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Melanin
A dark pigment occurring in the hair, skin and iris of the eye that is responsible for tanning of the skin when exposed to sunlight. Source: "Melanin". Illustrated Oxford Dictionary- Millennium Classic Limited Edition Collection. 1998.
Melting Pot
A type of assimilation in which groups contribute in roughly equal amounts to the creation of a new culture and society.See: Assimilation and MulticulturalismSource: Healey, Joseph. Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class:The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. California: Pine Forge, 1998.
Mentally Impaired
Mental impairments include mental or psychological disorders, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The definition does not include common personality traits such as poor judgment or a quick temper, where these are not symptoms of a mental or psychological disorder.Many hate crime laws protect people who are victimized because or mental or physical disability or impairment.People commonly refer to disabilities or disabling conditions in a broad sense. For example, poverty or lack of education may impose real limitations on an individual's opportunities. Likewise, being only five feet in height may prove to be an insurmountable barrier to an individual whose ambition is to play professional basketball. Although one might loosely characterize these conditions as "disabilities" in relation to the aspirations of the particular individual, the disabilities according to ADA's legal definition are -- those that place substantial limitations on an individual's major life activities.Major life activities include such activities as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. There is no absolute standard for determining when an impairment is a substantial limitation. Some impairments obviously or by their nature substantially limit the ability of an individual to engage in a major life activity.Also covered are:Individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment, whether they have the impairment or not.Physiological disorders or conditions.Cosmetic disfigurement.Anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs (which would include speech organs that are not respiratory such as vocal cords, soft palate, tongue, etc.); respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine.See: DisabledSource: Americans with Disabilities Act
Minority Group
A racial, religious or other group different from the larger group of which it is a part.Because the term is sometimes taken to mean only those who are part of a group that has a visibly identifying trait (such as racial minorities or disabled persons), it is important to point out that any group that is the smaller of two or more that form a whole is considered a minority (such as the sexual minority of being gay or homosexual, or a religious minority, such as Judaism in the U.S.). However, emphasis should be placed on the social, political and economic significance of being a component of the less dominant group. Typically, patterns of disadvantage or inequality are the result of membership.Source: "Minority." The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition. 1994.
Miscegenation
Cohabitation, sexual relations or marriage between persons of different races. Racists, separatists, xenophobes, and ethnic bigots will use this term as a vile and reprehensible action when in fact it is simply a term to define the activity of interracial couples and families.Source: "Miscegenation." The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition. 1994.
Mission Offenders
The rarest version of hate crimes are those committed by this type of offender. The crime consists of an attack carried out by individuals with a mission. They seek to rid the world of "evil" by disposing of the members of a despised group. The perpetrator believes that he or she has a higher-order purpose in carrying out the crime. This type of criminal is usually suffering from severe mental illness, is retaliating for his or her own misfortune in life, may be suicidal and may be paranoid or delusional, experiencing hallucinations, impaired ability to reason and or withdrawal from contact with other people.Source: Levin, Jack and McDevitt, Jack. Hate Crimes: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Bloodshed. New York. Plenum. 1993.
Multiculturalism
There are three theories used by sociologists to explain the impact that heterogeneous immigrant cultures have had on one another and on American culture. One of these is the Multiculturalism theory, which views American culture as a combination of many subsocieties. It claims that each group retains some of its customs and traditions and that these are accepted as valid and valuable and that all groups coexist.However, it is obvious that that some groups and values dominate American culture while others are marginalized, devalued, or repressed. The goal then, would be a safe integration of the various cultures that allows all groups the equal right and ability to share, assimilate and/or maintain their cultural, religious and ethnic differences. Source: Cyrus, Virginia. Experiencing Race, Class and Gender in the United States. London: Mayfield PC, 1997.