with each employee and discuss their short-term and long-term career goals. Create a development plan accordingly and follow-up regularly to check on their progress (ADP, 2021).
7. Train employees, managers, & company leadership. Use training to show that discrimination and harassment are not only against the law but also against your company’s values. Stress how important it is for you to maintain a fair workplace for all employees and applicants. Train employees on how to report incidents of discrimination and harassment. Some employers have gone a step further and adopted bystander intervention training to show employees not only how to spot inappropriate behavior but also how to step in and take action when needed (ADP, 2021).
8. Review policies, practices, and language within organization and in communication. At a minimum, ensure that policies and practices comply with applicable federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws and are free of both implicit and explicit biases (ADP, 2021). Language is a key component of creating an inclusive workplace and brand (Gray, 2021).
The below terminology is pulled from the Glossary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Terms (DiversityBestPractices.com, 2020).
Ableism – discrimination against persons with mental and/or physical disabilities; social structures that favor able-bodied individuals.
Acculturation – the process of learning and incorporating the language, values, beliefs, and behaviors that makes up a distinct culture. This concept is not to be confused with assimilation, where an individual or group may give up certain aspects of its culture in order to adapt to that of the prevailing culture.
Affirmative Action – proactive policies and procedures for remedying the effect of past discrimination and ensuring the implementation of equal employment and educational opportunities, for recruiting, hiring, training and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans in compliance with the federal requirements enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Ageism – discrimination against individuals because of their age, often based on stereotypes.
Ally – a person who takes action against oppression out of a belief that eliminating oppression will benefit members of targeted groups and advantage groups. Allies acknowledge disadvantage and oppression of other groups than their own, take supportive action on their behalf, commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in oppression of these groups, and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression.
Anti-Oppression – Recognizing and deconstructing the systemic, institutional and personal forms of disempowerment used by certain groups over others; actively challenging the different forms of oppression.
Anti-Racism – the work of actively opposing discrimination based on race by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, which is set up to counter an individual’s racist behaviors and impact. Today, anti-racism is perhaps most closely associated with Ibram X. Kendi, the founding director of American University’s anti-racist research center who popularized the concept with his 2019 book “How to be an Anti-Racist.” In it, he wrote: “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it.”
Belonging – the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place. In order for people to feel like they belong, the environment (in this case the workplace) needs to be set up to be a diverse and inclusive place.
Bias – a positive or negative inclination towards a person, group, or community; can lead to stereotyping.
Bigotry – intolerant prejudice which glorifies one’s own group and denigrates members of other groups.
BIPOC – An acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The term has increased in use and awareness during 2020 after the Black Lives Matter resurgence against racism and police brutality in the wake of the George Floyd shooting. BIPOC is meant to emphasize the particular hardships faced by Black and Indigenous people in the US and Canada and is also meant to acknowledge that not all people of color face the same levels of injustice.
Bisexuality – romantic and/or sexual attraction to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
Bullying – intimidating, exclusionary, threatening or hostile behavior against an individual.
Bystander – A person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part. Similar to an onlooker, passerby, nonparticipant, observer, spectator.
Cisgender – a gender identity where an individual’s self-perception of their gender aligns with their perceived sex.
Classism – biased attitudes and beliefs that result in, and help to justify, unfair treatment of individuals or groups because of their socioeconomic grouping. Classism can also be expressed as public policies and institutional practices that prevent people from breaking out of poverty rather than ensuring equal economic, social, and educational opportunity.
Collusion – when people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. Example: able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.
Colonialism – control by individuals or groups over the territory/behavior of other individuals or groups. Imperialism refers to the political or economic control, either formally or informally, and creating an empire.
Colorblind – term used to describe personal, group, and institutional policies or practices that do not consider race or ethnicity as a determining factor. The term “colorblind” de-emphasizes or ignores race and ethnicity as a large part of one’s identity.
Conscious Bias – in its extreme is characterized by overt negative behavior that can be expressed through physical and verbal harassment or through more subtle means such as exclusion.
Corporate Social Responsibility – a business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. CSR initiatives seek to make a positive impact on local communities and the environment. It is the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives.
Cultural Assimilation – when an individual, family, or group gives up certain aspects of its culture in order to adapt to the dominant culture.
Cultural Competence – refers to an individual’s or an organization’s knowledge and understanding of different cultures and perspectives. It’s a measure of an individual’s or a workforce’s ability to work with people of different nationalities, ethnicities, languages, and religions. In short is the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures. This ability depends on awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, knowledge of other cultural practices and worldviews, tolerant attitudes towards cultural differences, and cross-cultural skills. It involves knowledge, awareness and interpersonal skills that allow individuals to increase their understanding, sensitivity, appreciation and responsiveness to cultural differences and the interactions resulting from them. It is a process of learning that leads to the ability of an organization and/or employees to collaborate in a diverse work environment by effectively responding to the challenges and opportunities posed by the presence of social cultural diversity.
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) – the capability to adapt, relate and work effectively across cultures. People with high CQ are not experts in every kind of culture. Instead they have the skills to go into new environments with confidence, and to make informed judgments based on observations and evidence as opposed to stereotypes and biases. They recognize shared influences among particular groups.
Cultural Sensitivity – being aware that cultural differences and similarities between people exist without assigning them a value. Cultural sensitivity skills can ensure the ability to work effectively alongside people with different cultural attitudes and behaviors.
Culture – a social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication. (Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change)
Denial – the refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges that are granted or denied based on an individual’s identity components. Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, “People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin.” In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system of privileges based on ethnicity or race are ignored.
Disability – physical or mental impairment, the perception of a physical or mental impairment, or a history of having had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Replaces the term Handicap or The Handicapped, which do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities.
Discrimination – unfavorable or unfair treatment towards an individual or group based on their race, ethnicity, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, socioeconomic status, education, sex, marital status, parental status, veteran’s status, political affiliation, language, age, gender, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Diversity – psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.
Emotional Tax – the combination of being on guard to protect against bias and feeling different from peers at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity and the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work. It particularly affects BIPOC employees.
Employee Resource Group (Business Resource Group) – ERGs are communities of employees organized around a common dimension (similar backgrounds, experiences or interests) to network, share views, learn from others, further professional growth and development, and drive business.
Empowerment – when target group members refuse to accept the dominant ideology and take actions to redistribute social power more equitably.
Environmental Equity – measures the amelioration of the myriad inequities and disproportionate impacts that groups in society have faced, especially in the realm of environmental protection and access to nature and the environmental goods that aren’t equally shared.
Equal Employment Opportunity – (EEO) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit discrimination in any aspect of employment based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Equality – evenly distributed access to resources and opportunity necessary for a safe and healthy life; uniform distribution of access to ensure fairness.
Equity – the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
Ethnicity – a social construct which divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and ancestral geographical base.
Ethnocentrism – the practice of using a particular ethnic group as a frame of reference, basis of judgment, or standard criteria from which to view the world. Ethnocentrism favors one ethnic group’s cultural norms and excludes the realities and experiences of other ethnic groups.
Feminism – theory and practice that advocates for educational and occupational equity between men and women; undermines traditional cultural practices that support the subjugation of women by men and the devaluation of women’s contributions to society.
Gaslighting – a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes, including low self-esteem.
Gay – people of the same sex who are attracted sexually and emotionally to each other. More commonly utilized to describe male attraction to other males.
Gender – the socially constructed ideas about behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs.
Gender Identity – a personal conception of one’s own gender; often in relation to a gender opposition between masculinity and femininity. Gender expression is how people externally communicate or perform their gender identity to others.
Gender-Neutral – used to denote a unisex or all-gender inclusive space, language, etc. Examples: a gender-neutral bathroom is a bathroom open to people of any gender identity and expression; gender-neutral job descriptions are used to attract qualified, diverse candidates.
Gender Expansive (gender non-confirming) – used to describe those who view their gender identity as one of many possible genders beyond strictly man or woman. These individuals have expanded notions of gender expression and identity beyond what is perceived as the expected gender norms for their society or context. Some gender-expansive individuals identify as a man or a women, some identify as neither, and others identify as a mix of both.
Global Environmental Racism – race is a potent factor in sorting people into their physical environment and explaining social inequality, political exploitation, social isolation, and quality of life. Racism influences land use, industrial facility siting, housing patterns, infrastructure development, and “who gets what, when, where, and how much.” Environmental racism refers to any policy, practice, or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (whether intended or unintended) individuals, groups, or communities based on race or color.
Harassment – unwelcome, intimidating, exclusionary, threatening or hostile behavior against an individual that is based on a category protected by law.
Hazing – verbal and physical testing, often of newcomers into a society or group, that may range from practical joking to tests of physical and mental endurance.
Heterosexism – social structures and practices which serve to elevate and enforce heterosexuality while subordinating or suppressing other forms of sexuality.
Hispanic – the U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanic as people who classified themselves as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories, which also included the subgroups Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican or Cuban.
Homophobia – a fear of individuals who are not heterosexual. Often results in hostile, offensive, or discriminatory action against a person because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer identified, or because they are perceived to be. These actions may be verbal or physical and can include insulting or degrading comments; taunts or ‘jokes’; and excluding or refusing to cooperate with others because of their sexuality. (The National Multicultural Institute)
Human Rights – the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of though and expression, and equality before the law.
Identity-First Language – many people with disabilities embrace Identity-First Language, which positions disability as an identity category. In identity-first Language, the identifying word comes first in the sentence and highlights the person’s embrace of their identity. In recent years, many self-advocates (particularly in the autism community) have expressed preference for identity-first language such as “autistic,” “autistic person,” or “autistic individual” comparing this phrasing to the way we refer to “Muslim” or “African American” or “LGBTQ” individuals.
Identity Group – a particular group, culture, or community with which an individual identifies or shares a sense of belonging. Individual agency is crucial for identity development; no person should be pressured to identify with any existing group, but instead the freedom to self-identify on their own terms.
Implicit Bias – Implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically and without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Implicit biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and can have negative or positive consequences.
Inclusive Language – words of phrases that include all potential audiences from any identity group. Inclusive language does not assume or connote the absence of any group. An example of gender inclusive language is using “police officers” instead of “policemen”.
Inclusion – the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.
Indigenous – originating from a culture with ancient ties to the land in which a group resides.
Individual Racism – the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism; can occur at both a conscious and unconscious level, and can be active or passive. Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of Whites.
Institutional Racism – refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for Whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as People of Color. An example includes City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.
Intent vs. Impact – this distinction is an integral part of inclusive environments; intent is what a person meant to do and impact is the effect it had on someone else. Regardless of intent, it is imperative to recognize how behaviors, language, actions, etc. affect or influence other people. An examination of what was said or done and how it was received is the focus, not necessarily what was intended.
Internalized Racism – occurs in a racist system when a racial group oppressed by racism supports the supremacy and dominance of the dominating group by maintaining or participating in the set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures and ideologies that undergird the dominating group’s power.
Intersectionality – the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. As coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, it is a framework for understanding how different aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, physical appearance, etc.) combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege. Intersectionality identifies advantages and disadvantages that are felt by people due to this combination of factors.
“-isms” – a way of describing any attitude, action or institutional structure that subordinates (oppresses) a person or group because of their target group: race (racism), gender (sexism), economic status (classism), age (ageism), religion, sexual orientation, language, etc.
Invisible Disability (Hidden Disability) – an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges that are primarily neurological in nature. Invisible disability, or hidden disability, are defined as disabilities that are not immediately apparent.
Latino/a – individual living in the United States originating form, or having a heritage relating to Latin America. (University of Maryland)
Latinx – a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina.
Lesbian – a woman whose primary sexual attraction is to other women.
LGBTQ (QIA) – acronym for “Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (Questioning Intersex Allies).” The description of the movement expanded from gay and lesbian to LGBTQ and some include questioning, intersex, allies, same-gender-loving, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous.
Marginalization – the placement of minority groups and cultures outside mainstream society. All that varies from the norm of the dominant culture is devalued and at times perceived as deviant and regressive.
Microaggressions – the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (e.g., commenting that a Black person “talks white” if they are articulate and eloquent or moving to the opposite side of a street to avoid interacting with a particular racial group).
Micro-inequity – subtle, often unconscious, messages and behavior that devalue, discourage and impair workplace performance. It can appear as individuals who are overlooked, singled out or ignored and is based on characteristics such as race, gender, ability, etc. Micro-inequities can be conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice/choice of words. The term coined in 1973 by MIT professor Mary Rowe.
Microinsults – communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a marginalized individuals.
Microinvalidations – Verbal and nonverbal communications that subtly convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s racial heritage or identity.
Multicultural – of or pertaining to more than one culture.
Multiculturalism – the practice of acknowledging and respecting the various cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, attitudes, and opinions within an environment. The theory and practice promotes peaceful coexistence of all identities and people.
Neo-Colonization – term for contemporary policies adopted by international and western “1st world” nations and organizations that exert regulation, power and control over “3rd world” nations disguised as humanitarian help or aid. These policies are distinct but related to the “original” period of colonization of Africa, Asia, and the Americas by European nations.
Neurodiversity – refers to the variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions. According to the UK-based Autism Awareness Centre, it recognizes that all variations of human neurological function need to be respected as just another way of being, and that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal/natural variations in the human genome. The term was first coined by Judy Singer, a sociologist on the autism spectrum and the neurodiversity movement stresses that neurological differences should be valued and add value to the workplace.
Non-binary – an adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories.
Norm – an ideal standard binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate power and acceptable behavior.
Oppression – the systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression signifies a hierarchical relationship in which dominant or privileged groups benefit, often in unconscious ways, from the disempowerment of subordinated or targeted groups.
Pan-Africanism – describes the theory relating to the desire to educate all peoples of the African diaspora of their common plight and the connections between them. Some theorists promote linking all African countries across the continent through a common government, language, ideology, or belief. (University of Maryland)
Pansexuality – a term reflective of those who feel they are sexually, emotionally, and spiritually capable of falling in love with all genders.
Pay Equity – compensating employees the same when they perform the same or similar job duties, while accounting for other factors, such as their experience level, job performance and tenure with the employer. It ensures the fairness of compensation paid to employees for performing comparable work, without regard to gender or race or other categories protected by law (such as national origin or sexual orientation). It includes fairness both in terms of base pay and in total compensation, including bonuses, overtime, employee benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Pay equity does not mean that all employees are paid the same. Generally, pay equity focuses on ensuring those employees performing comparable work are receiving comparable compensation.
People/Person of Color – is not a term that refers to real biological or scientific distinction between people, but the common experience of being targeted and oppressed by racism. While each oppressed group is affected by racism differently and each group maintains its own unique identity and culture, there is also the recognition that racism has the potential to unite oppressed people in a collective of resistance. For this reason, many individuals who identify as members of racially oppressed groups also claim the political identity of being People of Color. This in no way diminishes their specific cultural or racial identity; rather it is an affirmation of the multiple layers of identity of every individual. This term also refrains from the subordinate connotation of triggering labels like “non-White” and “minority.”
People/Person-First Language – emphasizes the individuality, equality and dignity of people with disabilities. Rather than defining people primarily by their disability, people-first language conveys respect by emphasizing the fact that people with disabilities are first and foremost just that—people.
People/Person with Disabilities – refers to individuals with a disability. This term utilizes Person-First Language, which posits that a person isn’t a disability, condition or diagnosis but rather, a person has a disability, condition or diagnosis. Replaces the terms, Handicap, The Handicapped, The Disabled, Wheelchair-bound, Cripple, which do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities.
Performative Allyship – (versus Allyship) – is when someone from a nonmarginalized group (white, able-bodied, etc.) professes support and solidarity with a marginalized group in a way that either isn’t helpful or that actively harms that group. Performative allyship refuses to engage with the complexity below the surface or say anything new. It refuses to acknowledge any personal responsibility for the systemic issues that provided the context for the relevant tragedy.
Personal Gender Pronoun – the pronoun or set of pronouns that an individual personally uses and would like others to use when referring to them. Replaces the term Preferred Gender Pronoun, which incorrectly implies that their use is optional.
Polyamory – the practice or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the consent of all involved.
Prejudice – a pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics. (Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change)
Privilege – power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups. (University of Maryland)
Psychological Safety – a climate in which people are comfortable being (and expressing) themselves without repercussions. It is about creating an environment where employees feel empowered to express an idea or contribution fully, without fear of negative consequences to themselves, their status or their career. It includes being courageous enough to showcase their vulnerability, to own their mistakes and turn them into learning, and trust that their work environment and co-workers will not shame them for doing so.
Queer – term used to refer to people or culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. A term once perceived as derogatory is now embraced by some members of the LGBTQ community
Race – a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance, ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the political needs of a society at a given period of time.
Racial and Ethnic Identity – an individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and the ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization, and personal experience.
Racial Equity – the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer influenced how one fares. Racial equity is one part of racial justice and must be addressed at the root causes and not just the manifestations. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.
Racism – individual and institutional practices and policies based on the belief that a particular race is superior to others. This often results in depriving certain individuals and groups of civil liberties, rights, and other resources, hindering opportunities for social, educational, and political advancement.
Racism (endorsed by Dismantling Racism Training) – A system of advantage based on race. A system of oppression based on race. A way of organizing society based on dominance and subordination based on race. Penetrates every aspect of personal, cultural, and institutional life. Includes prejudice against people of color, as well as exclusion, discrimination against, suspicion of, and fear and hate of people of color. Racism = Prejudice + the POWER to implement that prejudice.
Religionism – the individual, cultural and institutional beliefs and discrimination that systematically oppress non-Christians, which includes Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Reverse Discrimination – unfair treatment of members of a dominant or majority group. (Society of Human Resources Management); according to the National Multicultural Institute, this term is often used by opponents of affirmative action who believe that these policies are causing members of traditionally dominant groups to be discriminated against. The Supreme Court considers it to be illegal to consider race and other demographic categories in hiring and other employment related decisions.
Safe Space – a space in which an individual or group may remain free of blame, ridicule and persecution, and are in no danger of coming to mental or physical harm.
Sex – system of classification based on biological and physical differences, such as primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Differentiated from gender, which is based on the social construction and expectations of the categories “men” and “women.”
Sexual Orientation – the direction of one’s sexual attraction toward the same gender, opposite gender, or other genders. It is on a continuum and not necessarily a set of absolute categories.
Social Justice – a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole.
Social Power – access to resources that enhance chances of getting what one needs or influencing others in order to lead a safe, productive, and fulfilling life.
Stereotype – a positive or negative set of beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a certain group. (The National Multicultural Institute)
Supplier Diversity – a corporate program which encourages and ensures the use of minority- owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, and other historically underutilized business determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in the procurement of goods and services for any business or organization. The Supplier Diversity program concept first introduced in 1953 with the establishment of the Small Business Administration.
Tolerance – acceptance and open-mindedness to different practices, attitudes, and cultures; does not necessarily mean agreement with the differences. (University of Maryland)
Transgender – an individual whose gender identity differs from the societal expectations of their physical sex. Transgender or “trans” does not imply any form of sexual orientation. Cisgender is a gender identity where an individual’s self-perception of their gender matches their sex. For example, a cisgendered female is a female with a female identity. (The National Multicultural Institute)
Two-Spirit – A term used within some American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) communities to refer to a person who identifies as having both a male and a female essence or spirit. The term–which was created in 1990 by a group of AI/AN activists at an annual Native LGBTQ conference–encompasses sexual, cultural, gender, and spiritual identities, and provides unifying, positive, and encouraging language that emphasizes reconnecting to tribal traditions. (PFLAG)
Unconscious Bias – the subliminal tendency to favor certain people or groups of people based upon learned stereotypes. It can be interchangeable with the term “implicit bias. It refers to social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.
Underrepresented Groups (URG) – a group that is less represented in one subset (e.g., employees in a particular sector, such as IT) than in the general population. This can refer to gender, race/ethnicity, physical or mental ability, LGBTQ+ status, and many more. The term also refers to populations who are not represented in STEM professions in proportions equal to White STEM workers. Replaces the term Underrepresented Minorities (URM), as minority groups will soon be the majority in the U.S. Underrepresented Groups is inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals as well as Veterans and People with Disabilities.
Upstander – a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied.
Veteran – A person who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during a period specified and was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances. Armed Forces is defined as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including all components thereof, and the National Guard.
White Centering – putting your feelings as a White person above the Black and POC causes you’re supposed to be helping. Layla F. Saad explains in her book, Me and White Supremacy, “White centering is the centering of White people, white values, white norms and white feelings over everything and everyone else.” White centering can manifest as anything ranging from tone policing and white fragility to white exceptionalism and outright violence.
White Privilege – refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are White. White people who experience such privilege may or may not be conscious of it.
UNL Diversity Resources and Centers
Employer Education Series
The University Career Services Employer Relations Team is excited to announce its cross-departmental development of employer education opportunities beginning in 2021. Through a series of webinars, employers can learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion in relation to the workforce and recruitment. These dates and topics are subject to change.
Title Date Register/View Supporting a Diverse Workforce August 26th, 2021 @ 2pm go.unl.edu/diverseworkplace Celebrating Diversity: Hispanic Heritage Month September 30th, 2021 @ 2pm go.unl.edu/cdhhm Celebrating Diversity: Disability Awareness Month October 21st, 2021 @ 2pm go.unl.edu/cddeam First Generation in the Workplace November 18th, 2021 @ 2pm go.unl.edu/cdfg
*Celebrating Diversity is an ongoing series that highlights different marginalized groups each month to talk about issues that specifically pertain to them in the workforce.