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Glossary of Diversity Terms

Stereotyping: a naturally occurring cognitive process whereby people make generalizations about categories of objects, experiences and feelings based on the need to organize information efficiently. When stereotypes are held onto despite contradicting evidence, due to (often negative) value judgements, these stereotypes result in misperceptions and misunderstandings of others.


Prejudice: value judgements, whether positive or negative, that are assigned to groups of people based upon stereotypes and other preconceived notions about those people.


Discrimination: actions taken, both pro-active and by default, that limit access, opportunity and equal rights to groups of people based on their perceived shared characteristics (i.e., gender, race or ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)


Harassment: unwelcome, intimidating or hostile behavior that interferes with performance at work. Factors such as frequency, severity and differing levels of power between individuals impact determinations of harassment.


Hazing: verbal and physical testing, often of newcomers, that may range from practical joking and banter to ridicule, criticism, unnecessary obstacles and demeaning assignments at work.






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