A Common Language
The meaning of words and the messages they convey are laden with the influences and impact of culture, conditioning, our place in time, and so many other factors. What we hear can be quite different from what was intended. We need to create, as best we can, a common language from which our exploration and discussion of issues of diversity, bias, prejudice, and racism can evolve. We offer here some definitions that can be used as a foundation for our journey.


Difference, variety, multiformity,
the nature of the universe, including
things, people, and communities.


A preference, a strong indication of mind, opinion about something or someone…often without good information.


A pre-formed judgement, often without reason or with faulty or insufficient reasoning. Often based on stereotypes and often negative about groups of people but not always…they deny the individuality of persons.


The individual, cultural, and institutional beliefs and acts of discrimination that systematically
oppresses people of color.