Shared Terms

Guiding Values

The Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity (CARHE, pronounced “care”) seeks to name, empower, and dignify communities impacted by structural racism using accurate and inclusive terminology in our work.

While we focus on the impacts of racism and the experiences of diverse racial identities, we aim to be inclusive of all forms of identity and to incorporate principles of design justice in our communications, engagement, and outreach.

Shared Terms

antiracism: a guiding framework that actively opposes and dismantles racist ideas, structures, institutions, and systems.

birth care providers: gender-neutral alternative to "maternal care providers" to show gender diversity/separate gender from biological sex. 

birthing people: gender-inclusive alternative to "mothers" to show gender diversity/separate gender from biological sex.

  • CARHE strives to be both accurate and inclusive in our language. As gender identity is separate from biological sex, we use the gender-inclusive term "birthing people" instead of "women" or "mothers" to (1) accurately separate biological reproduction from gender identity and (2) inclusively capture transgender and nonbinary people with uteruses.
  • When talking about abortion issues or any health issues specific to pregnancy, we use the accurate term "pregnant people" over "birthing people" to honor that not all people who are pregnant will give birth, or even wish to give birth.
  • When talking about postpartum health needs, we use the more accurate term "birthing parent." 
  • For further reading, check out Planned Parenthood's guide on sex and gender, especially regarding intersex and transgender identities.

Black: a broad description encompassing many people with dark skin who experience unfair disadvantage and oppression under systemic white supremacy because they are racialized as Black.

  • CARHE uses an uppercase "B" to honor shared Black experiences and identity.
  • Black and African American are not interchangeable terms. Black is a broader term, whereas African American specifies people of African descent (as opposed to Jamaican, South American, or any other ethnic background).
  • "Black" can be a primary or one of many intersecting racial/ethnic identities. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris is Black and South Asian.

implicit bias: unconscious collections of stereotypes and attitudes that we develop toward certain groups of people. Individual implicit biases form based on influences from individual background, community, society, media, and structural factors.

  • Everyone has implicit bias with both positive and negative connotations. Common types of bias include:
    • affinity bias is when you give preferential treatment to someone because they share similar experiences as you or remind you of someone you know and like.
    • confirmation bias is seeking or taking in new information to confirm your own beliefs.
    • conformity bias occurs when the majority of a search committee feels a certain way about a candidate. Committee members may feel pressured to agree with the majority even if their opinion is different.
    • consensus bias is when people see their own thoughts, choices, and judgments as common and shared with others.
    • contrast effect bias occurs when we take two or more similar things and compare them with each other, rather than judging each on their own merits.
    • halo effect bias is when people selectively focus on one great aspect of a person and then this positively influences everything else we think about them.
    • horns effect bias is the opposite of the halo effect. Horns effect bias happens when we immediately see one bad thing about a person and this negatively affects how we think about them.
    • recency bias is when recent events or information are given more weight and importance than older ones.

Indigenous: people whose ancestors lived in a given area prior to colonialism.

  • Indigenous is a broad, inclusive term that encompasses all Indigenous peoples throughout the world (e.g. Native Americans on the American continents, Aboriginal people in Australia).

inequity: an unfair difference between two groups that is caused/driven by structural factors.

  • A "disparity" is any difference, regardless of cause. So when talking about differences in outcomes, opportunities, and power for racialized groups, CARHE uses the accurate term "inequity" to affirm that these differences are caused by structural racism, not by random chance.

Latine: a gender-inclusive alternative to the masculine “Latino” or feminine “Latina.”

  • CARHE prefers “Latine” over “Latinx” because the “-e” ending aligns better with Spanish than the Anglicized “-x” ending. However, both terms are used by different groups and individuals within the community.

less-lethal weapons: a harm-acknowledging term for weapons commonly used by U.S. police against citizens, particularly as retaliation against protesters.

marginalization: members of a particular social group are pushed to the periphery (the “margins”) or treated as insignificant.

  • Marginalization is a way of devaluing the worth, interests, and contributions of people with specific social identities.

Native American: people whose ancestors lived in North and South America prior to colonialism.

  • Native American is a broadly inclusive term, but when possible it is preferred to accurately name specific tribe or tribes.

older adults: adults who are 65 years old or older.

  • CARHE uses the term “older adults” as a preferred alternative to "senior citizens" or "the elderly," which evoke ageism.

oppression: prolonged unjust treatment or control perpetrated by a group with dominant power and targeting a group with considerably less social/cultural power.

  • Structural racism is a form of racial oppression, but oppression can be perpetrated against many groups based on identity (e.g. cisgender oppression of transgender people, non-disabled oppression of disabled people).
  • Prejudice + Power = Oppression

racialized people: a broadly inclusive term for people who are racialized through structural racism.

  • When possible, CARHE uses more accurate racial identities, such as Black, or Indigenous, or African American (see notes in "Black" above).
  • However, when inclusion is more contextually important, “racialized people” is CARHE's preferred term over "people of color" to accurately acknowledge the reality that race is socially constructed through structural racism and white supremacy.

racism: a powerful collection of historical and contemporary structures, institutions, systems, and beliefs that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas.

  • Racism manifests in many forms and at different levels:
    • interpersonal racism: racism experienced in interpersonal interactions as a result of conscious and unconscious racial bias.
    • institutional racism: legalized racism that creates racialized patterns of disproportionate limit access to services, goods, wealth, knowledge, and opportunities for racially minoritized groups. Due to its invisible nature, it does not require individual animus to reproduce itself, rather it informs the customs or values of the dominant group which is then used to continue the practice even when it is outlawed (Jones, 2000)
    • systemic racism: the intersecting historic and contemporary institutional and structural factors that enforce white supremacist ideology.
    • structural racism: "Structural racism refers to the totality of ways in which societies foster racial discrimination through mutually reinforcing systems of housing, education, employment, earnings, benefits, credit, media, health care, and criminal justice." (Bailey et al., 2017)

socialization: a process by which individuals are trained, from birth, into a system of cultural symbols and meanings that, together, produce and perpetuate oppression.

white: a broad description encompassing many people with light skin who experience unfair advantage and opportunity under systemic white supremacy because they are racialized as white.

  • CARHE uses a lowercase "w" in opposition to the toxic usage of uppercase "W" used by white supremacists.
  • When possible, we use the full phrase "racialized as white" to avoid the problematic treatment of whiteness as default and to acknowledge that white racialization is socially constructed. (Williams DT, 2019Williams DT & Baker RS, 2021)

white supremacy: the racist belief that people racialized as white are superior to all other racialized groups, and that they should be dominant in society.

  • Structural racism and white supremacy are mutually reinforcing, with structural racism existing as “a system of interconnected institutions that operates with a set of racialized rules that maintain white supremacy” (Hardeman et al., 2022)

This page was last updated on Monday, 2024 Jul 15.

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