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What Is Diversity and Inclusion? Key DEI Definitions

Conversations around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are becoming more common at work, home, and in society. It’s wonderful that so many people want to deepen their understanding around these topics, and questions are an important part of that learning journey. 

At Paradigm, some of the most common questions we get from people who are building their foundational understanding of DEI is, “what do these words actually mean?” With that, here are some key DEI definitions to help you along the way:

  • Diversity: the variety of visible, invisible, inherited, attained, or chosen characteristics within a group. Diversity is a term that applies to groups, not individuals. 
  • Equity: the process of accounting for how structural advantage or disadvantage shapes individual, group, or societal outcomes when distributing opportunities and resources.
  • Inclusion: is the result of an active effort to create the best environment for everyone.
  • Belonging: the feeling of being securely socially connected to others.
  • Allyship: is the commitment to ongoing learning and taking courageous action to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace
  • Intersectionality: a description of the unique experience of being at the junction of multiple identities. 
  • Microaggressions: are brief interactions that serve as a reminder that a person is devalued or stands out disfavorably because of their identity.
  • Microinclusions: are small social acts that support inclusion.
  • Marginalized Groups: groups that are underrepresented, stigmatized, or otherwise undervalued in society.
  • Privilege: a set of special rights, advantages, or immunities accorded to a particular group.
  • Racism: is the variety of practices, beliefs, social relations, and phenomena that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yield superiority, power, and privilege for some, and discrimination and oppression for others.

As you continue your DEI learning journey, you’ll likely want to explore how these concerts play out in different scenarios, and you’ll be introduced to new DEI-related concepts (e.g., growth mindset and psychological safety). We’ll cover more of these in future blogs, but if you’d like to go deeper now, we have plenty of resources available in the Paradigm REACH

October 4, 2022

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