EDIC Definitions

Seattle Colleges uses the following definitions for key equity, diversity, inclusion, and community (EDIC) terms. This is not an exhaustive list but may be useful as anti-racism strategies are developed. 

Accountability* - the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

Affirmative Action* - A set of policies and practices designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination among applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future.

Ally* - Someone who possesses power and privilege (based on ethnicity, class, gender, sexual identity, etc.) and stands in solidarity with, and is supportive of, marginalized groups and communities.

Anti-Blackness* - The Council for Democratizing Education defines anti-Blackness as being a two-part formation that both voids Blackness of value, while systematically marginalizing Black people and their issues.

Anti-Racism* - Someone who is supporting an antiracism policy through their actions or expressing anti-racism ideas. This includes the expression or ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity.

BIPOC* - A person or group who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color.

Communities of Color - An umbrella term used to refer to people of color often when describing the impacts of systemic racism. 

Community Organizations - Coordination and organizing aimed at making improvements to a community, area, or groups social health, well-being, and overall functioning. This takes place in in geographically, socially, culturally, spiritually, and digitally defined communities and spaces.

Critical Race Theory* - The Critical Race Theory movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, and even feelings and the unconscious.

Culturally Appropriate - The understanding of what is suitable given a particular context. Including awareness of norms, symbols, values, etc.

Culturally Competent - The continued development to effectively communicate and knowledgeably engage with people across cultures concerning but not limited to social identities. This can include race, gender, veteran status, sexual orientation, nation of origin, age, ability, socio-economic status, and faith, among others.

Discrimination* - The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, and other categories.

Diversity* - The wide variety of shared and different personal and group characteristics among human beings. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect of individual differences.

Equity* - The proportional distribution of desirable outcomes across groups, where an individual’s race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc. do not determine their educational, economic, social, or political opportunities.

Historically Marginalized Communities - "Groups who have been relegated to the lower or peripheral edge of society. Many groups were denied full participation in mainstream cultural, social, political, and economic activities" (Heritage Bulletin, 2018). E. g., People of Color, women, people with disabilities.

Inclusion* - Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power. Inclusion promotes broad engagement, shared participation, and advances authentic sense of belonging through safe, positive, and nurturing environments. Inclusion is key to eliminating systemic inequality.

Implicit Bias* - Negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically and without conscious awareness.

Institutional Racism* - The systemic mistreatment and dehumanization of any individual based solely on a social identity group with which they identify that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions.

Intersectionality* - The overlapping of various systems of oppression. Coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, in response to White feminism. 

Justice* - The maintenance or administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.

Low-Income Communities - An area in which 20% of people live below the poverty line or families whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the median family income for the area.

Marginalization* - The process of oppression by which target groups are excluded from participation in society.

Microaggression* - Prejudiced thoughts or discriminatory actions in indirect, subtle, or unintentional forms.

Normalization* - The process by which prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions become commonplace and unquestioned.

Oppression* - A system of control based on prejudice, using power at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels by one social group on another.

Prejudice* - The unjustified, preconceived beliefs about a social group.

Privilege* - The unquestioned and unearned advantages, entitlements, and choices by members of dominant social groups.

Race* - Any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry.

Racial Equity* - The process of achieving equality for all races.

Racial Inequality* - An instance of being unequal solely based upon one’s race.

Racism* - A system of oppression based on White supremacy.

Restorative Justice* - The process of achieving justice rooted in Indigenous practices, using inclusion, harm repair, amends, and community reintegration.

Social Justice* - A broad term that connotes the practice of allyship and coalition work in order to promote equality, equity, respect, and the assurance of rights within and between communities and social groups.

White Privilege* - The unquestioned and unearned advantages, entitlements, and choices for White people.

White Supremacy* - The belief that the White race is inherently superior to other races and that White people should have control over people of other races.

Xenophobia* - Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions against those who are different from oneself, based on fear or hatred of strangers.


Definitions of terms marked with an asterisk (*) are from the Framework for Advancing Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Strategy on Campus, a signature work of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). We use the framework to focus our work supporting the recruitment, retention, and completion of BIPOC and other historically underserved/under-supported students, faculty, staff, administration, and communities.

Note: this information meets the requirements of RCW 28B.50.920 (Section 6).