12. The Use of Language & Terminology

Throughout this whitepaper, the terms, equity, diversity, and inclusion have been used intentionally. Their importance, as they are listed on their own, as well as a collective intention, has not been shortened. The reason the terms equity, diversity, and inclusion are consistently written is to minimize the downplaying of the terminology that often occurs when concepts are challenging and different. Furthermore, readers may have noticed that equity is placed before diversity and inclusion. This too has been done with intention. As the collective begin to educate and apply context for a belonging-first culture it is equity that is leading the charge and therefore the author has made the conscious decision to write these terms in the order of effect.

Perceptions of organizational justice and belonging depend on the context in which they are upheld. The same is true for the descriptor, BIPOC, Black, Indigenous Peoples, People of Colour. While the acronym has already sprung into literature this use of language downplays the importance and value of people who identify as Black, Indigenous Peoples, and People of Colour. The act of shortening different types of people and their racial and ethnic identities into an acronym devalues their different perspectives.

Furthermore, within the past few months of writing this whitepaper, the word Black versus African American has become another important distinction deserving of our attention. The term Black is inclusive of the entire African diaspora, indicative of peoples who identify with a homeland but live outside of it. Alternatively, African American refers primarily to descendants from slavery in the United States.48



The process of putting diversity and inclusion into action by creating an environment of valuing, respecting, inviting, and encouraging the richness of ideas, perspectives, and differences for the purpose of generating growth and opportunity for all.

Belonging-First Culture:

The incorporation of the five key indicators of belonging (1) comfort, (2) contribution, (3) connection, (4) psychological safety, and (5) wellbeing to uphold the importance and strategic methodology required for equity, diversity, and inclusion to be felt and upheld within an organization.


Collective Intentionality:

The phenomenon of how a majority deems a word to have meaning and context. Collective intentionality has both impact and importance on how the context of a word and the meaning it is given is then applied and valued within the organizational culture. An example of Collective Intentionality: Executive leadership agrees to the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a principle for CSR and ESG. However, a lack of training and development, strategy and planning, devalues the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion to the purpose of reporting or public relations.


Diversity blindness:

The inability to hear, see, recognize or contextualize differences and the value of differences due to a lack of language, wording, context, and experience. Downplays the significance and importance of another person’s perspective and experience. An example of diversity blindness is having a person with multiple intersections of identity resent subject matter that he/she is an expert in, only to have someone who is seen as more “valuable” or “homogenous” within the company denote the importance (without having any expertise in the field) and influence the consideration of others.

Diversity of perspective:

When people with various intersections of identity experience their environment differently due to how they have been socialized or have experienced the context of a situation. An example of diversity of perspective is when a group of people experience the same situation yet attach different meanings to it due to their embedded learned biases.

Diversity as variation:

The presence of different types of people from a wide range of intersections of identity offering different perspectives and experiences. An example of diversity as variation is an organization having a high degree of variation in gender, ethnic, and racial representation.


Experiential Blindness:

A sensorimotor theory describing a lack of perceptual experience despite no sensory impairment. The phenomenon dubbed “experiential blindness” is cited as evidence for a constitutive relation between sensorimotor skills and perceptual experience.



The process of inviting different groups or individuals having different backgrounds who are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated. These differences could be self-evident, such as national origin, age, race and ethnicity, religion/belief, gender, marital status and socioeconomic status or they could be more inherent, such as educational background, training, sector experience, organizational tenure, even personality, such as introverts and extroverts.


Describes how the different intersections of identity, such as race, class, gender, and other salient identities such as marital status, languages spoken, birth order, nationality intersect with one another. Intersectionality, as intended by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989) is an analytic that helps people understand how power is influenced by intersections of identity in situations.


Organizational Culture:

The collective behavior, values, norms, terminology, and language of an organization’s members and the meaning attached to them.



The ability to change the physical, economic, psychological, social, and wellbeing of oneself and others.


A special advantage a person is born into or acquires during their lifetime that provides access to opportunities others do not have.


Social Justice:

The practice of social responsibility occurs via values-based execution of behaviors and actions that build upon global movements for social justice and equity. Social justice practitioners value the importance of selfreflection and awareness, first exploring their own connection to social problems. Inquiry into the origins of those problems, the analysis of the systems which perpetuate them, and taking an outward step to resolve social problems collectively.


White dominant culture:

The norms, values, beliefs, socialized thought processes, behavior, and decision-making successively adopted by Western tradition and influenced by the monarchy. White dominant cultural norms are embedded and unintentionally reproduced through the cycles of socialization, reinforced by business culture and educational institutions.

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