The Canadian Race Relations Foundation maintains a glossary with definitions of key concepts relevant to race relations, the promotion of Canadian identity, belonging and the mutuality of citizenship rights and responsibilities.
Terms are organized in alphabetical order.
According to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (to which Canada is a signatory), racial discrimination is “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, which nullifies or impairs the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”
|Racial Profiling||Any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on assumptions about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or differential treatment. Profiling can occur because of a combination of the above factors, and age and/or gender can influence the experience of profiling. In contrast to criminal profiling, racial profiling is based on stereotypical assumptions because of one’s race, colour, ethnicity, etc rather than relying on actual behaviour or on information about suspected activity by someone who meets the description of a specific individual.|
|Racialization||The process through which groups come to be socially constructed as races, based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, language, economics, religion, culture, politics, etc.|
|Racism||Racism is a belief that one group is superior to others performed through any individual action, or institutional practice which treats people differently because of their colour or ethnicity. This distinction is often used to justify discrimination. There are three types of racism: Institutional, Systemic, and Individual.|
|Racist||Refers to an individual, institution, or organization whose beliefs and/or actions imply (intentionally or unintentionally) that certain races have distinctive negative or inferior characteristics. Also refers to racial discrimination inherent in the policies, practices and procedures of institutions, corporations, and organizations which, though applied to everyone equally and may seem fair, result in exclusion or act as barriers to the advancement of marginalized groups.|
|Reasonable Apprehension of Bias||A legal term used to determine whether or not the decision of a judge may have been influenced by bias. The test is whether a reasonable person properly informed would apprehend that there was conscious or unconscious bias on the part of the judge.|
A reserve is a parcel of land where legal title is held by the Crown (Government of Canada), for the use and benefit of a particular First Nation. An Addition to Reserve is a parcel of land added to the existing reserve land of a First Nation or that creates a new reserve. Land can be added adjacent to the existing reserve land (contiguous) or separated from the existing reserve land (non-contiguous). An Addition to reserve can be added in rural or urban settings. The term “reservation” is only used in the United States and does not apply in Canada.
|Segregation||The social, physical, political and economic separation of diverse groups of people, based on racial or ethnic groups. This particularly refers to ideological and structural barriers to civil liberties, equal opportunity and participation by minorities within the larger society.|
|Settler/Settler Colonialism||Within the context of race relations, the term refers to the non-indigenous population of a country. Settler colonialism functions through the replacement of indigenous populations with an invasive settler society that, over time, develops a distinctive identity and sovereignty. In Canada and in other countries, the ascendancy of settler culture has resulted in the demotion and displacement of indigenous communities, resulting in benefits that are unearned.|
Prejudice or discrimination based on sex, usually though not necessarily against women; behaviours, conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Sexism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. It can limit the opportunities of persons with disabilities and reduce their inclusion in the life of their communities.
|Shoah (from Hebrew, meaning ‘catastrophe’)||
The term for the state sponsored murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime (1933-1945) and their collaborators. It differs from “Holocaust” (which in some uses refers to Roma, homosexuals and others) in that it is used specifically with reference to the Jewish victims of Nazism.
A concept premised upon the belief that each individual and group within society is to be given equal opportunity, fairness, civil liberties, and participation in the social, educational, economic, institutional and moral freedoms and responsibilities valued by the society.
Social oppression refers to oppression that is achieved through social means and that is social in scope—it affects whole categories of people. This kind of oppression includes the systematic mistreatment, exploitation, and abuse of a group (or groups) of people by another group (or groups). It occurs whenever one group holds power over another in society through the control of social institutions, along with society's laws, customs, and norms. The outcome of social oppression is that groups in society are sorted into different positions within the social hierarchies of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Those in the controlling, or dominant group, benefit from the oppression of other groups through heightened privileges relative to others, greater access to rights and resources, a better quality of life, and overall greater life chances. Those who experience the brunt of oppression have fewer rights, less access to resources, less political power, lower economic potential, worse health and higher mortality rates, and lower overall life chances.
A preconceived generalization of a group of people. This generalization ascribes the same characteristic(s) to all members of the group, regardless of their individual differences.
The institutionalization of discrimination through policies and practices which may appear neutral on the surface but which have an exclusionary impact on particular groups. This occurs in institutions and organizations, including government, where the policies, practices and procedures (e.g. employment systems – job requirements, hiring practices, promotion procedures, etc.) exclude and/or act as barriers to racialized groups.
Refers to the ways that cultural and societal norms, systems, structures, and institutions directly or indirectly, consciously or unwittingly, promote, sustain or entrench differential (dis)advantage for individuals and groups based on their faith (understood broadly to include religious and non-religious belief systems).
A liberal attitude toward those whose race, religion, nationality, etc. is different from one’s own. Since it has the connotation of ‘to put up with’, the term “acceptance” is now preferred.
A negotiated agreement between a First Nation and the federal and provincial governments that spells out the rights of the First Nation with respect to lands and resources over a specified area. It may also define the self-government authority of a First Nation. The Government of Canada and the courts understand treaties between the Crown and Aboriginal peoples to be solemn agreements that set out promises, obligations, and benefits for both parties.
Status Indians belonging to a First Nation/band whose ancestors signed a treaty with the Crown, and, as a result, are entitled to treaty benefits.
A term used to describe abusive behaviours towards those in less powerful positions. Vertical violence is a broad term which may include bullying, harassment, intimidation or acts of physical violence. It may occur in the workplace, in schools or in social settings.
See: Lateral Violence
Term used to describe people who are not white. Although it is a legal term widely used in human rights legislation and various policies, currently the terms racialized minority or people of colour are preferred by people labelled as ‘visible minorities’.
|White||A social colour. The term is used to refer to people belonging to the majority group in Canada. It is recognized that there are many different people who are “White” but who face discrimination because of their class, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, language, or geographical origin. Grouping these people as “White” is not to deny the very real forms of discrimination that people of certain ancestry, such as Italian, Portuguese, Jewish, Armenian, Greek, etc., face because of these factors.|
The inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice. This concept does not imply that a white person has not worked for their accomplishments but rather, that they have not faced barriers encountered by others.
Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.