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Glossary

Altruism

A selfless concern for the well-being of others. Being helpful to other people with little or no interest in being rewarded for one’s efforts. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness as it focuses on the needs of others.

Antisemitism

Hatred of the Jewish people. The hatred of Jews can manifest in religious, racist, political, and cultural ways, and often takes the form of harassment and discrimination. It can also be expressed violently and target people and property.

Bigot

One who is intolerantly devoted to his or her own group, religion, race, or politics and is hostile toward those who do not share these group memberships. A bigot shows an unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices.

Bystander

Someone who is present at an event without participating in it. Bystanders are also called observers or spectators; they “stand by” and watch while something is happening.

Citizenship

The responsibilities, rights and privileges that a person has as a result of either being born in a country or going through the process of becoming a citizen of a country. Citizenship implies working towards the betterment of the community through participation, volunteer work, and efforts to improve life for all.

Culture

The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that we use to understand the world and each other. The culture of a community will define the rules of conduct and provide a framework for living together. Culture is transmitted from generation to generation through learning.

Diversity

The presence of an infinite range of human characteristics, cultures, and languages. Respect for diversity means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences in race, gender, age, religious beliefs, physical abilities, and ethnicity. In communities that honour diversity, people make efforts to understand each other and move beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity found within each individual.

Equality

The state of being equal in status or rights under the law. The right of all individuals to receive the same rights and protections under the law.

Equity

Treating everyone in a way that can result in equality of outcomes. To achieve equity people may need to receive different treatment so that they all have equal opportunity. For example, students who do not yet know how to speak English will need extra support so that they have the same opportunities to learn as native English-speaking students. Without this additional support, they would not have the equal opportunity for success in school.

Hate Crime

The Criminal Code of Canada says a hate crime is committed to intimidate, harm, or terrify not only a person, but an entire group of people to whom the victim belongs. The victims are targeted for who they are, not because of anything they have done. Hate crimes involve intimidation, harassment, physical force, or threat of physical force against a person, a family, or a property. The victim is targeted because of the perpetrator’s prejudice, be it towards gender, race, class, ethnicity, language, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Holocaust

The systematic mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. Many individuals and groups were persecuted by the Nazi regime, but the Jewish people were specifically targeted for total “extermination.” The Hebrew word for this catastrophe is Shoah.

Humanitarian

One who holds the view that all people should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings, and who believes that advancing the well-being of humanity is a noble goal.

Inclusive

A term that describes a community (e.g., school, city, family, social club) that welcomes everyone, honours diversity, and shares responsibility.

Minority

A group of people that is smaller in number than the majority. Minorities are often different from the majority and generally have less power and influence in society. For example, First Nations Canadians are a minority in most parts of Ontario.

Multicultural

The term that is often used to describe societies (especially nations) that exhibit a range of distinct cultural groups, usually as a result of immigration, and that recognize the benefits that different cultural groups bring to the community. Multiculturalism is an official policy of Canada.

Oppression

The unjust and cruel use of power against an identified group of people. Oppression is most commonly expressed by a widespread, if unconscious, assumption that a certain group of people is inferior.

Perpetrator

Someone who carries out intentionally wrongful (and sometimes even criminal) behaviour towards someone else.

Prejudice

A negative or hostile belief that can be felt or expressed about a group or an individual in that group. To pre-judge a person or situation. Prejudice is based on faulty and inflexible generalizations or stereotypes.

Racism

A form of discrimination based on race, especially the belief that one race is superior to another. Racism may be expressed individually and consciously through explicit thoughts, feelings, or acts. It may also be expressed socially and unconsciously through institutions that promote racial inequality.

Stereotype

A simplified, fixed idea that people have about what something (an individual or group of people) is like. Common stereotypes include a variety of allegations about various racial groups (called racial stereotypes), predictions of behaviour based on wealth (called social stereotypes), or beliefs about characteristics tied to whether one is male or female (called gender stereotypes).

Swastika

The swastika dates back to ancient times, where Jains, Hindus, Buddhists and others used (or still use) it as a religious symbol or talisman and sign of good luck. In modern times, it is most widely known and used as a symbol of the Nazi Party in Germany during the time of Adolf Hitler. As a result, it is a highly recognizable symbol of hatred in the world today.

Systemic

Something spread throughout an entire social system such as the government or a school.

Victim

An individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual harm as a result of the actions of others and through no fault of her or his own.

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