Cisgender: Someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.
Source: Green ER and Peterson EN.
LGBT Resource Center at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California.
Accessed: August 26, 2019.
Classism: Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in socioeconomic status, income and class, usually by upper classes against lower classes.
ASDAH Diversity and Social Justice – A glossary of working definitions.
Accessed December 23, 2019.
Cognitive Error: The selection and evaluation processes we undertake on a daily basis that are “contaminated,” despite our good intentions. The contaminants—generically termed “cognitive shortcuts and errors”—are present as we gather and sort through information, interpret it and reach decisions about the following: candidates for jobs, tenure/promotion, and contract renewals; applications for grants; nominations for awards and leadership posts as well as colleagues’ and students’ professional and academic performance; mastery of new concepts and skills; publications; exhibits; and other demonstrations of mastery and creativity.
According to J. Moody, these errors are made quickly and automatically, have disproportionately damaging effects and result in the undervaluing and frequent rejection of underrepresented women and historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
Source: Moody J. Faculty Diversity: Removing the Barriers. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge; 2012.
Compulsory Heterosexuality: The hegemony of heterosexual relationships as well as social expectations that heterosexuality is the norm and all other sexual orientations are deviant.
The term compulsory heterosexuality is often used within groups that advocate for the rights of people whose sexuality or gender identity differs from heterosexuality, including intersex people, transgender people, gay people, or asexual people. The concept of compulsory heterosexuality is
closely tied to the concept of heterosexual privilege, a system that preserves the rights of heterosexual people and enables heterosexual people to benefit from rights that non-heterosexual people do not have access.
Common examples of compulsory heterosexuality include:
- The assumption that children will marry a person of the other sex and the grooming and socialization of children for heterosexuality.
- Sexual education books that exclusively discuss heterosexuality.
- Religious and secular organizations that assume all members are heterosexual or treat heterosexuality as the norm.
- The belief that anyone can be heterosexual and that, even if one must pretend to be heterosexual, this is better than being homosexual.
Almost everyone participates in compulsory heterosexuality in some way, and the social assumption of heterosexuality is not in itself homophobic. However, compulsory heterosexuality contributes to homophobia by marginalizing non-heterosexuals, treating heterosexuality as the superior default, and decreasing awareness of the large number of people within the population who are not heterosexual.
Good Therapy. Heterosexual. Accessed January 9, 2020.
Culture: The languages, customs, beliefs, rules, arts, knowledge and collective identities and memories developed by members of all social groups that make their social environments meaningful.
American Sociological Association. Culture. Accessed December 23, 2019.
Cultural Appropriation: The non-consensual/misappropriated use of cultural elements for commodification or profit purposes, such as symbols, art, language, customs, etc., often without understanding, acknowledgment or respect for its value in the original culture.
Source: University of Washington College of the Environment.
Glossary – DEI Concepts. Accessed December 23, 2019.
Cultural Competence: A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable the system, agency or professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. The word “culture” is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively. A culturally competent system of care or educational program acknowledges and incorporates—at all levels—the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance towards the dynamics that result from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge and the adaptation of services to meet the culturally-unique needs of patients, students, faculty, staff and communities. Cultural competence is not a static place or a destination; we are all on a continuum in which constantly seek improvement and to become more culturally competent.
Source: Adapted from Cross, TL, Bazron, BJ, Dennis KW, Isaacs, MR. 2010. TOWARDS A CULTURALLY COMPETENT SYSTEM OF CARE A Monograph on Effective Services for Minority Children Who Are Severely Emotionally Disturbed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center.
Cultural Humility: A lifelong process of self-reflection, self-critique and commitment to understanding and respecting different points of view, and engaging with others humbly, authentically and from a place of learning.
Source: Gallardo, ME. Developing cultural humility: embracing race, privilege and power. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2013.
Cultural intelligence: The ability to understand complex cultural dynamics and make multicultural connections across different work platforms and teams and work effectively in diverse situations. Cultural Intelligence is composed of three key elements: 1) cultural knowledge, 2) cross-cultural skills and 3) cultural metacognition or cultural mindfulness. Individuals with a high degree of cultural intelligence are usually known for their innovation, networking and ability to serve as a conduit between fragmented units within the organization by transferring knowledge and resources across groups.
Source: Adapted from IESE Business School.
Why You Need Cultural Intelligence (And How to Develop It), Forbes. March 24, 2015. Accessed: July 5, 2018.
Cultural Tax: Coined by Amado Padilla in 1994, “cultural taxation” is the burden where additional responsibilities are placed upon historically underrepresented racial/ethnic and marginalized faculty because of their gender identity, sexual orientation and ethno-racial backgrounds. These responsibilities include serving on numerous committees, advising larger numbers of students and serving as “departmental experts” for their particular group. These expectations are not placed as heavily upon white faculty and can impede career progress and affect job satisfaction. While the campus benefits from their presence and voices, workers are not compensated for these tasks. Instead, this tax leads to a second stressor: a heavier workload.
Sources: Adapted from Joseph TD, Hirshfield L. “Why Don’t You Get Somebody New To Do It?’: Race and Cultural Taxation in the Academy.” Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies. 2010;34 :121-141;
Burns E. Managing ‘Cultural Taxation’ and Combating Burnout: Tips and Resources for Underrepresented Faculty and Staff. Higher Education Recruitment Consortium. June 24, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2019.