Race equality guidance glossary

    Part of the Ealing's race equality guidance for educational settings. This has been created to support staff, settings and communities when discussing equalities and race in a safe space.

    A shared language allows all staff to have a clear understanding of the terms we use and the meaning. It is to secure understanding and inform discussion. It is not exhaustive, but merely an aide in the journey to achieve open conversations and support the development of our culture of equality and equity.

    This glossary has kindly been shared with us by Hackney Council.


    Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognise their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.


    An anti-racist is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression or ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity.

    BAME - Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic

    A term specific to the UK to describe all who do not ascribe to the label of white. Recently this label and the na-ture of it have been described as problematic as it does not reflect the nu-ances of experiences for different groups and conflates the journeys and lives of 80% of the world population into one category. As a minimum, if you must use this term, saying each word to represent the group in its en-tirety slightly mitigates against silencing groups.

    Black Caribbean

    As the race equality toolkit for educational settings places an emphasis on Black Caribbean achievement, the use of ethnicity terminology for this ethnic group is Black Caribbean. This term aligns with school census ethnicity terminology. It is acknowledged that many Black people of Caribbean heritage may identify themselves as African / African-Caribbean / Black / Black British, as opposed to the term Black Caribbean.

    Black Lives Matter

    Black Lives Matter protests are not racist. They are focussed on tackling the inequalities black people and people of colour have faced for centuries and daily. This does not take away from the fact that we hope for equality for all. When Black Lives Matter in an equitable way then we are closer to achieving equality for all.


    The voluntary or forcible movement of peoples from their homelands into new regions, a common element in all forms of diaspora; these are people who live outside their natal (or imagined natal) territories and recognise that their traditional homelands are reflected deeply in the languages they speak, religions they adopt, and the cultures they produce.

    Global majority

    The aims of this term is similar to the BAME acronym but acknowledges the majority aspect of the world’s population and moves away from the minority word.


    Used throughout this toolkit, denotes any child or young person, within our educational settings, from birth to post-16 years.

    Individual racism

    Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing. Examples:

    • Telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inher-ent superiority of whites over other groups
    • Avoiding people of colour whom you do not know personally, but not whites whom you do not know personally e.g. white people crossing the street to avoid a group of Latino/a young people; lock-ing their doors when they see Black families sitting on their door-steps in a city neighbourhood; or not hiring a person of colour because “something doesn’t feel right”
    • Accepting things as they are (a form of collusion.

    Racism and Power are inextricably linked and therefore is based on the superiority of one race over another.

    Institutional racism

    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 colour.


    Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. For example, a Black woman in the UK does not experience gender inequalities in exactly the same way as a white woman, nor is racial oppression identical to that experienced by a Black man. Each race and gender intersection produces a qualitatively distinct life. It may be very difficult to understand the impact of oppression for different identities and requires great effort.


    The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or in-sults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, de-rogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalised group membership. They are often at the root of feeling in-cluded or excluded. And are often relentless if not broached. The power of individuals has an impact on how/ if they are dealt with.

    Multicultural competency

    A process of learning about and becoming allies with people from other cul-tures, thereby broadening our own understanding and ability to participate in a multicultural process. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organise the world and an openness to learn from them.


    The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

    • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,
    • the target groups take in and internalise the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),
    • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and insti-tutionalised, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and,
    • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialised to play their roles as normal and correct.
    • Oppression = Power + Prejudice


    Power is unequally distributed globally and in UK society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriar-chy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualised as pow-er over other individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which refer-ences an individual’s internal strength). Learning to see and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change.


    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 generalisations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognised and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.


    For many people, it comes as a surprise that racial categorization schemes were invented by scientists to support worldviews that viewed some groups of people as superior and some as inferior. There is one important concept linked to this fact: Race is a made-up, social construct, and not an actual biological fact.

    Race-based trauma

    This refers to the mental and physical effects and consequences that a person experiences after being on the receiving end of racism. Race-based trauma is real and the effects are felt as strongly as with any trauma.

    Racial and ethnic identity

    An individual's awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and 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

    Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.

    Racial healing

    To restore to health or soundness; to repair or set right; to restore to spiritual Wholeness.

    Racial identity theory

    Discusses how people in various racial groups and with multiracial identities form their self-concept. It also describes some typical phases in remaking that identity based on learning and awareness of systems of privilege and structural racism, cultural and historical meanings attached to racial categories, and factors operating in the larger socio-historical level (e.g. globalization, technology, immigration, and increasing multiracial population).

    Racist policies

    A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also express through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

    Systemic racism

    The normalisation and legitimisation of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage those whom are viewed as White while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of colour. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

    White privilege

    This refers to the concept that people have both rights and benefits simply because they are white. Those benefits and rights have nothing to do with how hard they have worked or what they individually have done. Those rights and benefits and rights are simply because they are white. A pupil from a Hackney school said; “Privilege is thinking something isn’t a problem if it isn’t happening to you.”

    Robin DiAngelo, author said, “We don’t need white people to carry the burden of their privilege. We need them to acknowledge it and use their privilege, promote good and to fight oppression.”

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    White supremacy

    The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Colour and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist far- right groups, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of colour as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and "undeserving." Drawing from critical race theory, the term "white supremacy" also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

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    Last updated: 14 Dec 2023

    Ealing Learning Partnership