What Does That Mean?

Illustration of a diverse group of people

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Glossary

A sample of terms from the University of Washington — school of public health, department of epidemiology — equity, diversity, and inclusion (edi) committee


Prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in physical, mental and/or emotional ability that contribute to a system of oppression; usually of able-bodied/minded persons against people with illness, disabilities or less developed skills.


The extent to which a facility is readily approachable and usable by individuals with physical disabilities, such as self-opening doors, elevators for upper levels, or raised lettering on signs.


A person who identifies and challenges the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism.


Prejudice; an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgement.


An abbreviation for individuals in whom there is a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity. Often referred to as a cis-male or cis-female, these terms describe the antonym to transgender.

Color Blind(ness)

The racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. The term "colorblind" de-emphasizes, or ignores, race and ethnicity, a large part of one’s identity.

Covert Racism

Expresses racist ideas, attitudes or beliefs in subtle, hidden or secret forms. Often unchallenged, this type of racism doesn’t appear to be racist because it is indirect behavior.


The condition under which every individual is treated in the same way, and is granted same rights and responsibilities, regardless of their individual differences.


Ensures that individuals are provided the resources they need to have access to the same opportunities, as the general population. While equity represents impartiality, i.e. the distribution is made in such a way to even opportunities for all the people. Conversely equality indicates uniformity, where everything is evenly distributed among people.

Gender Identity

Refers to all people’s internal, deeply felt sense of being a man, woman, both, in between, or outside of the gender binary, which may or may not correspond with sex assigned at birth. Because Gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others, which differentiates it from gender expression.

Health Equity

Attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Efforts to ensure that all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to lead healthy lives.


The idea that various biological, social, and cultural categories—including gender, race, class, ethnicity and social categories—interact and contribute towards systematic social inequality. This concept recognizes that individuals belong to more than one social category simultaneously and may experience either privileges or disadvantages on that basis depending on circumstances and relationships.

Structural Racism

The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics—historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal—that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. 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.

For the full glossary of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion terms, visit warealtor.org/dei.

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