This glossary provides simple and basic definitions to some very complex concepts. It is recommended that you use these definitions as a jumping off point to more deeply engage these terms, learn how to understand them, and apply them.


a form of discrimination and prejudice against individuals with disabilities.


a desire to be something great; often used in the context of socio-economic class, a desire to move up or change one's position


to make similar; to become part of a culture or group, often leaving behind the origins, customs, rituals you were born or grew up with; often used in the context of immigrants and those aspiring to transform their identity by conforming to another (typically dominant) group


something made or based on two parts, often in opposition to one another; often used in discussing the social construction of identities in binary and structural opposition or as either/or dichotomy (e.g. masculinity-femininity; white-black; straight-gay; young-old; rich-poor; able-bodied-disabled, etc.)


sexual attraction and/or behavior toward members of both sexes.

civil rights

equality under the law and the right to personal liberty; the right to live and move freely as an equal citizen.


a category of identity based on socioeconomic status

classism, classist

discrimination against or bias toward someone or some group based on economic status


practices, behaviors, ideas and styles regarded as normal or taken for granted


treating someone or some group as different or less-than based upon their identity

double standard

a set of guidelines or principles in which one group of people is treated differently than another for performing the same or similar behavior


cultural association or heritage; ie., African-American, Scandinavian, Latino.


the position of excluding someone or some group from a fundamental right or prerogative


socially constructed characteristics or ideas typically associated with the female sex


a philosophy and social movement centered on improving the status and lives of women as well as other marginalized groups