Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Shared Language

Westport Public Schools is dedicated to fostering an environment of understanding, respect, and inclusivity. To aid in our community’s journey towards a more inclusive culture, click below for a guide to foundational Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) terms.
Understanding DEIB: A Guide to Key Terms
This guide aims to provide clarity on the language of DEIB, facilitating effective and respectful communication on these crucial topics. It is important to remember that the language of DEIB is continually evolving, reflecting cultural nuances and emerging insights.
Foundational Terms
  • Belonging: A purposeful, design-led school experience. It doesn’t just happen. It needs to be fostered. We define belonging as: A person’s perception of acceptance within a given group, including a work environment. Fostering belonging means that people of all backgrounds get a seat at the table and feel heard, seen, and valued. Everyone’s contributions are an integral part of a community’s growth.
  • Diversity: The practice of including individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, such as different ages, cultural backgrounds, geographies, abilities, religions, gender identities, and sexual orientations, to create a rich and varied community.
  • Equality: The provision of identical resources to all individuals, ensuring each person has the same level of access and opportunity.
  • Equity: The distribution of resources and opportunities based on the specific needs of different groups or individuals, acknowledging that different communities may require varied forms of support to achieve true fairness.
  • Inclusion: The creation of environments where all individuals feel valued, respected, and supported, enabling full participation in the community or organization.
Bias Terms
  • Bias: A tendency or preference that influences judgment, either in favor or against a person or group.
  • Conscious Bias (Explicit Bias): The attitudes or beliefs that an individual knowingly holds and expresses about another group or individual.
  • Unconscious Bias (Implicit Bias): The automatic, unintentional associations or judgments that affect understanding, actions, and decisions in an indirect way.
  • Microaggressions: Everyday occurrences that, whether intentional or unintentional, communicate hostile or derogatory insults towards individuals, particularly those from marginalized groups.
Race and Ethnicity Terms
  • Antiracism: The active process of identifying and challenging racism, changing systems, organizational structures, policies, and attitudes to redistribute power in an equitable manner.
  • Antisemitism: Often referred to as history’s oldest form of hatred, embodies hostility or prejudice against Jewish individuals. Recent years have seen a troubling rise in anti-Semitic incidents across various regions, including parts of Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
  • BIPOC: An acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, used to acknowledge the unique experiences of these groups within the context of racism.
  • Ethnicity: Shared cultural, linguistic, or ancestral traits that distinguish social groups.
  • People of Color (POC): A term primarily used in the United States to describe individuals who are not white, emphasizing the diversity of experiences and backgrounds among these populations.
  • Prejudice: A preconceived opinion or judgment without basis or reason, often leading to unjust treatment of different people or groups.
  • Race: A social construct used to categorize humans into large and distinct groups based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliations, or shared culture.
  • Racism: A belief system or practices that result in unequal power and opportunities based on racial identity, benefitting the dominant group at the expense of others.
  • Racial Equity: The condition in which one’s racial identity does not predict or determine outcomes, reflecting a society that provides equitable opportunities and support for all.
  • Social Justice: The pursuit of a society where resources and opportunities are distributed equitably, ensuring all individuals have equal chances to achieve their potential.
  • Systemic Racism: Institutional practices and policies that perpetuate racial inequality, embedding discrimination into the fabric of society.
  • Undocumented: Individuals living in a country without legal authorization or citizenship, often facing unique challenges and vulnerabilities.
This glossary is a starting point for deeper engagement with DEIB principles. We encourage our community to engage with these concepts actively, promoting a culture of learning, respect, and mutual understanding.