- Employment Equity
- Equity-Deserving Groups
- Gender Identity
- Gender Expression
- Historically / Structurally / Systemically Excluded Individuals and Groups
- Human Rights
- Persons with Disabilities
- Religion and Spirituality / Religious Beliefs
- Sexual Orientation
- Social Diversity / Socially Diverse
- Social Justice
- Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action
- Underrepresented Populations
- Unconscious Bias
- Ways of Knowing
- White Supremacy
2SLGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term used to denote people of various sexual orientations and gender identities. The letters stand for two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, queer/questioning, intersexual and asexual. “The placement of two spirit (2S) first is to recognize that Indigenous people [sic] are the first peoples of this land, and their understanding of gender and sexuality precedes colonization. The ‘+’ is for all the new and growing ways we become aware of sexual orientations and gender diversity.” (Adapted from Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: Rates of representation of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community at York are collected through self-identification data for employees.
- See also Gender Identity and Expression and Sexual Orientation
Ableism may be defined as a belief system, analogous to racism, sexism, or ageism, that sees persons with disabilities as being less worthy of respect and consideration, less able to contribute and participate, or of less inherent value than others. Ableism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. It can limit the opportunities of persons with disabilities and reduce their inclusion in the life of their communities. (Source: Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability, Ontario Human Rights Commission, June 27, 2016)
- Context and usage: The University seeks to counter ableism, partly through its Accessibility & Accommodation/Disability Policies, Procedures and Resources.
- See also Accessibility and Disability.
Accessibility refers to the degree to which physical, pedagogical and administrative structures are (re)designed to enable the full, meaningful and equitable engagement of all community members (as defined in this document). Accessibility is also the degree to which persons with disabilities can access a device, service or environment without barriers. Accessibility is also a process: it is the proactive identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities. (From the Glossary on Accessible Customer Service eLearning by the Council of Ontario Universities) Accessibility includes, but is much broader than, physical access to buildings. It also includes, for example, designing for physical, financial, sensory, social, and language-level access. (York University DEDI Strategy)
- Context and usage: The University’s policy on accessibility observes the standards laid down by the Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA).
- See York University’s AODA Compliance.
Ageism is often a cause for individual acts of age discrimination and also discrimination that is more systemic in nature, such as in the design and implementation of services, programs and facilities. Age discrimination involves treating persons in an unequal fashion due to age that is contrary to human rights law. (Source: Fact sheet, Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Context and usage: The definition of age under the York University Human Rights policy adopts the Ontario Human Rights Code definition.
Anti-racism refers to taking proactive steps to fight racial inequity. It differs from other approaches that may focus on multiculturalism or diversity, because it acknowledges that systemic racism exists and actively confronts the unequal power dynamic between groups and the structures that sustain it.
- Context and usage: See also Race and Racism.
Belonging describes values and practices where no person is left out of our circle of concern. Belonging means more than having just access; it means having a meaningful voice and the opportunity to participate in the design of political, social, and cultural structures. Belonging includes the right to both contribute and make demands upon society and political institutions. (Source: the Othering and Belonging Institute, UC Berkeley)
- Context and usage: “York University will work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and that they are respected.” (York University DEDI Strategy).
- See also Inclusion.
Classism is a prejudice against or in favour of people belonging to a particular social class, resulting in differential treatment. (From the Canadian Race Relations Foundation)
- Context and usage: While social class or economic background is not a code ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code, receipt of public assistance (in housing) is. The EDI strategy also mentions the context of accessibility, including “financial accessibility”: Accessibility includes, but is much broader than, physical access to buildings. It also includes, for example, designing for physical, financial, sensory, social, and language-level access. (York University DEDI Strategy)
Colonialism is an intentional process by which a political power from one territory exerts control over a different territory. It involves unequal power relations power relations policies and/or practices of acquiring of acquiring full or partial political control over other people or territory, occupying the territory with settlers, and exploiting it economically. (Source: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: The University Academic Plan, The Indigenous Framework for York University and York’s Framework on Black Inclusion all refer to understanding the impact of colonization and an active process of decolonizing curriculum in order to pursue inclusive excellence and advance equity.
Creed In the Ontario Human Rights Code and York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures, rights pertaining to religion and spirituality are referred to as “creed,” which consists of religious beliefs and practices. It may also include non-religious belief systems that, as with religion, substantially influence a person’s identity, worldview and way of life. (Adapted from the Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Context and usage: Creed is a prohibited ground for discrimination under York’s Human Rights Policy. See also the policy on Academic Accommodation for Students’ Religious Observances for more information on the University’s commitment to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community, and making reasonable and appropriate accommodations to adherents for observances of days of religious significance.
Decolonizing is a foundational principle of York’s Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Decolonizing refers to the processes of deconstructing colonial systems, institutions, logic and practice to transform social and political relations with Indigenous Peoples. It is a collective approach that centres and values Indigenous knowledges in service of the reestablishment of Indigenous sovereignty and the repatriation of Indigenous land and ways of life.
- Context and usage: York is committed to recognizing and redressing how academic institutions perpetuate colonialism.
- See entry for Colonialism
DEDI An abbreviation for “decolonizing (or decolonization), equity, diversity and inclusion.” The term “decolonizing” added before “EDI” highlights the importance of approaching EDI through a critical perspective that frames the work within an anti-oppression and anti-colonial framework. The terms equity, diversity and inclusion are often grouped together to describe efforts to create more supportive, representative and equitable environments. Equity, diversity and inclusion are three distinct values that support and uphold each other. In presenting all together, DEDI also addresses some of the limitations of previously using terms like “diversity,” “equality” or “multiculturalism” on their own.
- See separate entries for Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Disability should be interpreted in broad terms. It includes both present and past conditions. Disabilities shall be defined as those conditions so designated under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Disabilities may be visible or nonvisible (sometimes referred to as invisible or hidden). Visible disabilities are disabilities that are easily observed or recognized. For example, persons who are blind and use guide dogs or persons with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs have visible disabilities. Nonvisible disabilities, on the other hand, are disabilities that are not readily apparent. Persons with learning disabilities or mental health disabilities, persons with medical conditions such as diabetes, and many persons with hearing loss have nonvisible disabilities. Likewise, disabilities may be temporary or permanent. (Source: Faculty Resource Guide on Teaching Students with Disabilities, 2020)
- Context and usage: For more information, see the York Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, the York Policy on Accommodation in Employment for Persons with Disabilities, and the Faculty Resource Guide.
Discrimination Any form of unequal treatment based on an Ontario Human Rights Code ground, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral but disadvantage certain groups. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may happen in very subtle ways. Even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this policy. (From: A policy primer guide for developing human rights policies and procedures, Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Context and usage: The university’s Human Rights Policy adopts the definition and interpretation of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Diversity is a foundational principle of York’s DEDI strategy. It refers to the presence of difference and variety of personal experiences, values and worldviews that arise from difference of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, age, class, religion and spirituality, geographic and international affiliations and more.
- Context and usage: Diversity and Inclusivity are among the five core values of the university. The university supports and encourages diversity through the identification and removal of barriers and biases, and the creation of workplaces and learning environments that are free of harassment and discrimination. (York University DEDI Strategy)
- When using the word “diverse,” it should only be applied to an entire collective (e.g. “the entire student body is diverse”) and not for a subset of a collective, nor as a euphemism for historically, persistently or systemically marginalized people (e.g. “diverse students were less likely to feel sense of belonging”). The latter usage assumes that the other part of the collective is “not diverse,” which is rarely accurate and can imply that certain identities or aspects of diversity are fundamentally different from the rest of the group. (Adapted from SAGE Reference Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education)
- See also Ways of knowing.
Employment equity is an ongoing planning process used by an employer to:
- Identify and eliminate barriers in employment procedures and policies.
- Put into place positive policies and practices to eliminate systemic barriers.
- Ensure appropriate representation of four federally designated groups throughout all occupations and at all levels within the organization. In Canadian employment equity legislation, disadvantaged groups have been defined as Indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, and racialized people. York as an institution recognizes these four categories as well as the umbrella category of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
- Foster a climate of equity and attract talent to the organization. (Adapted from Employment Equity and York Self ID)
- Context and usage: York University is committed to Employment Equity and monitors the representation of the above designated groups. See the Annual Employment Equity Report for more information.
Equity is a foundational principle of York’s DEDI strategy. Equity refers to the fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for students, faculty, instructors, and staff at every stage of educational and career development. Taking equity as a guiding principle means that the University will respect and value the differences of our members by actively identifying and removing barriers, including structural barriers, to ensure that historically excluded groups have the same opportunity to fully flourish at York University. (York University DEDI Strategy)
- Context and usage: In the university context, equity requires the creation of opportunities for historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized populations of students, staff, instructors, and faculty to have equal access to education, programs, and growth opportunities that are capable of closing achievement gaps. This requires recognizing that there are existing inequities; not everyone is starting from the same place or history, and that deliberate measures to remove barriers to opportunities may be needed to ensure fair processes and outcomes. (Source: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
Equity-deserving groups are communities that experience significant collective barriers in participating in society. This could include attitudinal, historic, social and environmental barriers based on age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, religion, nationality, race, sexual orientation and transgender status etc. Equity-deserving groups are those that face discrimination or barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources and actively seek social justice and reparation. (Source: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: York has opted to use the term “equity-deserving” rather than “equity-seeking.”
- See also Underrepresented Populations and Historically Excluded Groups.
Gender expression refers to how a person publicly or outwardly expresses or presents their gender identity. This can include physical expressions, such as outward appearance, and can be presented through hair, make-up, dress, voice and body language, or behaviour. A person’s chosen name and pronouns are also common ways of expressing gender. In different ways and at different times, people can change how they express their gender identity.
- Context and usage: In addition to the ways in which individuals choose to express their gender, the way other people perceive someone’s gender expression, can also significantly impact a person’s experience. Gender expression was added to the Ontario Human Rights Code as a code ground to protect against discrimination.
- Gender expression is also a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the York University Human Rights Policy. See also Gender Identity and Gender Expression: A Guide for Students, Faculty and Staff.
Gender identity is a person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither or anywhere along the gender spectrum. Gender identity does not corelate with a person’s assigned sex or to their sexual orientation. A person’s gender identity may change over time. A person’s current gender may differ from the sex a person was assigned at birth and may differ from what is indicated on current legal documents. Examples of gender identities include: woman, man, cisgender (including cisgender man or woman), transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming. (Adapted from: York’s Safer Spaces Toolkit and Statistics Canada)
- Transgender: A person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth may identify as transgender, for example. It can be used as an umbrella term to refer to a range of gender identities and experiences.
- Cisgender: A person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Non-binary: A person who self-identifies as non-binary may have a gender identity in between or beyond “man” or “woman” or have no gender, either permanently or for some of the time. Non-binary gender identity is understood as broader, less defined and potentially more fluid. (benjamin lee hicks, The Unicorn Glossary, 2018)
- Context and usage: Gender identity is also a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Codeand the York University Human Rights Policy.
- See also Gender expression and 2SLGBTQIA+
Harassment is defined as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” (From the Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Context and usage: At York, harassment is defined in accordance with relevant policy, code, regulation, or collective agreement applicable to the person(s) or incident(s) at issue. The definition of harassment from the Ontario Human Rights Code, as amended, also applies to community members in respect of services, housing, and employment.
- For more information, consult York’s policies related to healthy workplace. Resources at York include the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion for human rights code based concerns, the Centre for Sexual Violence for issues pertaining to sexual harassment and the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) for students.
Historically/structurally/systemically excluded individuals and groups refers to those people or groups who have been excluded or disenfranchised throughout history, and whose legacy includes day-to-day barriers that contributed to past, and perpetuate current, inequities which compound over time. In Canadian employment equity legislation, these disadvantaged groups have been defined as Indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, and racialized people. York as an institution also recognizes these four categories as well as the umbrella category of 2SLGBTQIA+ people as historically underserved and/or excluded. Systems, policies, practices, culture, behaviours, and beliefs continue to maintain these barriers. It is often not an individual intentional, but rather a systematic, effort to discriminate. It is an unconscious, unrecognized practice of doing things as they have always been done (and recreating the historical exclusions). At times, the term “underserved” is also used to specifically describe the lack of services or accessibility of services for, or acknowledgement of, historically excluded groups. (Source: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: York University acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations. We recognize that policies, practices, informal processes and language created by and for particular groups of people, with a default norm in mind, produce structural barriers that limit access and inclusion for other individuals and groups.
- See also Underrepresented Populations and Employment Equity.
Homophobia is the fear, hatred, discomfort with or mistrust of people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual and/or who express themselves in ways that challenge traditional gender roles. Homophobia may stem from a fear of associating with people from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and/or of being perceived as gay, lesbian or bisexual themselves. (Source: Planned Parenthood; benjamin lee hicks, The Unicorn Glossary, 2018)
Human rights are a universal entitlement that all people should have access to freedom, justice and protection from discrimination and harassment, and that people should have equal access to a climate that preserves the dignity and worth of individuals and groups. In Ontario, the Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground (age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, receipt of public assistance, record of offences, sex, and sexual orientation), in a protected social area (accommodation/housing, contracts, employment, goods, services, and facilities, membership in unions, trade, or professional associations).
- Context and usage: Every member of the York community is protected by York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures. You can reach out to a Case Resolution Officer at the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion if you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance relating to matters impacting your human rights. For definitions of the Code grounds listed in the definition above, please see York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures.
Inclusion is a foundational principle of York’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. It refers to enabling all individuals on our campuses to fully enjoy the opportunities the University has to offer, and ensure people feel a sense of belonging. It means valuing and cultivating full and meaningful engagement of historically and structurally excluded individuals and groups in a healthy and affirming climate.
- Context and usage: The York University Academic Plan, the Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, and the Framework on Black Inclusion affirm the importance of inclusion and inclusive design.
- See also Belonging.
Indigeneity refers to the inherent rights and entitlements of Indigenous Peoples.
- Context and usage: For more information, see the Indigenous Framework for York University.
Indigenous The term “Indigenous” encompasses First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, either collectively or separately, and is a preferred term in international usage, e.g. the “U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” In its derivation from international movements, it is associated more with activism than government policy and so has emerged, for many, as the preferred term.
- Context and usage: For more information, see the Indigenous Framework for York University.
- See also Indigeneity
Intersectionality is a foundational principle of York’s DEDI Strategy. This term describes the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity as they apply to a given individual or group. Intersectional identities create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. (Adapted from the Oxford Dictionary Online).
- Context and usage: The term was coined by lawyer, civil rights advocate, and critical race theory scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the “various ways in which race and gender intersect in shaping structural and political aspects of violence against women of color.” (Crenshaw, Kimberlé. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6 (July 1991), pp. 1241-1299)
- Applying an intersectional approach is an effective practice in many fields (e.g. equity work, research, and human rights complaints on multiple grounds) because it addresses the many barriers and disadvantages that individuals may face.
Marginalization is a social process by which individuals or groups are (intentionally or unintentionally) distanced from access to power and resources and constructed as insignificant, peripheral, or less valuable/privileged to a community or “mainstream” society. (Source: Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: “York intends to educate and empower all members of the community to think critically about systems of marginalization and oppression. This includes a deeper understanding of privilege and the need for everyone in the community.” (York University DEDI Strategy)
- For more information on the connection between marginalization and race see Addressing Anti-Black Racism: A Framework on Black Inclusion.
- See also Oppression.
Oppression The obvious and subtle ways dominant groups unjustly maintain status, privilege and power over others, using physical, psychological, social, or economic threats or force. Oppression is often systemic andcan manifest in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, and classism. Oppression often manifests in non-uniform ways, for example, oppression against women may manifest differently for different social groups in obvious and covert ways, and different forms of oppression can intersect. (Adapted from The 519’s Glossary of Terms and The Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Glossary of Terms).
- Context and usage: The Centre for Sexual Violence’s Building Safer Spaces Toolkit states that “recognizing oppression is important in creating a safer space […] where we all act with care and compassion to those around us.”
- See also Marginalization, Privilege, and Intersectionality.
Patriarchy The norms, values, beliefs, structures and systems that grant power, privilege and superiority to men, and thereby marginalize and subordinate others who are not men. (Adapted from The Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Glossary of Terms). This type of power is socially constructed as opposed to anything biological or innate. (Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, 1970)
Persons with disabilities Persons living with one or more temporary, long-term, or recurring disabilities.
- Context and usage: The York DEDI Strategy uses the term person or people with disabilities, while understanding that not all people who live with a disability choose to use this term nor does this collective capture the nuances of disability across a broad spectrum of lived experiences.
- For more information, see York Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, York Policy on Accommodation in Employment for Persons with Disabilities, and the Faculty Resource Guide.
- See also Disability.
Privilege refers to unearned power, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities that exist for members of the dominant group(s) in society such as men, white people, wealthy people and able-bodied and neurotypical people. Can also refer to the relative privilege of one group compared to another. (Adapted from the Ontario Human Rights Commission Glossary of Human Rights Terms)
- Context and usage: “York intends to educate and empower all members of the community to think critically about systems of marginalization and oppression This includes a deeper understanding of privilege and the need for everyone in the community to work toward equity and fairness.” (York University DEDI Strategy) This is echoed in the Anti-Black Racism Framework, where it is acknowledged that a strong, accountable and action-oriented way forward is required to dismantle the deeply ingrained structures of power and privilege that allow anti-Black racism to thrive.
Racialized is derived from the term “racialization” coined by Omi and Winant. Using the term “racialized” rather than such terms as “visible minority” is one way of recognizing the problematic implications of using umbrella terms or individual racial or ethnic categories – such as Black, Asian, Latinx or Arab – with no clear context. One concern, if not the key concern in doing so, is unintentionally (if not uncritically) participating in further “naturalizing” these racial categories. In this sense, using “racialized” as a descriptive term draws attention to the social construct of “race” and counters the assumption that ideas about race (or the effects of racism) are “natural” or biological. As Omi and Winant describe, racialization is a process of signifying the extension of racial meaning to a previously racially unclassified relationship, social practice or group. They note that racialization is an ideological historically specific process. Racial ideology is constructed from pre-existing conceptual or discursive elements and emerges from the struggles of competing political projects and ideas seeking to articulate similar elements differently. (Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s, 1986) Additionally, using such terms as “minority” does not account for historical exclusion or power dynamics; nor does it accurately depict demographic changes.
- Context and usage: York uses the term “racialized” in documents such as the Employment Equity survey to describe people of colour who previously were called “visible minorities.”
Racism is a form of discrimination that is defined as any individual action or institutional practice that treats people differently because of their colour or ethnicity. (Adapted from Understanding Racism: A Guide for Students, Faculty and Staff) In some cases, people don’t even realize they have these beliefs. Instead, they are assumptions that have evolved over time and have become part of systems and institutions. (Adapted from the Glossary of Human Rights Terms, Ontario Human Rights Commission). Race is also one of the protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- Context and usage: “[York] understand[s] and accept that racism and white supremacy have been part of academia since its inception. As a result, Black, Indigenous, and other racialized peoples have suffered in innumerable ways. We are sorry for the harm that Black students, faculty, instructors, staff, and community members have experienced. York University is committed to addressing systemic racism and will take steps to create change.” (From the Addressing Anti-Black Racism Framework)
- A specific form of racism is Anti-Black racism, which is pervasive and entrenched in Canadian society.Anti-Black racism is defined as “prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and/or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization.” Anti-Black racism is embedded in all institutions and York University is not immune to this fact. As a site of knowledge creation and dissemination, it is essential that York challenge and discontinue the reproduction and reinforcement of anti-Black racism. (Adapted from the Addressing Anti-Black Racism Framework)
- See also Discrimination.
Reconciliation refers to a process of building and sustaining respectful, ethical relationships between Indigenous Peoples and the rest of Canada based on mutual understanding and respect. It embraces new projects and processes arising out of our response to, but not limited by, the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. (Adapted from York’s DEDI Strategy)
- Context and usage: The Indigenous Council has emphasized the concept of reconciliation as core to the Indigenous Framework for York University.
- See also Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.
Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on sex and gender identity; behaviours, conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on gender identity. In a patriarchal system, sexism is most commonly directed toward women or people read-as female. Sexism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. (Adapted from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and benjamin lee hicks, The Unicorn Glossary, 2018)
- Context and usage: For more information, see York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures.
- See also Discrimination and Gender Identity and Gender Expression.
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s internal sense of their sexual identity or self-identification as bisexual, straight, gay, pansexual, queer etc. (Adapted from Merriam Webster dictionary) It is also a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Sexual orientation or sexual identity is distinct from gender identity.
- Context and usage: See York’s Annual Employment Equity Statistical Report and York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures.
- See also 2SLGBTQIA+.
Social justice refers to creating a fair and equal society in which each individual matters, their rights are recognized and protected, and decisions are made in ways that are fair and honest. (Adapted from the Oxford Dictionary) When arbitrary distinctions are made between individuals and groups in the assigning of basic rights, responsibilities, and opportunities, conditions of social justice are greatly diminished; when all members of society are given equal freedom to pursue their desired ends, social justice can potentially flourish. (From The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods)
- Context and usage: York’s commitment to social justice is stated in the York University Academic Plan and the Framework on Black Inclusion.
Transphobia can include negative attitudes, feelings, fear, hatred of or aversion to trans people and communities. Transphobia is rooted in systems of oppression such as sexism, heteronormativity and patriarchy. Often transphobic behaviour is based on stereotypes, misconceptions or hate that are used to justify discrimination, harassment and violence toward trans people. (Adapted from: York University’s Safer Spaces Toolkit) Gender identity and gender expression are also protected grounds according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which states that: “Organizations should learn about the needs of trans people, look for barriers, develop or change policies and procedures and undertake training. This will help make sure trans people and other gender non-conforming individuals are treated with dignity and respect and enjoy equal rights and freedom from discrimination.” (Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression)
- Context and usage: For more information, see York’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures.
Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The TRC spent six years travelling to all parts of Canada and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses. At the closing event in 2015, the TRC released its Executive Summary, which included its findings and 94 Calls to Action aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and advancing the process of reconciliation in Canada. (Adapted from Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada)
- Context and usage: The Indigenous Framework for York University embraces reconciliation through projects and processes arising out of response to, but not limited by, the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
- See also Reconciliation.
Unconscious bias Unconscious (or implicit, hidden) biases are mental processes or internalized schemas that operate outside of our consciousness, intentional awareness, or control. Unconscious biases include (but are not limited to):
- Affinity bias: The tendency to show favour and/or feel more kinship toward people who are more like us. It may be based on some aspect of identity that we share with that person, or it could be similar interests and backgrounds.
- Attribution bias: How people explain the behaviour or outcomes for themselves or others. For example, attributing a person’s success to their natural abilities, versus seeing that success as the result of luck or favoritism.
- Confirmation bias: The tendency to more easily accept, search for, interpret or favour information that aligns or agrees with one’s existing beliefs and opinions.
- Performance bias: An assessment of people’s competence based on some aspect of their appearance or identity.
(Adapted from the Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia, the SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods and Unconscious Bias: What Is Yours?)
- Context and usage: As part of York University’s commitments to equity and greater inclusion, it has mandated training on unconscious bias for certain hiring committees.
- See York’s Canada Research Chairs EDI Program, and the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion’s Respect, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Workshop Series
Underrepresented populations are individuals or groups with insufficient or inadequate representation in various aspects of university life, often determined when compared to their proportional composition in Canadian society, but in the university setting other considerations may also override strictly proportional representation. Within the context of the university, they are also known as underserved populations. (Adapted from the Equity & Inclusion Glossary of Terms, University of British Columbia)
- Context and usage: York’s DEDI Strategy acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations in the university community. It recognizes that policies, practices, informal processes, and language created by and for particular groups of people, with a default norm in mind, produce structural barriers that limit access and inclusion for other individuals and groups. (York University DEDI Strategy)
- See also Equity-Deserving Groups and Historically Excluded Groups.
Ways of knowing broadly, the term pertains to epistemology or the theory of knowledge: how we know, what we know. However, the term “ways of knowing” has a distinctly critical, feminist and anti-colonial connotation. It emerges from various critical traditions that have challenged dominant and privileged ways of knowing. Critical perspectives are informed by the insight that knowledge of any object is conditioned by the social and historical perspective of the knower and is also impacted by relationships of power. (Adapted from Anderson, Feminist Epistemology: An Interpretation and a Defense, 1995)
- Context and usage: The embrace of diversity in ways of knowing as a core value of York University pertains to the promotion of cross-cultural and global openness and understanding. In this sense, diversity also encompasses difference or variety in education, perspectives, opinions, heuristics, disciplines, faculties, skills, and learning opportunities.
- Respect for Indigenous approaches to knowledge and learning is included as a key principle in the Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action.
White supremacy stems from the belief, conscious or unconscious, that white people are superior and should therefore dominate all other racialized groups. It is an ideology that assumes the inherent importance of white people, realities and knowledge.“ This notion of race emerged in the context of European imperial domination of nations and peoples deemed “non-white” and was used to establish a classification of peoples. There is no legitimate scientific basis for racial classification. It is now recognized that notions of race are primarily centered on social processes that seek to construct differences among groups with the effect of marginalizing some in society.” (As explained in York University’s Addressing Anti-Black Racism: A Framework on Black Inclusion, from OHRC Policy Guidelines, 2009, p.11. ohrc.on.ca Ontario Human Rights Commission)
- Context and usage: White supremacy is framed broadly in order to push back against the narrow and popular definition of the term which only equates it with specific types of racist violence enacted by fringe groups and therefore an exception to a generally “non-racist majority.” The broad definition is intended to include both conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority. It also considers those actively and passively benefitting from systemic racism as directly implicated in maintaining white supremacist institutions. (Gilhorn, What Is White Supremacy?, 2022)
- See also Racism and Anti-racism.