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A.D.
"The Year of the Lord" in Latin "Anno Domini". This is the designation for events that took place after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. This term, however, has been designated by many groups that promote tolerance and diversity, as subjective. Using A.D. and B.C. for non Christians may imply the supremacy of the Christian God and of Jesus. Therefore, the terms C.E. and B.C.E. have been implemented to replace them. Conversely, many Christians and conservatives are distressed by these new terms. A.D.=C.E. An event that took place in 1950 A.D. took place 51 years ago and can also be written 1950 C.E. or 1950. Source: ReligiousTolerance.org
Actual or Perceived
A crime in which the victim is intentionally selected, in whole or in part due to the following "actual or perceived" characteristics qualifies it as a bias crime: race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, mental or physical disability, or religion. This means that even if an individual is not actually what the offender perceives (thinks) him or her to be (Jewish, female, Gay, Asian…), the motivation is inherent and therefore the crime is still a hate crime, and punishable accordingly.
Acculturation
The process by which one group (generally a minority or immigrant group) learns the culture of another group (generally the dominant group). Source: Healey, Joseph. Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. California: Pine Forge, 1998.
Affirmative Action
Any measure, beyond the simple termination of a discriminatory practice, which permits the consideration of race, national origin, gender or disability, along with other criteria, and which is adopted to provide opportunities to a class of qualified individuals who have either historically or have actually been denied those opportunities, and to prevent the recurrence of discrimination in the future. In response to the civil rights movement, President John F. Kennedy created a Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in 1961 and issued Executive Order 10925, which used the term "affirmative action" to refer to measures designed to achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure equality of employment opportunity without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1968, gender was added to the protected categories. Affirmative Action is often discussed in terms of hiring and college acceptance practices. Discrimination in education was the target of the original breakthrough civil rights cases. Indeed, because education is the gateway to opportunity, education has consistently been a central focus of civil rights efforts. But for nearly two decades following the original court decisions, educational institutions — particularly colleges and graduate schools — remained predominantly white and male. In 1955, only 4.9 percent of college students ages 18-24 were black. This figure rose to 6.5 percent during the next five years, but by 1965 had slumped back to 4.9 percent. Only in the wake of affirmative action measures in the late 1960s and early 1970s did the percentage of black college students begin to climb steadily. There are still educational attainment discrepancies among Black, Hispanic and female students. See: Token Minority Source: Source: www.civilrights.org
African American
Of or relating to Americans of African ancestry or to their history or culture. Source: "African American." The American Heritage Dictionary Third Edition. 1994.
Age
One of the characteristics for which hate crime victims are targeted. Age by definition, is the length of time one has existed, but for the purposes of discussion, age can be a biasing factor if the individual is over 65 years old. However, bias against a person's age occurs at all levels including teens, children and the middle-aged as well as senior citizens.
Ageism
An atmosphere in which the elderly are devalued, negatively stereotyped and subjected to discrimination. Source: Zinn, B. Maxine and Eitzen D. Stanley. Diversity in Families. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
Agnosticism
According to a study by Barna Research, "roughly 7% of the adult population — approximately 14 million people — describe themselves as atheistic or agnostic. Agnosticism is not a religion or complete ethical system. It is simply a belief that we cannot prove the existence or the non-existence of deity; (i.e. of one or more gods, one or more goddesses, or combinations of the above). Many Agnostics believe that we cannot know anything about deity or deities at the present time, but that this could conceivably change in the future. Many Agnostics and Atheists have a negative attitude towards traditional formal religions. Some feel that: Reliance on an interaction with a mythical deity interferes with one's ability to interact with fellow humans, and can reduce our motivation to solve our own problems, and thus ignore many social evils. Many believe that such religions promote the idea that perfectly natural feelings (such as anger, lust, pride, wanting things) are evil and sinful. This leads to feelings of guilt where none should be present and that traditional beliefs are often supported by fear of eternal punishment after death and by fear of retaliation by an angry and vengeful god during this lifetime which is unhealthy. Source: ReligiousTolerance.org
AIDS
Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, also known as HIV disease, is a condition caused by HIV that can damage the brain and other vital organs and destroy the body's ability to fight off infections. Once a person tests positive for HIV, it takes until they either develop an "opportunistic infection" such as Kaposi's Sarcoma or wasting syndrome, or their t-cell count is below 200 to identify them as having AIDS. HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern. As it is a form of disability, it can then be at the root of bias crimes. Source: Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. Important Information for Women on Long Island about HIV and AIDS. New York: 2000.
Alaska Native
A racial category that reflects an individual who identifies as Eskimo, Aleut, Alaska Indian, Artic Slope, Inupiat, Yupik, Alutiiq, Egegik, Pribilovian etc. The Alaskan tribes are the Alaskan Athabaskan, Tlingit and Haida. These persons may also self-describe as Native Americans. See: American Indian Source: Census.gov
Alien
The term "alien" means any person not a citizen or national of the United States. Though the term is defined as such, it should not be construed as an appropriate way to refer to non-citizens as it is derogatory. In calling a person an alien, one dehumanizes or devalues them. This type of slang paves the way to bias, discrimination, prejudicial and violent behavior. Furthermore, the common assumption that many or most Hispanic persons living in the United Sates are illegal residents or aliens is without factual basis and serves only to perpetuate stereotypes and hate crimes. See: Undocumented Immigrant Source: www.Wave.net
American Indian
A racial category that reflects persons who identify as having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. See: Alaska Native Source: Census.gov
Ancestry
Descent or lineage. Source: "Ancestry." The American Heritage Dictionary Third Edition. 1994.
Androgynous
1. Having both female and male characteristics; hermaphroditic. 2. Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine. Source: Source: Healey, Joseph. Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. California: Pine Forge, 1998.
Anti-Semitism
Prejudice or ideological racism directed specifically at Jews. Anti-Semitism has a tremendous impact on both Jewish and non-Jewish populations because of the brutality and of the Holocaust. This type of bias is especially vicious because Judaism is not merely a religion, it is, for some, considered the race of people descended from the Ancient Hebrews. The practices of the religion of Judaism are as much culture as religion and therefore anti-Semitism attacks many facets of an individual, his or her family, religious group and culture at large. As with any expression of religious intolerance/bigotry, anti-Semitic attacks are easily executed as property crimes on the house of worship. The swastika has also been adopted as an expression of anti-Semitism, making it easy to exemplify one's hatred for Jews. See: Holocaust Source: "Androgynous." The American Heritage Dictionary Third Edition. 1994.
Aryan Nation
The Idaho-based Aryan Nations was developed around Rev. Richard Butler's version of the identity church, which he calls the "Church of Jesus Christ Christian". Like other organized hate groups, the Aryan Nations is militantly committed to anti-Semitism and racism Butler's group proposes establishing a separate white racist state in the northwest region of the United States and Canada. Source: Levin, Jack and McDevitt, Jack. Hate Crimes: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Bloodshed. New York. Plenum. 1993.
Asian
1. Of or relating to Asia or its peoples, languages or cultures. 2. A person of Asian descent A racial category that reflects individuals who identify as having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes "Asian Indian", "Chinese", "Filipino", "Korean", "Japanese", "Vietnamese", and others. The term Asian is now used for persons of South and East Asian ancestry. (Indians, Southeast Asians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indonesians, Filipinos and others) in place of the term "Oriental," an older usage for some of these groups.Source: Census.gov
Asian Indian
A racial category that reflects people who identify as Bengalese, Bharat, Dravidian, East Indian, Goanese and others. Source: Census.gov
Assimilation
The process by which formerly distinct and separate groups merge and become one group. For example, mass immigration of European ethnic groups to Ellis Island, New York ended in the 1920s but the assimilation of these groups was not complete (and some will argue still is not) until after the second World War. The process takes generations and it is usually the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants who first see evidence of this integration/acculturation. See: Ghetto Source: Healey, Joseph. Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. California: Pine Forge, 1998
Atheism
According to a study by Barna Research, "roughly 7% of the adult population — approximately 14 million people — describe themselves as atheistic or agnostic. Atheism is not a religion or a complete ethical system. It is simply the lack of a belief that deity, in the form of one or more supernatural gods or goddesses exists. Source: ReligiousTolerance.org